Year Developments in Jazz Historical Events
  • A cutting contest (a colloquial term for music competition) for ragtime pianists is held at New York's Tammany Hall.
  • Hawaii becomes official U.S. territory.
  • First electric bus runs in New York City.
  • Charles Booth's performance of J. Bodewalt Lange's Creole Blues is recorded for the new Victor label. This is the first acoustic recording of ragtime to be made commercially available.
  • The American Federation of Musicians (the musicians union) votes to suppress ragtime.
  • Louis Armstrong is born.
  • U.S. President William McKinley is assassinated.
  • Painter Pablo Picasso's first exhibit is held in Paris.
  • Theodore Roosevelt becomes president.
  • The John Philip Sousa Band records the ragtime piece, Trombone Sneeze, written by Arthur Pryor.
  • Lincoln Park is opened in New Orleans as a center for ragtime and early jazz performances.
  • Scott Joplin publishes The Entertainer: a Ragtime Two-Step, which would become a popular hit nearly 70 years later.
  • Pianist Jelly Roll Morton claims to have invented jazz in this year.
  • The Electric Theatre, the first movie theater in the United States, opens in Los Angeles, California.
  • Cuba gains independence from the United States.
  • Pianist and composer Eubie Blake publishes his first piano rags.
  • The Wright brothers make their first successful flight.
  • Cornetist Buddy Bolden begins to develop a reputation in New Orleans for playing music that fuses elements of blues and ragtime.
  • Tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins is born.
  • The third Modern Olympic Games opens in St. Louis, Missouri as part of the World's Fair.
  • The ice cream cone is created.
  • The first underground line of the New York City Subway opens.
  • The first New Year's Eve celebration is held in New York City's Times Square.
  • A black newspaper in Indianapolis releases a statement in reaction to racist songs popular during this period: "Composers should not set music to a set of words that are a direct insult to the colored race."
  • Scientist Albert Einstein presents his special theory of relativity.
  • Pizza is introduced at Lombardi's in New York.
  • Jelly Roll Morton composes King Porter Stomp.
  • Cornetist Buddy Bolden is committed to a mental institution without having ever recorded any music.
  • Scott Joplin moves to New York.
  • The first wireless broadcast of classical music is produced in New York.
  • Alcohol is banned in North Carolina and Georgia.
  • The U.S. Marine band records Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag.
  • The popularity of ragtime continues to grow among Blacks and white resulting in increased public interaction between the races.
  • Alcohol is banned in Tennessee.
  • Robert Peary reaches the North Pole.
  • William Howard Taft becomes president.
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