Ragtime was popular during the years 1893 to 1919, and was characterized by formal elements inherited from march and polka traditions.1 Originally a solo piano music, ragtime later manifested in songs, ensemble arrangements, and culminated in an opera written by the greatest ragtime artist, Scott Joplin.

Ragtime began as an improvisational music, but there is no tangible evidence of this practice; ragtime is apprehended today in written and recorded forms. The Original Dixieland Jazz Band made what are generally agreed to be the first jazz recordings in 1917; oral histories suggest that an early form of jazz may have been practised around 1900, although no notated or recorded evidence of such music exist

Works composed between 1897 and 1914 by Tom Turpin, Scott Joplin, and Hubert ‘Eubie’ Blake exemplify the classic notated ragtime style; recordings made between 1917 and 1925 by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, Edward ‘Kid’ Ory, King Oliver, Bennie Moten, Clarence Williams, and Jelly Roll Morton represent a cross-section of work produced by pioneers of early jazz.


Welcome to Pastreunited, here you will find hundreds of videos, images, and over 80 pages about all aspects of the 20th century. A great deal of the content has been sent in, other content is the work of numerous writers who have a passion for this era, please feel free to send in your memories or that of your family members, photos and videos are all welcome to help expand pastreunited's data base.

You may also add a dedication to a loved one if you wish, we have been on-line for many years and intend to be here for many years to come as new family members will take over the website, all content is regularly backed up to safe guard the content, so what are you waiting for send us an email and we will do the rest.




1910 Down by the old mill stream


"Down by the Old Mill Stream" is a song written by Tell Taylor. It was one of the most popular songs of the early 20th century
It was written in 1908 while Taylor was sitting on the banks of the Blanchard River. Reportedly, Taylor's friends convinced him not to publish the song believing it was not of commercial value.

Two years later, Taylor did publish it in 1910 and introduced the song to the public with performances by the vaudeville quartet The Orpheus Comedy Four. While the group sang the song at a Woolworth store in Kansas City, the song became so popular with customers, they sold out all 1,000 copies of its sheet music Taylor had with him. Since then over 4 million copies of the song's sheet music has been sold and it has been a staple for barbershop quartets.



Up until now, it has been a universally acknowledged “truth” that Pomona College’s Alma Mater, Hail, Pomona, Hail!, originated as a “closing song for a black-face minstrel show produced during the 1909-10 academic year.”

However, recently discovered facts conclusively prove that this song was neither composed for nor sung in that or any other minstrel show. It was an entirely different song that was created for the minstrel show of 1910. Simply stated, Hail, Pomona, Hail! was the song that was not there.

The historic belief in the Alma Mater’s relationship to the minstrel show is based solely on the unconfirmed and inaccurate recollection of Richard Loucks, Jr. ’13, a freshman during the 1909-10 academic year. Loucks was actively involved in a show entitled “The Baseball Show,” a student produced fund-raiser for the college baseball team.

The first act was a black-face minstrel show, and the second act featured the Men’s Glee Club in an a capella performance of “The Ill-Treated Trovatore,” an operatic parody and spoof of student life at Pomona that had proven popular in the Glee Club’s Southern California concert tour. Loucks directed the minstrel show and composed the song that “brought down the curtain on Act 1.” The song he wrote for the show was “The Blue and White,”


minstrel show

Known as "The Empress of the Blues," Bessie Smith was both the best and the most famous of the female singers of the 1920s. A strong, independent woman and a powerful vocalist that could sing in both jazz and blues styles, Smith was also the most commercially successful of the era’s singers. Her records sold tens, if not hundreds of thousands of copies - an unheard of level of sales for those days.

At the young age of 18 in 1912, Smith was performing as a singer and dancer on the same vaudeville show as another powerful blues singer, Ma Rainey. Rainey taught Smith the ropes, and soon the younger performer had surpassed her mentor. By 1920, Smith was starring in her own show in Atlantic City, and three years later the singer moved to New York City.

Smith signed with Columbia Records and struck gold with her 1923 debut, a rendition of Alberta Hunter's "Downhearted Blues." The song reportedly sold more than 750,000 copies, its success making Smith a star. She continued to record throughout the 1920s, waxing some 160 songs for Columbia, and performed alongside talented musicians like Louis Armstrong. Smith's annual Harlem Frolics tent show was a big hit during the mid-1920s.

Bessie Smith

Smith appeared in the low-budget film St. Louis Blues in 1929, the only known footage of the singer known to exist. That same year she recorded her last hit, the Depression-era standard "Nobody Knows When You're Down And Out." Sadly, the public’s interest in blues and jazz singers waned during the early-1930s, and Smith was dropped by her label in 1931.

Smith returned to her roots and sang in small clubs for a pittance - a far cry from her peak, when she performed in theaters and hotel ballrooms across the country. Rediscovered by Columbia Records’ talent scout John Hammond, Smith recorded with band leader Benny Goodman in 1933 and played the Apollo in 1935.

Smith would also substitute for Billie Holiday in the show Stars Over Broadway. Before Smith could launch a full-fledged comeback, the singer tragically died of injuries from an auto accident in 1937.

Linnie Lucille Love


Linnie Lucille Love was a child actress, dancer, and singer in early Washington popular vaudeville. She advanced her skills by studying grand opera at New York City music conservatories. Upon completion of her New York training she appeared on Broadway and then toured the country with the Metropolitan Opera Quartet.

She teamed up with singer  Lorna Lea and they joined the YMCA Entertainers to tour Western military camps during World War I. While performing at Camp Lewis,  Linnie Love was stricken with the influenza virus. She died of it on November 12, 1918. Ten years later, a national campaign led to the U.S. Congress funding a monument at her grave.


On February 26, 1893, Linnie Lucille Love was born in Portland, Oregon. The Love family, Royal Fred Love (1871-1956) and Clara Buford Love (1874-1956), lived in the Lents neighborhood of Southeast Portland. Royal worked as a clerk at the Routledge Seed and Flower Company. In 1899 the Love's had another daughter, Ruby, but the parents soon separated. In 1900 Clara and Linnie moved to Seattle, and for Linnie this would be home for the rest of her too-short life.

Clara and Linnie lived at 304 Spring Street, Seattle, a boarding house that Clara ran and that accommodated three boarders. At this time the 7-year-old Linnie demonstrated talent and became interested in child acting. In 1901 she started dance lessons at the Willson's Academy of Dance, in the Ranke Building at 420 Pike Street.

Here she learned "buck and wing dancing," rhythm dancing with wooden shoes, which included shooting out the leg to make a wing movement, a minstrel and vaudeville style. "Professor" James H. Willson, the academy head, discovered her to be an excellent dancer and singer. Willson believed that Linnie and other child actors could be a successful touring company.


During America's early twentieth century, a good economy, more spending money, and more leisure time created a demand for entertainment. Radio would not be available until the 1920s and of course television not until many years later.

The live theater with vaudeville shows became immensely popular. Most small towns had theaters or tent shows that featured entertainers playing circuits. In 1902, the 8-year-old Linnie Love, made her first stage appearance. She would become a popular juvenile vaudeville performer who then studied opera and demonstrated a clear and remarkable singing voice.

In 1902 Willson organized a juvenile minstrel show, rented a railroad car, and with a company of 23 children, ages 7 to 12, toured the Pacific Northwest. The shows were popular and well received. An Anaconda, Montana, paper reported on February 21, 1902, that the little tots had opened for a three-night engagement at Sutton's Family Theater.

The two-part show, minstrel and burlesque, was based upon the opera Il Trovatore. Linnie Love was especially good, doing comic routines, singing, and dancing. Favorable reviews of the show specifically mentioned her.


The next year Linnie went out on her own. She appeared as "Little Linnie Love" on a vaudeville circuit performing at the popular-priced Unique Theatres. This chain claimed to be the world's first legitimate popular-priced vaudeville chain. The Washington theaters could be found in Vancouver, Portland, Bellingham, Everett, Yakima, Spokane, and Seattle.

Her engagement at the Bellingham Unique opened on June 22, 1902, and for only 10 cents admission charge, patrons enjoyed her comic routine, dancing, and singing. Miss Love and other vaudeville performers appreciated the security of Unique Theatre's guaranteed four- and eight-week contracts. Many vaudeville theaters had no contracts and often terminated acts with little notice.

Linnie, when not on the road, lived in Seattle at 902 ½ 2nd Avenue. Her mother lived at this address some of the time and then reconcile with husband Royal and return to Portland to join him. They separated and reconciled a number of times during their lives.



The Blues were born in the North Mississippi Delta following the Civil War. Its heartfelt and passionate performances are deeply rooted in slavery and the African American culture. Early compositions were Field Hollers, Ballads, Church Spirituals and Rhythmic Dance tunes called Jump-Ups that showcased a singer who would engage in a call-and-response with his guitar.

 He would sing a line, and the guitar would answer. For many years, due to the lack of music education, multitudes of songs were recorded and passed on only by memory. Because of this fact, it is very possible that many a great song was "lost in translation."

The Blues became the essence and hope of the African American labourer, whose spirit is wed to these songs, reflecting his inner soul to all who will listen. Rhythm and Blues is the cornerstone of all forms of African American music.

The Blues, with it's 12-bar, dissonant 7th chord progression and its bent-note melodies were the early anthems of an oppressed race, bonding themselves together through their soulful cries for freedom and equality. From its origins at the crossroads of Highways 61 and 49, and the platform of the Clarksdale Railway Station, the blues eventually began to expand and headed north to Beale Street in Memphis.

The term "The Blues" refers to the "The Blue Devils", meaning melancholy and sadness. An early use of the term in this sense is found in George Colman's one-act farce Blue Devils (1798). Though the use of the phrase in African American music may be older, it has been attested to since 1912, when Hart Wand's "Dallas Blues" became the first copyrighted blues composition.

The Blues form was first mainstreame about 1911-14 by the black composer W.C. Handy (1873-1958). However, the poetic and musical form of the blues first crystallized around 1910 and gained popularity through the publication of Handy's "Memphis Blues" (1912) and "St. Louis Blues" (1914). Instrumental blues had been recorded as early as 1913. During the twenties, the blues became a national craze.

Mamie Smith recorded the first vocal blues song, 'Crazy Blues' in 1920. The Blues influence on jazz brought it into the mainstream and made possible the records of blues singers like Bessie Smith and later, in the thirties, Billie Holiday.

In northern cities like Chicago and Detroit, during the later forties and early fifties, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, and Elmore James among others, played what was basically Mississippi Delta blues, backed by bass, drums, piano and occasionally harmonica, and began scoring national hits with blues songs.

At about the same time, T-Bone Walker in Houston and B.B. King in Memphis were pioneering a style of guitar playing that combined jazz technique with the blues tonality and repertoire. It is also important to mention that the roots of Jazz began with the Blues. So, if there were no Blues, there would be no Jazz!

In the early nineteen-sixties, the urban bluesmen were "discovered" by young white American and European musicians. Many of these blues-based bands like the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Canned Heat, and Fleetwood Mac, brought the blues to young white audiences, something the black blues artists had been unable to do in America except through the purloined white cross-over covers of black rhythm and blues songs.

Since the sixties, rock has undergone several blues revivals. Some rock guitarists, such as Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, and Eddie Van Halen have used the blues as a foundation for offshoot styles.

While the originators like John Lee Hooker, Albert Collins and B.B. King--and their heirs Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, and later Eric Clapton and the late Roy Buchanan, among many others, continued to make fantastic music in the blues tradition. The latest generation of blues players would be Robert Cray and the late Stevie Ray.
In mid-July 1918, Linnie and Lorna signed up with the YMCA entertainment program, a program to bring lecturers, variety shows, and sports figures to the military camps as well as overseas. During World War I, the organization provided 109,794 separate performances.

The two singers embarked on an extended tour of Western camps. They performed  shows at Fort Stevens, Oregon, and in Washington: Vancouver Barracks; Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton; Fort Flagler; Fort Canby; Fort Worden; Fort Lawton; and a final stop at Camp Lewis.


Leon Bismark "Bix" Beiderbecke (March 10, 1903 – August 6, 1931) was an American jazz cornetist, jazz pianist, and composer. With Louis Armstrong, Beiderbecke was one of the most influential jazz trumpet/cornet soloists of the 1920s. His turns on "Singin' the Blues" (1927) and "I'm Coming, Virginia" (1927), in particular, demonstrated an unusual purity of tone and a gift for improvisation.

Especially these two recordings helped to invent the jazz ballad style and hinted at what, in the 1950s, would become cool jazz. "In a Mist" (1927), one of a handful of his piano compositions but the only one he recorded, mixed classical influences with jazz syncopation. Beiderbecke has also been credited for his influence, directly, on Bing Crosby and, indirectly, via saxophonist Frank Trumbauer, on Lester Young.

A native of Davenport, Iowa, Beiderbecke taught himself to play cornet largely by ear, leading him to adopt a non-standard fingering that some critics have connected to his original sound. He first recorded with a Midwestern jazz ensemble the Wolverines in 1924, after which he played briefly for the Detroit-based Jean Goldkette Orchestra before joining Frankie "Tram" Trumbauer for an extended gig at the Arcadia Ballroom in St. Louis, Missouri. Beiderbecke and Trumbauer both joined Goldkette in 1926.

The band toured widely and famously played a set opposite Fletcher Henderson at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City in October 1926. The following year, Trumbauer and Beiderbecke left Detroit to join the best-known and most prestigious dance orchestra in the country: the New York–based Paul Whiteman Orchestra.

Beiderbecke's most influential recordings date from his time with Goldkette and Whiteman, although they were generally recorded under his own name or Trumbauer's. The Whiteman period also marked a precipitous decline in Beiderbecke's health, brought on by the demand of the bandleader's relentless touring and recording schedule in combination with Beiderbecke's persistent alcoholism.

A few stints in rehabilitation centers, as well as the support of Whiteman and the Beiderbecke family in Davenport, did not check Beiderbecke's fall. He left the Whiteman band in 1930 and the following summer died in his Queens apartment at the age of twenty-eight.

His death, in turn, gave rise to one of the original legends of jazz. In magazine articles, musicians' memoirs, novels, and Hollywood films, Beiderbecke has been reincarnated as a Romantic hero, the "Young Man with a Horn". His life has been portrayed as a battle against such bourgeois obstacles to art as family, commerce, even hygiene, while his death has been seen as a kind of martyrdom.

The musician-critic Benny Green sarcastically called Beiderbecke "jazz's Number One Saint," while Ralph Berton compared him to Jesus. The historical Beiderbecke, meanwhile, is the subject of scholarly controversy regarding his true name, his sexual orientation, the cause of his death, and the importance of his contributions to jazz in relation to those of African-American players of the same period.


Beth Slater Whitson


Years before Nashville became known for its worldwide brand of country music lyricists, Beth Slater Whitson was modestly churning out hits. The Hickman County native penned her two most recognized tunes there in the Goodrich community before moving to Nashville in 1913.


Until her death at age 52, her output increased and extended into countless pieces of magazine fiction. She wrote lyrics for up to 400 songs, by one estimate. On top of that were her short stories, poems and even a screenplay used by Hollywood's Universal Corp. in the silent movie era. Beneath it all, she was a troubled soul. Depression and elation marked her moods, although bipolar disorder was not yet labeled in Whitson's day. 


"Her works were distinctively her own. She was quite versatile, turning easily from airy, whimsical lines destined to bring joy to the young, to ballads of sentiment that had universal appeal," wrote her primary biographer, Grace Baxter Thompson. 


Best known today are her songs Let Me Call You Sweetheart (1910), with music by New Yorker Leo Friedman, and Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland (1909). Neither has been forgotten. Sweetheart was used in the 1998 Steven Soderbergh film Out of Sight starring George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez.

Earlier, it was recorded by performers as wildly diverse as Neil Young and Fats Domino, Patti Page and Doris Day, Bing Crosby and Gene Autry, Tiny Tim and Lawrence Welk. Dreamland, also a Friedman collaboration, attracted latter-day versions by Pat Boone, Frank Sinatra, The Mills Brothers and even jazz great Thelonius Monk. It was featured in the 1949 Judy Garland film In the Good Old Summertime.


Beth and her six-years-younger sister, Alice Norton, credited their creative abilities to a family steeped in the written word. Their father was John H. Whitson, co-editor of the Hickman Pioneer newspaper. "Beth and Alice started writing poetry as soon as they learned to spell …," John Lipscomb wrote in a Nashville Tennessean Magazine article in 1949. "One of their favorite games was to make up verse with each supplying alternate lines."

Norton told Lipscomb that was how the unforgettable chorus Sweetheart came to be written: "Let me call you Sweetheart, I'm in love with you/ Let me hear you whisper that you love me too.…" The tune has been acclaimed as a "Towering Song" by the Songwriters Hall of Fame and placed No. 125 in a 21st-century ranking of the greatest songs of the 20th century.


WC Handy


African American work songs were an important precursor to the modern blues; these included the songs sung by laborers like stevedores and roustabouts, and the field hollers of slaves. There are few characteristics common to all blues, as the genre takes its shape from the peculiarities of each individual performance.

Some characteristics, however, were present prior to the creation of the modern blues, and are common to most styles of African American music. The earliest blues-like music was a "functional expression, rendered in a call-and-response style without accompaniment or harmony and unbounded by the formality of any particular musical structure". This pre-blues music was adapted from the field shouts and hollers performed during slave times, expanded into "simple solo songs laden with emotional content".
Master Kora maker Alieu Suso in the Gambia

Many of these blues elements, such as the call-and-response format, can be traced back to the music of Africa. The use of melisma and a wavy, nasal intonation also suggests a connection between the music of West and Central Africa and the blues. The belief that blues is historically derived from the West African music including from Mali is reflected in Martin Scorsese’s often quoted characterization of Ali Farka Touré’s tradition as constituting "the DNA of the blues"

Perhaps the most compelling African instrument that is a predecessor to an African-American instrument is the "Akonting", a folk lute of the Jola tribe of Senegambia. It is a clear predecessor to the American banjo in its playing style, the construction of the instrument itself and in its social role as a folk instrument. The Kora is played by a professional caste of praise singers for the rich and aristocracy (called griots or jalis) and is not considered folk music.

Jola music was actually not influenced much by Islamic and North African/Middle Eastern music, and this may give us an important clue as to how African American music does not, according to many scholars such as Sam Charters, bear hardly any relation to kora music. Rather, African-American music may reflect a hold over from a pre-Islamicized form of African music.

The music of the Akonting and that played by on the banjo by elder African-American banjo players, even into the mid 20th century is easily identified as being very similar. The akonting is perhaps the most important and concrete link that exists between African and African-American music.

However, while the findings of Kubik and others also clearly attest to the essential Africanness of many essential aspects of blues expression, studies by Willie Ruff and others have situated the origin of "black" spiritual music inside enslaved peoples' exposure to their masters' Hebridean-originated gospels.  African-American economist and historian Thomas Sowell also notes that the southern, black, ex-slave population was acculturated to a considerable degree by and among their Scots-Irish "redneck" neighbours.
 Influence of spirituals

The most important American antecedent of the blues was the spiritual, a form of religious song with its roots in the camp meetings of the Great Awakening of the early 19th century. Spirituals were a passionate song form, that "convey(ed) to listeners the same feeling of rootlessness and misery" as the blues. 

Spirituals, however, were less specifically concerning the performer, instead about the general loneliness of mankind, and were more figurative than direct in their lyrics.  Despite these differences, the two forms are similar enough that they can not be easily separated — many spirituals would probably have been called blues had that word been in wide use at the time.


Scott Joplin


The abolition of slavery led to new opportunities for the education of freed African-Americans. Although strict segregation limited employment opportunities for most blacks, many were able to find work in entertainment. Black musicians were able to provide "low-class" entertainment in dances, minstrel shows, and in vaudeville, by which many marching bands formed. Black pianists played in bars, clubs, and brothels, as ragtime developed.

Ragtime appeared as sheet music, popularized by African American musicians such as the entertainer Ernest Hogan, whose hit songs appeared in 1895; two years later Vess Ossman recorded a medley of these songs as a banjo solo "Rag Time Medley".

Also in 1897, the white composer William H. Krell published his "Mississippi Rag" as the first written piano instrumental ragtime piece, and Tom Turpin published his Harlem Rag, that was the first rag published by an African-American.

The classically trained pianist Scott Joplin produced his "Original Rags" in the following year, then in 1899 had an international hit with "Maple Leaf Rag". He wrote numerous popular rags, including, "The Entertainer", combining syncopation, banjo figurations and sometimes call-and-response, which led to the ragtime idiom being taken up by classical composers including Claude Debussy and Igor Stravinsky. Blues music was published and popularized by W. C. Handy, whose "Memphis Blues" of 1912 and "St. Louis Blues" of 1914 both became jazz standards.


The 1910s saw the balance of power shift in several of the arts. Against the backdrop of a growing antibusiness climate in the country, artists challenged the power of those who hired them, bought and used their work, and controlled their careers.

Actors in movies and theater (which was controlled by a near monopoly) demanded better contracts. Painters and writers created new outlets for their work by staging independent exhibitions and founding new literary journals. Songwriters demanded payment for the use of their works. Artists from all fields formed associations to protect their rights as workers and to increase their opportunities for success.

Among such groups founded in the 1910s are the Association of American Painters and Sculptors (1911), the Dramatists Guild (1912), the Actors Equity Association (1913), the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (1914), and the Society of Independent Artists (1916). In 1919 two thousand members of Actors Equity were among the four million American workers who went on strike for better pay and working conditions.


Singleton Palmer


For many early jazz musicians, an attraction to music and the idea of making music began before they were first formally introduced to a musical instrument. Some grew up in musical homes where family members were professional or amateur musicians while others remember first hearing music at church, parades, or other community events. In many accounts, they recalled their attraction to the sounds musicians made and their desire to try to make such sounds themselves. Following these initial / encounters, some musicians, such as Pops Foster, experimented with /home made instruments.

Others, including Danny Barker and Clyde Bernhardt, formed kazoo groups with their friends and imitated the latest songs. The young Louis Armstrong began his professional musical explorations by singing in a street corner ensemble.

These ad hoc and informal settings prepared young jazz-musicians-to-be for their first encounters with real instruments and perhaps, to some extent, for their first encounters with notated music (Foster 1971:2-3; Bernhardt 1986:33; Barker 1986:36; Armstrong 1986:32, 34).

For musicians growing up in a musical household these first experiences were usually facilitated by a family member, typically a parent or sibling.Often a family member became the child's music teacher. Pops Foster's first bass was a cello with strings made of "twine rubbed with wax and rosin." His first teacher was his brother, Willie Foster, who taught him to play and to read.

Soon, the Foster brothers and their sister, Elizabeth, were "playing lawn parties and birthdays in the afternoons and evenings" (Foster 1971:3). Eddie Durham was taught by his older brother to play musical instruments and read music: "I could read [music] because my brother studied music . . . he started teaching me trombone and guitar .

Singleton Palmer was one of many African American musicians from St. Louis who came of age in the 1910s and 1920s and studied music with P. B. Langford. In addition to giving private instruction, Langford led the Odd Fellows Brass Band. At rehearsals, Langford saw to it that young musicians had an opportunity to learn their craft by sitting alongside more seasoned players.



It was only 130 years ago when the music recording industry first got its start. In 1878 Thomas Edison invented the phonograph, which recorded sound. Originally planned to relay telegraph messages and for automated speech via the telephone, the phonograph came a year and a half after the telephone.

Technically, Edison had figured out that the needle could prick a paper tape and record a message, which led to a stylus on a tinfoil cylinder which played back the short message he recorded -- "Mary had a little lamb."

In reality, the phonograph machine was a tinfoil wrapped cylinder on which sound vibrations could be engraved and played back. Many recordings were being produced by the 1900s by musicians worldwide. The recording industry became a really serious business by 1910 for anyone who had money.

For 90 years, recording, editing and the distribution of music was available only to those with money. The reason is that people could not afford expensive studios with recording equipment.

But by the late 1980s people began experimenting with digital audio processing, and sound vibrations were converted to binary words by computers,so by the 1990s greater bit depths became available. Audio could be better represented digitally, but it took computers with high processing power, and this was still expensive. Nowadays, the personal computer has become accessible and less expensive, so memory and fast processing speeds that are needed for digital audio are available on almost every computer. Audio interfaces and sound cards have also become less expensive.


Jelly Roll Morton


The 20th century music world has seen the entry of light and easy listening music with African-American jazz music. Originating in southern USA, jazz music is a combination of African and European music traditions. It puts together the use of blue notes, improvisation, syncopation and swing notes. Jazz music was first used in reference to music from Chicago early in the 20th century.

It has evolved in several other subgenres such as New Orleans Dixieland, big band-style swing, bebop, Afro-Cuban jazz, Brazilian jazz, jazz-rock fusion, and the more recent acid jazz. The realm of jazz music was and still is predominantly associated with the American black community. These black musicians transitioning from banjos and tambourines learned to play European instruments such as the violin. Black slaves from early America used to sing and play music as a form of spiritual or ritualistic hymns.

After emancipation, employment opportunities for black slaves were very limited as segregation laws were still in force. Most of these black slaves found themselves in the entertainment industry as piano players and instrumentalists.

They became low-cost entertainers as minstrels, vaudeville players, piano bar players, and marching band members. Soon, this kind of jazz music called Ragtime Jazz spread from the southern USA to other areas in the western and northern cities in USA. Ragtime jazz became very popular in the early part of the century. Musician Jelly Roll Morton published the first ever jazz arrangement in print in 1915 with the title Jelly Roll Blues

This printed arrangement brought forth a new breed of musicians playing ragtime. Ragtime music moved on from red-light district bars and vaudeville shows to major concert locations such as the Carnegie Hall. The first jazz record was recorded in 1913 by Society Orchestra, the first black group to come out with a record. Another group that came up with their very own jazz music recording is the "Original Dixieland Jazz Band".

Other bands followed suit, releasing jazz music recordings starting in 1917. In 1922, the most famous blues singer of the decade, Bessie Smith, also released her first recording.

Also in the 1920s, Jelly Roll Morton played with the New Orleans Rhythm Kings and made history as the first mixed-race recording collaboration. Big bands like those of Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington and Earl Hines played the more prominent venues and paved the way for the development of big-band-style swing jazz. Louis Armstrong, a trumpeter, band leader and singer, came to be known as the Ambassador of Jazz, what with his early innovations in jazz music.

Swing music is considered to be popular dance music and is played from printed musical arrangements. Then came the bebop which focuses more on small groups and simple arrangements. Throughout the years jazz music has always been preferred music genre among those who enjoy light and easy listening.

There are radio stations that play only jazz music. Jazz music can be heard most everywhere hotel lounges, salons, concert halls, wedding receptions, Jazz music is perhaps also the most unique form of music as there are no two jazz music performances.


The Blues 1910


Blues is a much more than a genre of music it's a way of life. It represents the story of struggle and triumph for the few who found solace and escape from life's harshest lessons of everyday living. Blues is a genre of music, yes, and a style of deep expressionist art of the highest caliber, painting a picture with your heart and soul. Although its exact origins are uncertain, it is the result of the mixture of European and African musical traditions.

It is indeed an unlikely marriage of musical roots, a very special music born from the union of parents from different continents and the voice of emancipation of a people that demanded to be heard. The Blues is a medium to communicate the heart and soul to the masses.

The origins of the music that would become the Blues, is in the songs and musical events typical of black slaves brought from Africa to North America. Work "hollers" (brief calls by a leader with response by other slaves) formed the basis for the blues language that would be based on that sung call-and-response.

These work chants would have been transposed into the music of the workers. This "proto-blues" would continue to evolve in the Southern United States throughout the nineteenth century. As music from an oral culture, the tradition of blues was for a long time poorly documented. From the year 1912 and the publication of the first compositions with influence of blues, the musical style was formalized quickly. Blues recorded by singers like Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday set the standards.

Also ragtime had become very popular by the beginning of the twentieth century, and played an important role in familiarizing the public with the rhythmic syncopation which was, in turn, used by classical composers (for example, Debussy and Ravel) as well as those of Broadway (Berlin, Gershwin). It was only in the 1920s, with the advent of the first known recordings of blues artists that an identifiable record came to be. It is with these early recordings that we can begin to see the true Birth of the Blues.

The music followed with the wanderings and movements of twentieth century blacks as they left the South to the more industrialized areas of the United States. The majority of blacks met in Detroit. This city, whose economy was based on the auto industry, welcomed a large number of blacks into its population.

It was in the Black Bottom ghetto, on Hastings street, that many bluesmen had their first contact with the public. Similar migration patterns brought Blues music to Chicago. This migration to the Northern states changed the blues.

At one point, it became less an expression of the group than that of the individual. The influence of geographical location was also important. Music played in the countryside, in a barn or juke joint, does not require amplification. Urban musicians had to be heard. Innovations in amplification allowed them to abandon the acoustic guitar during the 30's and 40's and begin extensive use of the amplified electric guitar.

The traditional bluesman, alone on stage, began to give way to groups and bands composed of musicians specializing in electric guitars and basses, trap drums and amplified pianos.

The urban blues, especially the Chicago blues was born. During the 50's and 60's blues musicians like Howlin 'Wolf, Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, T-bone Walker, John Lee Hooker, Willie Dixon, BB King and Buddy Guy created the incredible blues style that would become Rock and Roll. It was the era of electrification guitars, a style in which BB King revolutionized. Blues music history is a fascinating journey that will give you a deeper connection to the music that touches your soul.


 Just a few words to say thank you, for all the images and text you have kindly sent in, it is very much appreciated, having said that, if an image or some text is copyrighted, and you wish for it to be removed  we will remove it  A.S.A.P.

© Copyright 2003-2017 PastReunited.com,  No animals were harmed in the making of this site although a few contributors were recycled.