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History of Jazz Violin


Point Richmond Jazz is all about Jazz Violin. Periodically we will feature broadcasts about the fascinating history of the Violin in Jazz, and its role and significance in the development of jazz from the beginning of the music we call jazz.


In celebration of International Jazz Day and Duke Ellington's birthday on April 30, here is a podcast that focusses on the BEGINNINGS of JAZZ and the violin's and violinists role in the early development of jazz.


Podcast #1

LEARN about Jimmy Palao and WIll Marion Cook — two of the earliest violinists in Jazz:


The Original Creole Orchestra. L to R: Eddie Vincent, Ollie “Dink” Johnson, Freddy Keppard, Jimmie Palao, George Baquet, Bill Johnson, and W.M. Williams, cir. 1918. Photo courtesy Red Hot Jazz Archive. The Original Creole Orchestra was the first JAZZ band to tour widely in North America (from 1914 - 1918).

Earliest known appearance of the term "Jaz(z)" in print - Jimmy Palao's business card dated 1908:

Will Marion Cook was Duke Ellington's mentor. A violinist who studied with the great Joseph Joachim in Germany, later gave up a classical performing career and wrote and arranged the first all black review on Broadway in 1898 "Clorindy or the Origin of the Cakewalk. The pictures below show him as a young man and then later in life.

Here is a YouTube presentation on Will Marion Cook, narrated by NPR host Terry Gross.


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