November 4


November 4, 1931 Charles Joseph “Buddy” Bolden, cornetist and a key figure in the development of ragtime music, died. Bolden was born September 6, 1877 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Not much is known about his life but by the mid-1890s he had formed a series of bands and created a looser, more improvised version of ragtime and added blues to it. Between 1900 and 1906, Bolden’s band was the hottest group in New Orleans. In 1906, Bolden began to show signs of mental instability and in 1907 he was confined to the State Insane Asylum where he lived the remainder of his life. There are no known surviving recordings of his performances but he is associated with several songs, including “Careless Love,” “My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It,” and “Funky Butt.” Many other New Orleans jazz musicians, including Joe “King” Oliver, were inspired by Bolden’s playing. Jelly Roll Morton described Bolden as “the blowingest man since Gabriel” and several jazz historians have referred to him as “the father of jazz.” Several books have been written about Bolden, including “The Loudest Trumpet: Buddy Bolden and the Early History of Jazz” (2000) and “In Search of Buddy Bolden: First Man of Jazz” (2005).


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