Year Developments in Jazz Historical Events
  • The town of Zion, Illinois bans jazz performances, labeling them "sinful."
  • Pianist James P. Johnson records The Harlem Strut and Carolina Shout, the earliest stride piano recordings, in New York.
  • A crisis occurs surrounding German war reparations.
  • Adolf Hitler is elected leader of the Nazi Party.
  • Russia is refused entry to the League of Nations.
  • The first Miss America contest is held.
  • Warren G. Hardin becomes president.
  • Trombonist Kid Ory's band, based in Los Angeles, makes the first recordings by a black ensemble playing in the New Orleans style.
  • Pianist Fats Waller makes his first recordings.
  • Pianist William "Count" Basie makes his first recordings.
  • Blues singer Mamie Smith continues to grow in popularity, recording twenty songs with her band The Jazz Hounds, which features saxophonist Coleman Hawkins.
  • Ragtime publisher John Stark goes out of business signifying the end of ragtime.
  • Race records are created, marketing and categorizing music by the race of the performers.
  • Louis Armstrong moves to Chicago to join King Oliver's Band.
  • Mahatma Ghandi is imprisoned.
  • The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) is founded.
  • Isadora Duncan's suggestive dancing is banned.
  • Mussolini seizes power in Rome.
  • Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen's tomb is discovered.
  • Writer James Joyce publishes Ulysses.
  • Blues singer Bessie Smith makes her first recording, Down-hearted Blues, which sells a million copies in six months and leads to her signing a nine-year contract with Columbia Records.
  • Cornetist King Oliver's band, which includes Louis Armstrong on trumpet and Armstrong's wife Lil Hardin on piano, makes its first recordings, including Dippermouth Blues.
  • Pianist and arranger Fletcher Henderson forms the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra and begins performing at Club Alabama in New York.
  • Pianist Jelly Roll Morton, now based in Chicago, makes several recordings including solo pieces such as King Porter Stomp and performances with the New Orleans Rhythm Kings.
  • Clarinetist Sidney Bechet makes his first recordings.
  • Bandleader Elmer Snowden's Washingtonians performs in New York with Duke Ellington on piano.
  • The first network radio broadcast occurs in the U.S.
  • Earthquake in Tokyo kills 100,000.
  • Congress approves a law making all Native Americans citizens of the U.S.
  • Calvin Coolidge becomes President.
  • Duke Ellington makes his first recordings as leader of the Washingtonians.
  • George Gershwin debuts Rhapsody in Blue along with Paul Whiteman's band.
  • Cornetist Bix Beiderbecke and his band, The Wolverines, make their first recordings.
  • Louis Armstrong moves to New York City to work with Fletcher Henderson.
  • Coleman Hawkins plays alongside Louis Armstrong in the Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra, and his sax playing significantly evolves.
  • Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, leader of the Communist Revolution, dies.
  • Stalin becomes dictator of Russia.
  • The Fascist Party wins the Italian elections.
  • Blues singer Bessie Smith and trumpeter Louis Armstrong record the classic version of W.C. Handy's St. Louis Blues for Columbia Records.
  • Louis Armstrong makes his first recordings with his group, the Hot Five.
  • James P. Johnson records Charleston, which becomes a huge hit and gives rise to a dance of the same name.
  • Electrical recordings are introduced.
  • The Original Dixieland Jass Band disbands.
  • Pianist Fats Waller gives lessons to pianist Count Basie.
  • Italian leader Benito Mussolini commences his dictatorship.
  • The first electrical recording of classical music is made in the U.S.
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby is published; Fitzgerald christens the decade "The Jazz Age." 
  • The Ku Klux Klan marches in Washington, D.C.
  • Tennessee teacher John Thomas Scopes is convicted for teaching Darwin's theories of evolution to high school students.
  • American labor leader A. Philip Randolph organizes the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters to help bring American Blacks into the mainstream of the American labor movement.
  • Frisbee is played for the first time by a group of students using empty Frisbie Baking Company pie plates.
  • Trumpeter Louis Armstrong has a huge hit and pioneers scat singing with his first recorded original composition, Heebie Jeebies, featuring his Hot Five.
  • Pianist Jelly Roll Morton's group the Red Hot Peppers records in Chicago.
  • Bandleader Fletcher Henderson's group records with saxophonist Coleman Hawkins.
  • John Coltrane and Miles Davis are born.
  • The first television is introduced.
  • The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) begins transmitting nationally. 
  • Painter Claude Monet dies.
  • The Harlem Globetrotters basketball team is organized by Abe Saperstein in Chicago.
  • Louis Armstrong makes his first recordings with his Hot Seven, which was the Hot Five plus drums and tuba.
  • Jean Goldkette's Orchestra is dissolved.
  • Cornetist Bix Beiderbecke joins Paul Whiteman's band.
  • Pianist and bandleader Duke Ellington begins his residency at the Cotton Club in Harlem, increasing the band from six to eleven members.
  • The U.S. and Britain use military force in China.
  • Charles Lindbergh makes the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Columbia Broadcast System (CBS) is inaugurated.
  • The first "talkie" film is released, The Jazz Singer, starring Al Jolson.
  • Clarinetist Benny Goodman makes his first recordings.
  • Japanese troops enter China.
  • Pianist Fats Waller participates in a mixed-race recording session in which he is forced to play behind a screen to separate him from the white musicians.
  • The film St. Louis Blues about the life of pianist W.C. Handy is released, featuring blues singer Bessie Smith, Handy as musical director, and pianist James P. Johnson's band.
  • Yugoslavia is formed under King Alexander.
  • The U.S. stock market crashes.
  • The St. Valentine's Day Massacre occurs in Chicago.
  • The first Academy Awards are held in Hollywood.
  • Herbert Hoover becomes president.
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