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Buddy Bolden

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Buddy Bolden

Charles "Buddy" Bolden (September 6, 1877 - November 4, 1930) was a trumpeter and the first New Orleans jazz musician ever to come to prominence.

Contents

Life

He was known as King Bolden (see: Jazz royalty), and his band was a top draw in New Orleans from about 1895 to 1907, when he was incapacitated by schizophrenia. He never recorded, but he was known for his open tone and very loud sound. Joe "King" Oliver and Louis Armstrong were directly inspired by his playing.

While there is substantial first hand oral history about Buddy Bolden, too often various colorful myths have crowded out the facts in later writings. It is often said that he was a barber by trade or that he published a scandal-sheet called the Cricket, but these stories are almost certainly untrue.

Bolden suffered a breakdown in 1907 and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He was admitted to a mental institution where he spent the rest of his life.

Music

Many early jazz musicians credited Bolden and the members of his band with being the originators of what came to be known as "jazz" (though the term was not yet in common musical use until during the era of Bolden's prominence). Bolden is credited with creating a looser, more improvised version of ragtime and adding blues to it; Bolden's band was said to be the first to have brass instruments play the blues. He also was said to have taken ideas from gospel music heard in Uptown African American Baptist churches.

Some of the songs first associated with his band, such as "Careless Love" and "My Bucket's Got a Hole in It" are still standards. Funk and rap foreshadowing can still be heard coming from one of Bolden's theme songs, known later on as "Buddy Bolden's Blues" (in Bolden's day it was called "Funky Butt"):

I thought I heard Buddy Bolden say,
Funky-butt, funky-butt, take it away.

Bolden in fiction

Bolden has inspired fictional characters with his name, to varying degrees based on him. Most famously, Canadian author Michael Ondaatje's novel Coming Through Slaughter features a Buddy Bolden character in some ways like the real one and in other ways deliberately contrary to the known facts of Bolden's life.

External link

de:Buddy Bolden

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