Growing up listening to the music of Scott Joplin, James P. Johnson was one of the stride piano style originators. His music used most of the conventions of ragtime and contained improvisation and elements of the blues, which are the two aspects widely influential in the development of jazz music. The music of Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, and Thelonious Monk is due in large part to James P. Johnson’s innovations.
Bechet began as a clarinet player but developed skill on various instruments. He is most famous for playing lyrical melodies with a voice-like wide vibrato on the soprano sax. He is considered to be the first great jazz saxophonist and was the main influence on later stars like Johnny Hodges.
Armstrong is thought to have changed the face of jazz with his unique lyrical approach to the trumpet, shifted the focus of jazz from collective improvisation to personal expression by soloing. He also had a knack for scat singing with a distinctive voice . Throughout his career, Armstrong always had the ability to appeal to a wide audience. Due to his celebrity and lovable persona, the U.S. State Department selected him to be the musical ambassador of the country.
- Frankie Trumbauer (1901-1956)
Trumbauer, an alto and C melody saxophone player, is most famous for his co-operation with Bix Beiderbecke. Trumbauer’s sound was refined and clear, and his thoughtful improvisations inspired later well-known saxophonists, especially Lester Young.
- Bix Beiderbecke (1903-1931)
Cornetist Bix Beiderbecke is Louis Armstrong’s the only contemporary who could hold a candle to the legendary trumpeter. He constructed elegant solos and had a smooth tone. Although he was one of the leading musicians in New York and Chicago, Beiderbecke lost the ability to overcome personal demons and became dependent on alcohol. He died at the age of 28 after using excessive amounts of toxic prohibition-era liquor.