Music : Early jazz musicians


This is not a history lesson. Just listen to the musicians below, and know they contributed a lot to jazz music. Others near this category include Jelly Roll Morton and Bix Beiderbecke. It's hard to find good dance music before these people came on the scene.

Sidney Bechet (buh-SHAY) was a badass. He would play the best clarinet you have ever heard, and then challenge you to a gun fight. You won't find swing here, but you will find jazz that makes you want to dance, or at least great music.


  1. Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me
  2. Muskrat Ramble
  3. Blue Horizon
  4. Joshua Fit the Battle of Jerico

Fats Waller was a showman and master stride pianist. He's a precursor to Cab Calloway. If you're looking for something light and fun, he is your man.


  1. All That Meat and No Potatoes
  2. Twenty Four Robbers
  3. Your Feet's Too Big
  4. Ain't Misbehavin'


Louis Armstrong was an institution. He played music for 40 years, and most of it isn't what you'll hear at a swing dance. He was a brilliant musician and an inspiration to everyone who followed.


  1. Potato Head Blues
  2. West End Blues
  3. Let's Call the Whole Thing Off
  4. Stardust


Duke Ellington did everything. He composed a broad range of music. Most of his early work is not swing music, but his contribution to the big band era is hard to match.


  1. It Don't Mean a Thing
  2. East St. Louis Toodle-oo
  3. Main Stem
  4. The Minor Goes Muggin'