The beginnings of jazz and the story of Charles “Buddy” Bolden (1877–1931) are inextricably intertwined. Just after the turn of the century, New Orleanians could often hear Bolden's powerful horn from the city's parks and through dance hall windows. He had no formal training, but what he lacked in technical finesse he made up for in style. It was this—his unique style, both musical and personal—that made him the first "king" of New Orleans jazz and the inspiration for such later jazz greats as King Oliver, Kid Ory, and Louis Armstrong.
For years the legend of Buddy Bolden was overshadowed by myths about his music, his reckless lifestyle, and his mental instability. In Search of Buddy Bolden overlays the myths with the substance of reality. Interviews with those who knew Bolden and an extensive array of primary sources enliven and inform Donald M. Marquis's absorbing portrait of the brief but brilliant career of the first man of jazz. For this paperback edition, Marquis has added a new preface and appendix. He relates events and discoveries that have occurred since the book's original publication in 1978, including a jazz funeral and a monument erected in honor of Bolden in 1996, the locating of Bolden's granddaughter, the proper identification of Bolden's clarinet players, and the unfortunate confirmation of the destruction of the last known Bolden recording.
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