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Thanks. To the evolution of jazz a survey of American art form from Scott Joplin to Lenny Tristan. The tape recorded feature presented under the auspices of Northeastern University by the Institute cooperative broadcasting Council Nat Hentoff associate editor of Downbeat Magazine discusses the growth of jazz from its roots in Europe and Africa and considers the musical as well as the sociological forces that shaped it. Mr Hentoff last week we had begun to discuss the various methods by which jazz spread from New Orleans both or rather the New Orleans form of jazz spread from Storyville both before and after 1917. One of the methods was via the riverboat.
Gene Williams notes that one of the few authentic riverboat bands ever to have recorded was Dewey Jackson's which played excursions out of New Orleans on the SS capitol during the nine hundred twenty five twenty six season somewhat later than the early period we're concerned with now. But the music was probably much the same as on the steamers of 10 years before in this riverboat band a few New Orleans men such as Pops Foster on bass were included by the leader Jackson and most of the sideman were from St. Louis. After its excursion season during which it went as far up the river as Davenport this particular band returned to St. Louis and made records for Polk County and in June 1926. Soon after when Jackson left for another job the fate of the aforementioned dean of riverboat jazz took over the band here is doing Jackson's orchestra in the Capitol blues.
Oh yeah yeah yeah yeah. Yeah yeah.
Yeah. Yeah. Now I'm not I'm not.
I am I am. I am. As Fred Ramsey writes for the jazz men much of the fun on the riverboats came when they hit the big towns along the route their music was a great novelty. And when I docked in a bustling port like St. Louis they headed for the places where the local bands were playing and
sat in a crate of St. Louis was one of the musicians who welcomed them and eventually absorbed some of the New Orleans river bowlders into bands of his own and others moved on to Chicago and stayed there. Charles Edward Smith describes further the many ways in which jazz branched out from New Orleans. The spread of jazz has given a mighty impetus to Gates by the closing of Storyville and by rumors of jobs in the north. These factors coincided with the discovery that the so called Race Records were a profitable enterprise. In this outward migration of jazz several interesting factors were brought into play. One was that the core of instrumental style including its rhythmic and melodic characteristics remained pretty much intact assimilating something of the minstrels as it had something of the marches renewing its refreshing contacts with a down to earth folk music and above all making jazz the common product in the common music of the land. Naturally the man whose heritage it had been with those who best interpreted and the majority of such men were New Orleans negroes.
When Negroes from the surrounding country would come into New Orleans Louis Russell from Panama the Pensacola kid from Florida Clarence Williams from a little town in rural Louisiana. Are there other men though as well who had not been to New Orleans and will cover them in later sections. This jazz in any case was not confined to New Orleans but you Wellens was its chief financial city growth trips in two neighboring states were frequent. Almost all New Orleans jazz men very varied their story their experience by such barnstorming excursions. Sometimes they play in a softly lighted house across the baju as Clarence Williams did with cornet as punk Johnson trombone as ROBERTSON The drummer baby love it and the Pensacola kid. Robertson made many other trips one with a temp show in 1910 three years later with a road show. Many New Orleans musicians traveled with the road in minstrel shows and in 1913 Robertson played in Chicago for the first time with a road show on their trips up the river the musicians often took
jobs along the way. When W.C. Handy dominated the dance band business in Memphis he often used New Orleans musicians in his bands. Similarly there were isolated examples of men playing in bands in St. Louis and Kansas City both of which have been described as brass band cities meaning that their dance orchestras did not in those pioneer years use the freer more fluid instrumental style of the New Orleans. But when such a New Orleans musician was around the music was changed to the extent of his presence. Also there were numerous train musicians in Kansas City and its small rockers cabarets who took to the new music from the south from the start. St. Louis came into the story later especially in the 1980s when Charlie Crist organized some good bands using down the river talent not merely because there were fewer local bands to be affected but because the piano continued to dominate the wine rooms until 1920 Jelly Roll Morton almost got there and 19 for according to his odyssey recorded for the Library
of Congress. And in that year the piano contest at the St. Louis Exposition was won by Alfred Wilson also of New Orleans. I was very much disgusted said jelly roll because I thought I should have gone. I thought Tony Jackson was going to be there and it kind of frightened me but I knew I could have taken Alfred Wilson meanwhile continues. Smith a jelly roll roaming the gulf coast hitting towns like Biloxi and meeting up with Gulf Coast keyboard Giants Porter King to me dedicated to King Porter stomp Charlie King baby Grice Frasier Davis Frank Raphael jelly could Ray a lot of those names like one who had played as he had in sporting house and honky tonk small town and big town how those he had met on the Gulf Coast included some old time blues players Rocky Johnny's Skinny had Pete an old Florida Santa also known as trigger Sam. Well they just plain ordinary blues the real lowdown blues blues. Jelly roll in the spikes brothers Johnny and red. Where were the McCabe's minstrels when it hit St. Louis in nineteen 11 or 12.
Jelly left to go down to the Democratic club run by new Warrington where he showed his piano to George Randall the regular man there at the time. He played some stomps and blues from home and he swung on as a fill up. He introduced a Basin Street special and a murderous mixture as Smith calls it of the Anvil Chorus and music. We heard his version of music in the section on New Orleans pianist by the early 1920s jelly and some of the best jazz men from the south that toured with bands throughout the country including the West Coast and like other bands they invariably found that the piano players had been there before them. Taking a stomp. And that was one of the initial germinating sources of jazz These are tenor and piano players blues players. Taking the stance in blues to every haunt of the sporting world from San Francisco's Barbary Coast to New York San Juan Hill or as early as 1910 they were played on the piano with fast soft drum background the shuffling feet of dancers marking the temple. Speaking of
California the original Creole band had been there as early as 1911 Kid Ory was there in 1919 and in 1921 he recorded with a New Orleans band in Los Angeles. The first recorded New Orleans jazz so far as I know because the records like King Oliver and Louis and Freddie cap are out in either New Orleans were made in Chicago after after nine hundred twenty one. No music was recorded in New Orleans until many years after story they were closed. And here is the record made in Los Angeles in 1921 with Mike Carey cornet Kid Ory trombone Dean Johnson clarinet Fred Washington piano Ed Garland bass and Ben borders garage has an earlier version of Henri's Creole trombone. The later record of which made in Chicago we heard in the like New Orleans instrumentation the 1921 recording of Henri's Creole trombone. Thanks.
To her him. Or her. To who were with. Who were with. Her who. With. You know you're a 1921 Kid Ory had a band in Los Angeles King
Oliver his Creole Jazz band from New Orleans and Jelly Roll Morton were touring theatres and ballrooms throughout California. But soon all these men left California for the city and had become the successor of New Orleans as a major center of jazz at least for a few years in the 20s. Chicago in Chicago the transplanted New Orleans musicians and musicians from other cities played on the south side strengthen their use of the jazz language as that language evolved in many respects and influenced scores of white youngsters who came to hear them some of whom sat in with the bands and all of whom were to play differently because of what they heard on the south side from material and they seek a city by Ana bundle and Jacques Kahn Roya and other sources. Here is a background perspective of conditions in Chicago before the major emigration of New Orleans jazz man there. The negro my net migration northward precipitated by the First World War Affected Chicago considerably of course within the decade following 1910 the Negro
population of Chicago increased from forty four to one hundred nine thousand. As a consequence the Negro community began bursting its bounds more than 90 percent of the migrants settled on the south side in areas of established negro residents. But before long they were forced to seek living room in sections previously inhabited by whites. Its minister estimated that 50000 negroes a majority of them fresh from the South came to Chicago within an 18 month period after the first of January 1916. Chicago figured as a distribution center it to a large number of the migrants proceeding directly or after stops in various Lang's to Detroit and other industrial centers. Negro parents who had come to Chicago to provide a more wholesome environment for their children had good reason to seek living quarters outside the congested south side. Aside from lack of space most of the buildings were dilapidated and lacking modern conveniences. But this disadvantage was by no means the principal worry of Negro fathers and mothers anxious to give their offspring a better chance than they
themselves had had. In 1911 a few years before the great migration began the vice commission of Chicago had published a report at the request of Mayor busing in which it was pointed out that licensed advice had always been relegated to Negro neighborhoods not by the Negroes themselves and that whenever prostitutes and thugs were located among the white people and had to be moved for commercial or other reasons they were driven into the negro residential section which in this case was the south side. So as in New Orleans and in St. Louis the negro was driven into a congested segregated district by realty men afraid of the negro invasion of their property. And as in New Orleans and St. Louis also driven into the section where a large proportion of the brothels cabarets saloons and other after dock enterprises. Once again my point out the jazz does not need these of prettiness is to survive. But having been at first a large negro Indian jazz was created when he grows lived in our urban northern centers until recently as the negro was often forced to live among conditions of corruption
vice and similar conditions. And as in New Orleans the Southside of Chicago was the only major section wherein jazz could be played for a living. The white loop district was largely Jim Crow and its policy as well as in its clientele so the South Side became Chicago Storyville and St.. And Chicago's version of St. Louis is targeted street. That isn't the whole story it is true as Fred Ramsey has written that by 1912. Five years before a story though in New Orleans was closed a successful campaign against the segregated district for off limits rise had been waged. And so the official close down of Chicago's district preceded by about six years. The real influx of New Orleans jazz men of Chicago but I think it fair to indicate that the poverty and the overcrowding remained. And after a time a malleable police force did not enforce all the city ordinances with equal vigor or rigor. So even during the 20s the Southside within the general lawless context of
Chicago was to some extent a marginal community through no fault of the musicians who played there. It was a place to play. The New Orleans jazz men came to Chicago then for one main reason and that was in Ramsey's description because the pay was better than in the south and because there were more nightclubs theaters and dance halls in the big city just like anybody else who works for a living they had to get up and go where there was more work and more money. Let's go back for a moment to 1005. When Robert Martz Chicago cafe owner and gambling house proprietor suddenly found his activities opposed by the local clergy and the political outlook too was unfavorable to him. Martz decided to make a change here as much as anyone else had learned to make capital of the increasing number of Southern negroes in Chicago. He was familiar with their need of entertainment as a momentary escape mostly from hard work and overcrowded living conditions and to his experience in Chicago mob's was able to add impressions gained from travel in Europe where he had admired the concert music
halls in which patrons seated about the stage were entertained by short plays musical selections and variety acts as they ate and drank. So his temple of music as he called it on the south side was intended to be a Chicago adaptation of this European style of entertainment. The essential difference was the kind of musical fare the Peking theater featuring cakewalks were offered and ragtime was interspersed between waltzes sentimental ballads and what were called coon songs of the 90s. Chicagoans of all classes and colors began to discover the peak in its popularity increased so rapidly that Montse was forced to expand. And in April of 906 the temple of music became the new peak in theatre a regular theater with a conventional stage and seating arrangement. Entertainment was provided by a stock company of composers and musicians actors and singers writers and directors. But the accent was still on music and the musical play was the specialty of the theatre. Almost immediately a stream of talented young negroes began
arriving from St. Louis in other directions. Among them will Marion cook who produced acted directed the orchestra and composed among others. Doc Downes Trotter's ball and ball in the Jack the bacon was one of the first media whereby ragtime and later jazz was infiltrated into Chicago's South Side. Of course outside negroes had much more syncopated music than that which was played at the peak in the tenor and Byron pianists who had played throughout the South began to consider Chicago a good town on the circuit as the migration moved past St. Louis St. Louis is timed to happen. The ragtime composer and pianist came up and played for a while in Chicago saloons. Scott Joplin Tony Jackson Louis Chauvin and Jelly Roll Morton had played ragtime and Morton later jazz at the elite cafe in Chicago as early as 1910 and 11. So the market for jazz was there for this later development. Of
jazz in Chicago I'm going to utilize to a large extent an excellently concise article for an ol defunct publication called Jazz ways by the jazz critic Frederick Ramsay Jr. with emendations and musical illustrations. One story of how jazz man found their way to this better market in Chicago he writes begins in 1970 when a Louisville and Nashville excursion train a New Orleans newspaper threw a big party for a publicity man and that year and in the group there was a promoter from up north. The band that played that date was known as the original Creole orchestra and the Northerner heard them. He had a lot of time to listen extensively to their new kind of music because the excursion ran them down to Gulfport Mississippi in those days when there was nothing but a logging road to Hattiesburg trains didn't travel quite as fast as they do now. At the end of the run the original Creoles had a new job. They were as you
may remember the first band to leave New Orleans. The band went through several changes in its first three years of travel when it touched in vaudeville theaters stretching from Maine to California. And probably the band hit Chicago in 1911. That's the date given by the Chicago Defender. And in Chicago George Baquet the clarinetist with the group remembers they had to fight for recognition from the theater management their music was new and the manager didn't think it would go over they had been getting top billing and all the other towns when they stopped. But here the manager was certain that the trained animal act would go better in Chicago so we switched around the posters in front of the theatre so hardly anyone could read their notice there was a lot of complaining on the part of the original Creoles especially Freddy Kemp are the trumpet player who never would take a back seat for anyone as Ramsey puts it. Trouble was brewing but an unforeseen event averted the blowup. One of the animals in the act went wild and jumped into the lap of a girl in the front row who sued the theatre and after that the
sign for the original Creole orchestra went out front and it was large enough to suit even Mr. Kaplan. The original Creole band broke up after years of successful tours because its members were tired of travelling. Bill Johnson says they had at least a couple of dozen contracts pending when they sat down in Chicago. Their demise as a group marks the passing of the first phase in the saga of jazz as pilgrimage from New Orleans to Chicago on the day they broke up their scenery was stored in an old warehouse down on Thirty first Street. Like many traveling bands it was a show band as well as a musical band. And it the scenery has never been heard from since but not so the music they play. Ramsey continues the story of jazz in Chicago in the United States entered the First World War in 1917. The city of Chicago already a booming industrial town became larger activity quickened and workers from all over the South poured in to keep from this is roaring the stockyards butchering and trains clicking over the thousands of miles of steel tracks that crossed and recrossed the
city like a web. This was also the period of the greatest influx of jazz man from New Orleans as it began in 1912 it was a small trickle of unknown and unheralded adventurers who came into this big blustering capital of the Middle West. There wasn't enough of the group to make much of a dent in any sort of musical circle in Chicago. Piano players as we mentioned like jelly roll and Tony Jackson who played their circuits had been in and out of town as early as 1910 but had not attracted very much attention. In a general sense in the jazz record black Jelly Roll Morton said of the days when the original Creole orchestra first came to Chicago I happened to be there myself with a similar combination to that. Freddie kept right he was to have the Creole band turn the town upside down that is the south side of the town. And cause my trumpet player to quit. He couldn't play that kind of trumpet and I had been teaching him a little bit he was a little stubborn and when Freddie played he wanted to hit him with a rock and
Freddie Keppra had tolerated any dissension in his band as he did in Chicago there must have been a shortage of men who could play New Orleans music in a way this incident was typical of the difficulties the jazz man met when they came to Chicago baton train Chicago musicians couldn't understand or play their music. The answer was simple the jazz man just sent down home for those who couldn't. Among the New Orleans players who came up river during this period who said he was shame Kerry and Emanuel parades they were followed by a lot of brandy the drummer who played with bunk Johnson in the original superior orchestra. Nat Dominic and other New Orleans musicians travel in those days wasn't too much of a problem for a musician. The easiest and most obvious way to go north was to work your passage on the river boats. Minstrels and traveling shows were a good way to get around to many jazz men like Baquet of the Georgia and Nashville students minstrels traveled in shows that worked well established roots touching Chicago as a last stop on a long run. It was
also the Kit Carson Wild West show the companies of Bruce and Bruce Drake and Walker in the Lafayette stock company. The Palmers sometimes use small jazz units in a traveling vaudeville shows and mini lane to ride with a band that included sugar Johnny Lawrence do a Roy Palmer and Louis Kemp hired Fred's brother. The other way to get to Chicago is more prosaic. They just got on a train and rode when somebody sent for them but for the jazz men that was all right too. When the long long ride was over and the musicians finally arrived the scramble began. I came to Chicago in March 1917 relights Tubby hall. I was there long before Oliver although I didn't have a real job for several months. In May I got a job with a New Orleans jazz band. But often the jobs were scuffling any sort of work just to keep going. That's the way it was with lil Harden who was from Memphis and Fisk University. I came to Chicago in 1917. I got a job with three dollars a week playing piano in a music store. One day the original Creole band came to town without a pianist. They sent around and finally the music
store sent me over to try out. I asked them what key to play and they said hit it gal. I asked again What key. Never you mind just hit it gal when we got through they said we want her to play with us all the time. So this story more than most RAMSI indicates illustrates the impact of this different way of playing on a person trained to think in terms of European concert music. Well there was not a New Orleans jazz musician but she was a person who had come into contact with the best of New Orleans early in her career and she could forget her conservative classical training and adapt her playing to a jazz band.
The Evolution of Jazz
Episode Number
Chicago Jazz, Part One
Producing Organization
WGBH Educational Foundation
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program, the first of two parts, continues the discussion of the spread of jazz north from New Orleans into the U.S. midwest.
Series Description
Jazz historian Nat Hentoff presents a series that traces the history of jazz, from its musical and cultural roots to its contemporary forms. "The Evolution of Jazz" was originally broadcast from WGBH in 1953-1954, and was re-broadcast by the National Educational Radio Network in 1964.
Broadcast Date
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River boats--Songs and music.
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Host: Hentoff, Nat
Producer: Hentoff, Nat
Producing Organization: WGBH Educational Foundation
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 55-32-15 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:23
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Chicago: “The Evolution of Jazz; 15; Chicago Jazz, Part One,” 1954-02-19, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 21, 2024,
MLA: “The Evolution of Jazz; 15; Chicago Jazz, Part One.” 1954-02-19. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 21, 2024. <>.
APA: The Evolution of Jazz; 15; Chicago Jazz, Part One. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from