Chicago has played a leading role in the performance, recording, and artistic evolution of jazz. Many musicians came to the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, where they stayed and influenced what became the many styles of jazz associated with Chicago.
While New York was dominated by writing and publishing, Chicago was dominated by performers, in clubs and venues. Starting at the turn of the 20th century, such influential performers as pianists Tony Jackson and Ferd La Menthe “Jelly Roll” Morton, Freddie Keppard, Manuel Perez, and especially Joseph “King” Oliver were performing and perfecting their craft in Chicago. In 1917, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band recorded the first jazz records ever made.
Between 1925 and 1928, Louis Armstrong with his Hot Five and his Hot Seven recorded some historic albums for Okeh in Chicago, as did Earl Hines, star pianist and bandleader at the Grand Terrace Café.
Benny Goodman went on to become the King of Swing in the 1930s and 1940s, most often with drummer Gene Krupa. Pianist Art Hodes built a long and successful career as a blues-influenced piano stylist.
After the second world war Chicago’s South Side helped change jazz. In the 1950s, Sun Ra organized a jazz collective to promote performances and recordings of his Solar Arkestra. In 1961, a group of younger musicians developed the idea of a musician-operated performance organization by forming what they called the Experimental Band. Reorganizing themselves into the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), it included such musicians as Anthony Braxton, Malachi Favors, Joseph Jarman, Roscoe Mitchell, Leroy Jenkins and Don Moye.