New Orleans and Jazz
New Orleans is often thought to be the cradle of jazz origins. Rich in music history, it still provides the music world with vibrant tunes.
Some will say that Jazz was born in 1895, when Buddy Bolden started his first band. Others will say 1917, when Nick LaRocca and his Original Dixieland Jazz Band recorded the first Jazz record, “Livery Stable Blues.” Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton said, “It is evidently known, beyond contradiction, that New Orleans is the cradle of Jazz, and I myself happen to be the inventor in the year 1902.” Jazz, of course, is not an invention. It’s alive. It grows, it dies, it changes, it stays the same. Jazz is to American music what the Mississippi is to America, and just as many rivers feed into the Mississippi, music (and musicians) from many cultures came together in the creation of Jazz. And they came together in perhaps the only place in the world where it could have happened, a place where multi-culturalism was, and is, embedded in the fabric of everyday life: New Orleans. Possibly, the earliest noted use of African rhythms coupled with European “classical” music was “La Bomboula-Danse Negre” composed by Louis Moreau Gottschalk in 1847. Gottschalk’s father was a Jewish doctor who moved to New Orleans from England. His mother was French and a native New Orleanian. He grew up in the French Quarter, barely two blocks from Congo Square, which was the center of VooDoo drumming and dancing in New Orleans. Click here to read the rest of this interesting article and to view photos of jazz artists in history.
If you are planning a trip to New Orleans, I’d recommend taking the time to attend a jazz concert and take a tour of the New Orleans Jazz National Park. Yes, an area so rich in music history deserves its own national park.
New Orleans also has a Jazz and Heritage Foundation with events year round.