New Orleans

Overlapping with the onset of ragtime music, New Orleans jazz burst onto to music scene during the first two decades of the 20th century. Considered the first style of jazz, it can be dated from as early as 1895 with the music of Buddy Bolden, Kid Ory and Jelly Roll Morton in the Storyville district of New Orleans until roughly 1917. New Orleans jazz grew out of marching brass bands. We have documentation of the first New Orleans jazz from the Original Dixieland Jass Band in 1917 on into the 1920s, when recording technology became more available.

The music developed around trumpet and cornet leaders, such as Joe Oliver and Louis Armstrong, performed as an ensemble-oriented style, with trumpeters stating the melody, and harmonies and countermelodies coming from the trombonist and/or clarinetist. The rhythm section developed into an ensemble of banjo, drums, tuba or bass, and piano. Overall, the thrust of New Orleans jazz was to emphasize the ensemble more than any one soloist. The music continued to flourish during the 1920s, eventually being eclipsed by the nascent swing music which soon replaced it. Dixieland jazz overlapped with it, maintaining the basic structure of New Orleans jazz.

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