Jazz on the Record
February 26, 1917. At the Victor Talking Machine Company’s studio in Manhattan, five white men gathered to record the first jazz record in history. The Original Dixieland Jass Band’s release was a hit, introducing many listeners across America to this genre for the first time. These musicians even claimed that they invented jazz, but that was far from the truth. Why was jazz, an artform pioneered by black musicians, introduced to the world by an all-white band? And who were the true pioneers who could have made the first jazz record?
Special thanks to Damon J. Phillips, Columbia Business School professor and author of Shaping Jazz: Cities, Labels, and the Global Emergence of an Art Form, and Kevin Whitehead, jazz critic for NPR’s Fresh Air and author of Play the Way You Feel: The Essential Guide to Jazz Stories on Film.
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