Scott Joplin writes “Maple Leaf Rag,” which becomes the first huge hit of the ragtime era. In those days, “hit” meant sheet music sales.
At age 18, Duke Ellington forms his first band in Washington, DC. Ten years later, he opens at the Cotton Club in New York City.
Earl Hines invites Louis Armstrong to join his band at the Sunset Club in Chicago. Hines’s fluid style frees jazz piano from the boom-chuck left hand of ragtime and stride.
Art Tatum steals the show at a contest at Morgan’s Bar in New York City, besting rival stride pianists James P. Johnson, Fats Waller, and Willie “the Lion” Smith.
Teddy Wilson joins the Benny Goodman Trio, becoming the first African- American musician to appear with a previously all-white group. In the next few years, Wilson plays behind Billie Holiday.
John Hammond produces the “From Spirituals to Swing” concert at Carnegie Hall, which kicks off a decade-long boogie- woogie craze headlined by Albert Ammons, Pete Johnson, and Meade Lux Lewis. (Above left, above right, and immediate left, respectively.)
George Shearing first appears, as a sideman with French jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli.
Thelonious Monk makes his first recordings, with the Coleman Hawkins Quartet. His first recordings as a leader follow in 1947.
Impresario Norman Granz introduces Oscar Peterson to U.S. audiences at Carnegie Hall.
On Nov. 8, Dave Brubeck is the first jazz pianist to appear on the cover of Time magazine. He is followed ten years later by Thelonious Monk.
Bill Evans joins the Miles Davis Sextet. His influential trio recordings with bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian follow three years later, in 1961.
Already a veteran of Charles Lloyd and Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett releases Facing You, which inspires a decades-long revival of jazz and new age solo piano.