NDRW: The Legend of Buddy Bolden

Buddy Bolden (1877-1931) is something of a mythical legend in Jazz history. It is generally considered that he was the first Jazz musician and he was immortalised by Jelly Roll Morton in the song above.

The thing is only one photograph of the man exists and there are no known records of his playing, so his status as a mythical figure stands.

Legend (well from a Trombone Player in one of his bands) has it a Bolden band was recorded on a cylinder but it has never been found.

If it were found would it aide or abet his legend? I don’t know- but I think that he left a legend in the first place is all that matters.

Sadly Bolden died penniless and spent the last 25 years of his life in an asylum, now it is believed that he suffered from Schizophrenia, unfortunately mental health care back in the early part of the 20th century was not great, even more so for black people, so his treatment was not great and few documents survive so it is unlikely we ever know the truth.

Nova’s Daily Random Word: Legend

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