Happy birthday to Buddy Bolden, one of the creators of the amazing artform known as "jazz". A New Orleans-born cornetist, King Bolden's band was very popular in the city at the turn of the twentieth century. They say he used to improvise against the established rhythm in the marching bands, effectively inventing the jazz solo.
He synthesized ragtime, blues, gospel and marching bands, relegating the strings to the rhythm and bringing the horns to the front. A major influence on King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong, it is fair to call him one of the most important figures in the history of black music in America.
While research seems to have proved that Bolden did make a recording on cylinder for Edison in 1898, it has never been found. Interestingly, Bolden's band played a tune called "Funky Butt", a song about farting, the very first use of the word "funk" in relation to music. It was reportedly played in seedier venues and the song became banned after attaining popularity in the city, leading to its retitling as "Buddy Bolden's Blues".
He was reputedly a heavy drinker and had a way with the women. In 1907 he was deemed schizophrenic and locked up in an institution for the remainder of his life, having never had a record released. He spent the last two-plus decades of his existence locked up and forgotten about, while the music he invented became one of the dominant popular styles.
Here's Jelly Roll Morton on our subject: