August 12, 2020

World War One and Jazz

In March, 1917, the first jazz records were released one month before the US entered World War One. With cities like New York and Chicago as the cultural hubs for this new sound. People had been used to the wholesome sounds of Ragtime music.

Though, Jazz was different. Jazz made instruments take on new character. During this time, the young people of the US were tired of war. Women had even found liberty in work. Nightclubs were thriving with the sounds of jazz musicians such as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. Jazz was used as a way to rebel against the traditional culture of the time and enjoy the sound of life.

During the time of World War One, humanity felt a wave of tragedy around the world. Some of the composers died, while others felt the pain of losing loved ones and friends.The heartache of war inspired musicians. With new technologies, such as the motor car, the telegraph and the advent of recording had an impact on the way people found and heard music. These technologies were developed for war and as they made their way to the public it made listening to Jazz easier.

Imagine a fresh record to bring home.

A telegraph giving word that friends are meeting up at a new club.

Even taking a motor car across town could get you home in time for work the next day.

World War One was a difficult time for the United States of America. Though with the technologies used to aid the war effort created a home for Jazz to thrive. The original Dixieland Jazz Band Records first jazz album was Livery Stable Blues. The record was such a success that it paved the way for the first jazz records in US music shops. The group consisted of cornetist Nick LaRocca, clarinetist Larry Shields, trombonist Eddie Edwards, pianist Harry Ragas, and drummer Tony Sbarbaro.

To find music that inspired this article listen to the works of Sidney Bechet, Bix Beiderbecke, Jelly Roll Morton and Scott Joplin.