THE CREATOR-FATHER OF JAZZ

By DJ D-S-L, 2010

Charles "Buddy" Bolden is credited by many Jazz historians as not only a key figure in the early development, but indeed the actual creator of Jazz. As a Cornetist of the New Orleans style of Rag-time music which later came to be known as Jazz, Charles Bolden or 'King Bolden', as he would later be known, was often a top draw wherever he performed with his Band, during the early 1900s until he was incapacitated by extreme Schizophrenia in 1907.

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 after the era of Bolden's prominence. He is credited with creating a looser, more improvised version of Ragtime and adding Blues which his band performed using brass instruments, something that was unheard of at the time. He was also said to have been heavily influenced by the Gospel music of that period, which he often heard during visits to African American Baptist churches.

Instead of imitating other Cornetists, Bolden played music he heard "by ear" and adapted it to his horn. In doing so, he created an exciting and novel fusion of rag-time, black sacred music, marching-band music and rural blues, which he rearranged into his typical New Orleans dance band of the time to better accommodate the blues; string instruments became the rhythm section, and the front-line instruments were clarinets, trombones, and Bolden's cornet.

Bolden's sound also directly inspired other notable Jazz musicians including; Joe "King" Oliver, Freddie Keppard, Bunk Johnson & "Dizzy" Gillespie to name a few.
Although no known recordings of Bolden have survived, his trombonist Willy Cornish has asserted that Bolden's band had made at least one phonograph cylinder in the late 1890s. Three other old-time New Orleans musicians, George Baquet, Alphonse Picou and Bob Lyons also remembered a recording session ("Turkey in the Straw", according to Baquet) in the early 1900s. Researcher Tim Brooks believes that these cylinders, if they existed, may have been privately recorded for local music dealers and were never distributed in bulk.

Some of the songs first associated with his band such as the traditional song "Careless Love" and "My Bucket's Got a Hole in It", are still standards. Bolden often closed his shows with the original number "Get Out of Here and Go Home", although for more "polite" gigs the last number would be "Home! Sweet Home!".
One of the most famous Bolden numbers is a song called "Funky Butt" (known later as "Buddy Bolden's Blues") which represents one of the earliest references to the concept of "Funk" in popular music, now a musical subgenre unto itself. Bolden's "Funky Butt" was, as Danny Barker once put it, a reference to the olfactory effect of an auditorium packed full of sweaty people "dancing close together and belly rubbing." Other musicians closer to Bolden's generation explained that the famous tune actually originated as a reference to flatulence.

In 1907, Bolden suffered an episode of acute alcoholic psychosis at the age of 30, and was later diagnosed with dementia praecox, and eventually admitted to the Louisiana State Insane Asylum, where he spent the rest of his life.