JAZZ Genre

Important people to check out, and subgenres:


Bessie Smith ( the Empress of Blues) - known as the leading female blues singer of the 1920 Jazz Age. 

To the left is an early appearance of Bessie singing the St. Louis Blues- one of the most famous blues songs there is - covered by many Jazz musicians throughout the years.

Below is a song more typically referred to when considering Bessie's Style of soul singing.


Duke Ellington - a band leader that worked primarily in Washington D.C. bringing jazz music to a head in that area, as well as into New York and the East Coast scene.



Louis Armstrong (the King of Jazz) - Kicked off blues and jazz in general in the 20's although his career lasted his whole life and he had much acclaim as well in the 30's and 40's. 

The following is a live recording from 1933, but is still one of the first footage of Louis and his band playing. It introduces Louis' influence on skat ( jazz vocal improvisation that makes the voice sound like an instrument).

Jelly Roll Mortonband leader and innovator of the genre out of New Orleans 

For more information about Jazz in the 1920's Check out:






The era of parlor songs - sheet music that they would buy and play from musicals and other popular artists that made early recordings.

Some of the top Parlor song records of the 1920's are listed at the following site:


George and Ira Gershwin - wrote many ballads and broadway musical numbers as well as broke off into the concert world with his introduction of JAZZ to "serious" music in the symphony with George's  Rhapsody in Blue.

Irving Berlin - early broadway writer and concert music writer.

Cole Porter - band leader and influential writer and composer for broadway and Jazz.

Many female singers made records of this genre of early parlor songs - singing similar songs to their black counterparts - but with a decidedly more "controlled" air. Some of them included:

Helen Morgan - see example of her singing a Gershwin tune to the left

Marion Harris - singing a jazz standard, notice the vast difference between her and Bessie Smith's version, from above in the Jazz section.

Annette Hanshaw - "The Personality Girl" made many Jazz favorites popular. Her sound is what many would characterize as the sound of the 20's.

Some interesting facts can be found at:


Also check out the 1930's on that page for information about broadway and that era.


Opening of the Grand Ole' Opry it had a big effect on folk music and making it more widely known than just the south - where it was the primary music.

Vernon Dalhart - Known for his hit during that time "The prisoner song"

The Carter Family - One of the country's first families of Country music. Would later start a series of family musicians. Got there start in the 20's lasted well into the 30's and 40's.

See the video below from a Grand Ole' Opry appearance

Jimmie Rogers - One of the biggest stars of the 20's with the most hits and appearances on the screen. A prime example of early country music, that was folk induced.


For more information on folk music in the 1920's see: