||Developments in Jazz
- Pianist Oscar Peterson makes his first recordings.
- Vocalist Sarah Vaughan records in NY with trumpeter Miles Davis.
- Saxophonist Charlie Parker and pianist Thelonious Monk record together.
- Thelonious Monk is arrested for possession of drugs and banned from performing in NY nightclubs for six years.
- Pianist Errol Garner composes Misty.
- Pianist Ahmad Jamal forms his first piano trio.
- Pianist Count Basie and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie both disband their big bands due to financial constraints.
- Writer George Orwell (1984) dies.
- The Soviet Union declares its nuclear weaponry.
- The Korean War begins.
- China invades Tibet.
- The Miles Davis All Stars record their first long-playing album for Prestige.
- Pianist Dave Brubeck forms his first quartet with saxophonist Paul Desmond.
- Pianist John Lewis forms the Milt Jackson Quartet with vibraphonist Milt Jackson, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Kenny Clarke.
- New York police strip Thelonious Monk of his cabaret card after he refuses to testify against Bud Powell for a narcotics arrest. The loss of his card severely restricts Thelonious' ability to find gainful employment in New York (a cabaret card was required to play in any establishment that served liquor).
- United Nations troops take Seoul.
- Writer J.D. Salinger publishes The Catcher in the Rye.
- NATO is formed.
- Charlie Parker records sessions with strings and Latin repertoire for Mercury.
- Bassist Charles Mingus and drummer Max Roach form the Debut label.
- Carnegie Hall presents a concert devoted to California jazz featuring trumpeter Chet Baker and saxophonists Gerry Mulligan and Paul Desmond.
- Milt Jackson and John Lewis rename their group the Modern Jazz Quartet.
- Bandleader Fletcher Henderson dies.
- Duke Ellington's 25th Anniversary is celebrated with two concerts at Carnegie Hall featuring Billie Holiday, saxophonist Stan Getz, Charlie Parker, and Dizzy Gillespie.
- Gerry Mulligan's piano-less quartet records My Funny Valentine.
- Writer Samuel Beckett's publishes Waiting for Godot.
- The Immigration and Naturalization Act is passed, removing the last racial and ethnic barriers to naturalization.
- Dave Brubeck's quartet records Jazz at Oberlin during a highly acclaimed college tour.
- Benny Goodman's band goes on tour with Louis Armstrong's All Stars eventually leading to a fight that ends with Goodman having a nervous breakdown.
- Trombonist Bob Brookmeyer replaces Chet Baker in Gerry Mulligan's quartet.
- Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Bud Powell and Charles Mingus travel to Toronto, Canada to record Jazz at Massey Hall.
- Soviet leader Josef Stalin dies.
- Composer Serge Prokofiev dies.
- Queen Elizabeth II is coronated in London.
- The Korean War ends.
- Dwight D.Eisenhower becomes president.
- Miles Davis records Walkin' and Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants, the latter featuring Thelonious Monk and Milt Jackson.
- The highly popular Chet Baker Quartet records My Funny Valentine and But Not For Me.
- Dave Brubeck appears on the cover of Time magazine, his quartet records Jazz Goes To College.
- Drummer Shelly Manne records West Coast Sound.
- The first American jazz festival is organized in Newport, Rhode Island by George Wein.
- Charlie Parker attempts suicide and is later admitted to Bellevue Hospital.
- Bassist Charles Mingus makes his first recordings with the Jazz Composers Workshop.
- The film The Glenn Miller Story is released, starring Jimmy Stewart and featuring Louis Armstrong and others.
- Drummer Max Roach forms a hard bop quintet with trumpeter Clifford Brown.
- Drummer Art Blakey records his first album under the name the Jazz Messengers.
- Thelonious Monk tours Europe, where Mary Lou Williams first introduces him to Baroness Pannonica 'Nica' de Koenigswarter, for whom Thelonious will later dedicate the song Pannonica.
- The U.S. tests the hydrogen bomb on Bikini Atoll.
- American composer Charles Ives dies.
- Bill Haley and the Comets introduce the hit song Shake, Rattle and Roll.
- The Vietnam War begins.
- The U.S. Supreme Court rules that racial segregation in public schools in unconstitutional.
- The first nuclear power is produced in the Soviet Union.
- Charlie Parker dies. The coroner who performs his autopsy mistakenly estimates Parker's 34-year-old body to be between 50 and 60 years of age.
- Miles Davis makes his first recordings with a new quintet featuring saxophonist John Coltrane, pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Philly Joe Jones.
- Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers record live in Greenwich Village, New York, with a quintet featuring pianist Horace Silver, trumpeter Kenny Dorham, saxophonist Hank Mobley, and bassist Doug Watkins.
- Saxophonist Julian "Cannonball" Adderley performs in New York for the first time.
- Pianist Lennie Tristano experiments with overdubbing.
- Scientist Albert Einstein dies.
- The Warsaw Pact is agreed upon.
- Disneyland opens in Los Angeles.
- Jonas Salk perfects the polio vaccine.
- Chuck Berry's Maybelline becomes a hit.
- Kentucky Fried Chicken goes on sale in the U.S.
- Bassist Charlie Mingus records Pithecanthropus Erectus, breaking new ground in collective improvisation.
- Saxophonist Sonny Rollins records Saxophone Colossus.
- Trumpeter Clifford Brown dies in a car accident.
- Art Blakey records the album Hard Bop.
- Pianist Horace Silver leaves the Jazz Messengers.
- Duke Ellington's popularity is resparked by an appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival and by a cover story in Time Magazine.
- Miles Davis records Relaxin', Cookin', and Steamin' and then tours Europe.
- Art Tatum dies.
- NBC launches the Nat King Cole Show.
- Trumpeter Lee Morgan makes his first recordings.
- Thelonious Monk records Brilliant Corners, with Sonny Rollins.
- Actress Marilyn Monroe marries playwright Arthur Miller.
- The U.S.S.R crushes the Hungarian rebellion.
- Singer Elvis Presley releases Heartbreak Hotel.
- The Modern Jazz Quartet provides the score for the film Sait-on jamais, and tours Europe performing the music.
- Miles Davis and arranger Gil Evans record Miles Ahead.
- Miles Davis records the soundtrack for the French film L'Ascenseur pour l'echafaud and performs the music in Paris with bassist Pierre Michelot and drummer Kenny Clarke.
- Thelonious Monk records with the Jazz Messengers.
- Clarinetist Jimmy Dorsey dies.
- Bassist Charles Mingus records Tijuana Moods, using elements of Latin music.
- Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story opens in Washington, D.C.
- Saxophonist John Coltrane records the album Blue Trane.
- Louis Armstrong causes controversy by speaking out against President Dwight Eisenhower.
- Billie Holiday performs Fine and Mellow in a live TV broadcast.
- The State Department sends Benny Goodman on a tour to the Far East.
- Pianist and arranger Toshiko Akiyoshi wins a poll in Down Beat and receives an award from the Berklee College of Music.
- Brandies University commissions Third Stream works by Charles Mingus and others.
- Conductor Arturo Toscanini dies.
- Composer Jean Sibelius dies.
- The U.S.S.R. launches the first Sputnik satellite.
- Governor Faubus of Arkansas calls out the National Guard to prevent desegregation.
- Dr. Seuss' children's book The Cat in the Hat becomes a bestseller.
- Critic Barry Ulanov speaks out against sexism in jazz in an article in Down Beat.
- Sonny Rollins records Freedom Suite with Oscar Pettiford and Max Roach, using the liner notes to attack racism in America.
- Dave Brubeck performs in Denmark.
- Oscar Peterson performs in Amsterdam.
- Bandleader W.C. Handy dies.
- The film St. Louis Blues depicts Handy's life and features Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, and blues singer Mahalia Jackson.
- Miles Davis records Milestones, featuring early modal jazz.
- Miles Davis records On Green Dolphin Street with pianist Bill Evans.
- Miles Davis and Gil Evans record large-ensemble arrangements of composer George Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess.
- Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers record Moanin', a defining album for hard bop.
- Composer Antonio Carlos Jobim launches the bossa nova craze, recording Joao Gilberto's Chega de Saudade.
- Bill Evans records Everybody Digs Bill Evans with the influential modal track Peace Piece.
- Art Blakey records Holiday for Skin with three jazz drummers and seven Latin percussionists and tours Europe with the Jazz Messengers.
- The European Economic Community is established.
- Painter Pablo Picasso's mural The Fall of Icarus is unveiled.
- The Boeing 707 jet revolutionizes air travel.
- The hovercraft is invented.
- The first stereo record is issued.
- The skateboard is invented in California.
- Thelonious Monk appears at Town Hall.
- Miles Davis records Kind of Blue, which pioneers modal jazz, and will eventually become one of the best selling jazz albums of all time.
- Saxophonist Lester Young dies.
- John Coltrane records Giant Steps.
- Clarinetist Sidney Bechet dies.
- Los Angeles-based saxophonist Ornette Coleman records The Shape of Jazz to Come, a free jazz album.
- Coleman's group performs free jazz at the Five Spot in New York.
- Billie Holiday is arrested for possession of drugs and dies soon after.
- Duke Ellington composes the score for the film Anatomy of a Murder.
- Dave Brubeck and his quartet record Time Out, which includes Paul Desmond's hit Take Five.
- Pianist Oscar Peterson forms a trio with bassist Ray Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen.
- Fidel Castro assumes power in Cuba.
- Singer Buddy Holly dies.
- Hawaii and Alaska join the U.S.
- Architect Frank Lloyd Wright dies.
- Panama is invaded by Cuban forces.
- China is barred from joining the United Nations.
- The first cassette tapes are introduced in the U.S.
- Earth receives its first pictures of the dark side of the moon.
- The first Xerox machines are introduced.
- Two monkeys are sent into space by NASA and return safely.