Jazz Age



Original Dixieland Jazz Band – The original members formed the band in 1916. ODJB is credited with being the first to record jazz commercially and to have hit recordings in the new genre, The term in the name was originally “Jass” rather than “Jazz” but the label of an early Victor recording of “Tiger Rag” shows it had been become “Jazz” by 1917.

From Wikipedia (image added):

original-dixieland-jazz-band-TheCreatorsOfJazzOn March 3, 1916 the musicians began their job at Schiller’s Cafe in Chicago under the name Stein’s Dixie Jass Band. The band was a hit and received offers of higher pay elsewhere. Since Stein as leader was the only musician under contract by name, the rest of the band broke off, sent to New Orleans for drummer Tony Sbarbaro, and on June 5 started playing renamed as The Dixie Jass Band. LaRocca and Nunez had personality conflicts, and on October 30 Tom Brown’s Band and the ODJB [sic] mutually agreed to switch clarinetists, bringing Larry Shields into the Original Dixieland Jass Band. The band attracted the attention of theatrical agent Max Hart, who booked the band in New York City. At the start of 1917 the band began an engagement playing for dancing at Reisenweber’s Cafe in Manhattan. [read more]


Tiger Rag (m. Edwin B. Edwards, Nick La Rocca, Tony Spargo & Larry Shields, w. Harry De Costa) – The songwriting credits went to the members of the ODJB. Credit is certainly in dispute as you can see in the brief history by JazzStandards.com here: Tiger Rag.



(ab0ve) A slide show of photos from late jazz age Berlin accompanies a 1929 Homocord label recording of “Doin’ the New Low-Down” (Jimmy McHugh, Dorothy Fields) credited by the video provider to “Lud Gluskin m.s. Orch. (aus dem Café Berlin), Refraingesang: Emile Christian, Howard Kennedy, Eddie Ritten.”

The song was composed in 1928 for Lew Leslie’s Blackbirds of 1928, a show which also also introduced two jazz standards by McHugh and Fields, “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,” and “I Must Have That Man,” as well as the hit “Diga Diga Do.” Despite the word “new” in the title, the great songwriting team have here fashioned an archetypal Jazz Age song with strong echoes of iconic hits of the age such as “The Charleston” (1923), “Has Anybody Seen My Gal?” (1925), and “Yes Sir! That’s My Baby” (1925).


The “Jazz Age” Defined


The Jazz Age refers to a period of time after World War I, beginning with the Roaring Twenties and the ending with the beginning of the Great Depression. F. Scott Fitzgerald is credited with creating the term for the time, and he named [a 1922 collection of] short stories after this period — Tales of the Jazz Age

Unsurprisingly, the age refers to the popular music of the time—jazz. The age represents a shift in values in America, and a focus on living life to the fullest. The Jazz Age refers not only to the music of the time, however, but also to the literature, and new developments in art, and a change in the social behavior of America. – Answer to the question “What is the Jazz Age”? at yourdictionary.com


The Jazz Age was a period in the 1920s, ending with the Great Depression, in which jazz music and dance styles became popular, mainly in the United States, but also in Britain, France, Germany and elsewhere. Jazz originated in New Orleans as a fusion of African and European music and played a significant part in wider cultural changes in this period, and its influence on pop culture continued long afterwards. The Jazz Age is often referred to in conjunction with the Roaring Twenties. –  Wikipedia


the period that in the U.S. extended roughly from the Armistice of 1918 to the stock-market crash of 1929 and was notable for increased prosperity, liberated or hedonistic social behavior, Prohibition and the concomitant rise in production and consumption of bootleg liquor, and the development and dissemination of jazz and ragtime and associated ballroom dances.Dictionary.com


The Great Gatsby takes place during the summer of 1922. Fitzgerald coined the phrase, “the Jazz Age” that same year to describe the flamboyant—”anything goes”— era that emerged in America after World War I.  from Cornell University: New Student Reading Project (needs link added)


Some major genres and styles of music popular during the Jazz Age:

selected popular dances of the Jazz Age”

  • Shimmy
  • Black Bottom
  • Varsity Drag
  • Collegiate Shag
  • Toddle
  • Charleston
  • Lindy Hop
  • Foxtrot
  • Waltz
  • Baltimore


The links under “Features” below are to Songbook pages, while those under “External Links” go to external sites and resources.




Musical Theater:

Late Jazz Age musical films:

Tribute in film:

Songs of the Year


External Links

performer profile and tribute

jazz age music

musical theatre

African-American musical theater

Harlem Renaissance: history and biography

art of the Harlem Renaissance

graphic arts and design: art deco

jazz age fashion & advertisement


Resources which I’ve used often for information on the Jazz Age


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