Year Developments in Jazz Historical Events
  • Composer and conductor James Reese Europe founds the Clef Club, an association for Black musicians based in New York.
  • The NAACP is founded.
  • Mark Twain dies.
  • Marie Curie isolates radium.
  • Pianist Scott Joplin publishes his opera Treemonisha.
  • Irving Berlin records Alexander's Ragtime Band, which becomes a hit but is scorned by ragtime purists.
  • Raold Amundsen reaches the South Pole.
  • Civil War occurs in Mexico.
  • The Titanic sinks.
  • The word "jazz" first appears in print.
  • James Reese Europe records ragtime arrangements in New York with the first black ensemble to be recorded.
  • Vernon and Irene Castle, a married dance team, begins performing floor shows at James Europe's shows.
  • 60-floor Woolworth Building is completed, making it the largest building in the world.
  • Woodrow Wilson becomes President.
  • Pianist W.C. Handy writes St. Louis Blues.
  • World War I begins in Europe.
  • The Panama Canal opens to commercial traffic.
  • Trumpeter King Oliver forms a band in New Orleans with clarinetist Sidney Bechet.
  • Scott Joplin stages Treemonisha himself and the show fails.
  • Vocalist Billie Holiday is born.
  • Albert Einstein presents his general theory of relativity.
  • The Great Migration begins; over the next 65 years 6 million Blacks will leave the South for northern cities, the mid-west and California, carrying their musical influences with them.
  • Revolution occurs in Russia.
  • Scott Joplin dies.
  • The classic era of ragtime ends.
  • The Original Dixieland Jass Band (an all white group) makes the first jazz recording, Livery Stable Blues, and also becomes the first jazz group to appear on film in the movie, The Good for Nothing.
  • The U.S. Navy closes New Orleans's Storyville red-light district.
  • Jazz musicians begin to leave the city for the North.
  • Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk are born.
  • The U.S. enters World War I.
  • More than 200,000 Black men served the armed forces in segregated units.
  • James Europe leads the 369th Hell Fighters Band.
  • Trumpeter King Oliver leaves New Orleans for Chicago.
  • Tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins tours with blues singer Mamie Smith and begins to develop a unique style of playing.
  • World War I ends.
  • A flu epidemic kills an estimated 20 million people worldwide.
  • Singer, actor, and civil rights activist Paul Robeson graduates first in his class from Rutgers University.
  • The Original Dixieland Jass Band performs in London.
  • Will Marion Cook tours Europe with his Southern Syncopated Orchestra which includes clarinetist Sidney Bechet. After the tour Bechet stays in Europe.
  • New Orleans trombonist Kid Ory moves to Los Angeles and forms a band, bringing jazz to new ears.
  • James Europe is murdered by a fellow bandmate after an argument.
  • Labor and housing tensions lead to race riots in Chicago, East St. Louis, Washington, D.C. and other cities, killing hundreds and burning thousands out of their homes.¬†
  • The first airplane crosses the Atlantic Ocean, piloted by John Alcock¬†and Arthur Whitten Brown.
  • Mexican rebel leader Emilio Zapata is ambushed and murdered by government forces.
  • Physicist Ernest Rutherford, known as the father of nuclear physics, discovers a way to induce the splitting of an atom. This is the first instance of an experiment performing nuclear transmutation, the changing of one chemical element into another.
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