Thomas Dartmouth Rice
(May 20, 1808 – September 19, 1860) was a white performer and playwright who used African American vernacular speech, song, and dance to become one of the most popular minstrel show entertainers of his time. Song “Jim Crow” became the first international American song hit. Genre: Minstrel Show

Texas Gladden

(1895-1967) was an American folk singer born in Saltville, Virginia. She was best known for her traditional Appalachian ballad style of singing, which she began to record in the 1930s. Genre Folk.
Stephen Foster
(1826-64) Composed around 200 songs during the 1840s, 50’s and early 60’s, and is regarded as the first important composer of American popular song. First person to make his living as a fulltime professional songwriter, writing such songs as “Oh! Susanna” and “Old Folks at Home.”
John Philip Sousa
(1854-1932) Popularly known as America’s “March King.” Became a conductor and later formed a “commercial” concert band that toured through america and europe. This band was argueably the first “supergroup.” Wrote songs such as “El Capitan,” “the washington post,” and “the stars and stripes forever”
Charles K. Harris
(1867-1930) Published “after the ball,” the first “mega-hit” pop song, eventually seeling over five million copies in sheet music. Self taugh banjo player from wisconsin who could not write down music. Genre: Tin Pan Alley.
Scott Joplin
Born 1868. Best-known composer of ragtime music. First succesful piece was “maple leaf rag,” named after the maple leaf social club in sedalia, where he often played. Used syncopated rythems in his music. Genre: Ragtime.
Vernon ; Irene Castle
Argueably the biggest media superstars of the years around World War 1. Attracted millions of middle-class americans into ballroom classes, expanded the sylistic range of popular dance, and established an image of mastery, charisma and romance that later bore ruit in the work of dance teams.
James Reese Europe
(1880-1919)nMusical Director for the Castles. Learned violin and muisc theory with the assistant director of the U.S. Marine Crops Band. Accomplished pianist and conductor, playing ragtime piano in cabarets. Genre: Ragtime.
Don Azpiazu

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(11 February 1893 – 20 January 1943) was a leading Cuban orchestral director in the 1920s and 30s.[1] His band introduced authentic Cuban dance music and Cuban musical instruments to a wide audience in the USA. Genre: Cuban Jazz.


Original Dixieland Jazz Band
First recording with the designation “jass” was made in 1917 featuring a white group from New Orleans. The leader Nick LaRocca, had started playing “hot music” as a teenager. Recorded “Tiger Rag,” there most popular recording serving as our introduction to basic jazz as well as “Livery Stable Blues” and “Dixieland Jass Band One-Step.” Genre: Jazz.
Nobel Sissle ; Eubie Blake
Nobel (1899-1975) Eubie (1883-1983) began career with James Reese Europe’s orchestra. Sissle launched first all black musical, shuffle along. One of the first shows to portray romantic relationships between black characters without resorting to degrading stereotypes. Genre: Jazz.
Paul Whiteman
(1890-1967) Led the most successful dance band of the 1920s, the Ambassador Orchestra. Assumed himself the “King of Jazz” and promoted a watered-down, “safe” verson of jazz to the public. Racial remarks saying that african american music needed uplfiting by white musicians. “Whispering” was his first of many hit records between 1920 and 1934. Genre: Jazz.
Thomas Edison
Invented the Phonograph. These machines transformed the energy of sound waves into physical impressions on a foil or wax coated cylinder, which could then be used to reproduce the original sounds
Al Jolson
(May 26, 1886 – October 23, 1950) was an American singer, comedian and actor. In his heyday, he was dubbed “The World’s Greatest Entertainer”. In the 1930s, he was America’s most famous and highest paid entertainer. Genre: Tin Pan Alley.
Gene Austin
(June 24, 1900 – January 24, 1972) was an American singer and songwriter, one of the first “crooners”. His 1920s compositions “When My Sugar Walks Down the Street” and “The Lonesome Road” became pop and jazz standards. Genre: Tin Pan Alley.
Irving Berlin
(1888-1989) Recognized as the most productive, varied, and creative of the Tin Pan Alley Song writers. Often composed 3 to 7 songs a week. Famous songs include “alexanders’s ragtime band,” “blue skies,” “cheek to cheek,” and “god bless america.”Genre: Tin Pan Alley.
Bing Crosby
(May 3, 1903 – October 14, 1977)[3] was an American singer and actor. Crosby’s trademark bass-baritone voice made him one of the best-selling recording artists of the 20th century, with over half a billion records in circulation. Genre: Tin Pan Alley.
Ethel Merman
First introduced “I Got Rhythm” in the stage show Girl Crazy in 1930 and became an instant sensation. Continued to sense a market for this popular song as late as 1947. Genre: Tin Pan Alley.
Ralph Peer
(1882-1960) First applied the promotional catchphrase “race music”. Worked as an assistent to Mamie Smith in her first recording sessions. Race music not a bad term but was used in a positive sense in urban black communities.
Mamie Smith
(1883-1946) Music industry’s discovery of nlack music can be traced to a recordings in 1920 featuring Mamie. Recorded “Crazy Blues” and “itls right her for you (if you dont get it… ’tain’t no fault of mine). Genre: Vaudeville performer.
Bessie Smith
(1894-1937) Known as the “Empress of the Blues.” Developed singing styles in rough-and-tuble black vaudeville and tent shows. Recordings sold well among both whites and blackes. signaled emergence of a style of performance more directly and deeply informed by African American musical traditions. Genre: Classic Blues.
Louis Armstrong
(1901-1971) By the 1930s was the best-known black musician in the world. between 1927 and 1939 placed 55 singles in the top 20, including his biggest hit, “all of me.” Genre: Jazz.
W.C. Handy
(1873-1958) Father of the blues. Cofounded the first African American-owned music publishing house ( partner would later go on to found black swan records). Hits included “memphis blues,” st louis blues.” Genre: Blues.
Charley Patton
(1881-1934) One of earliest known pioneers of the Mississippi Delta blues style. Rapped on the body of his gutar throwing it into the air. Had powerful rasping voice, strong danceable rhythms, and broad range of styles. “Tom Rushen Blues.” Genre: Blues.
Blind Lemon Jefferson
(1897-1929) First recording star of the country, although genre appeared in the Mississippi Delta region. Recorded popular ragtime numbers as well as blues and church songs under pseudonym, Reverend L. J. Bates. Recorded “That Black Snake Moan.” Genre: Country Blues.
Robert Johnson
(1911-38) No country blues artist had a greater influence on later generations of blues and rock musicians. Eric clapton covered his song “cross road blues.” Was poisoned and killed by a jealous husband of a women he slept with. Genre: Country Blues.
Fiddlin’ John Carson
Recorded the first commercially succesful hillbilly record. Played fiddle in songs such as “The little Old Log Cabin in the Lane” and “The Old Hen Cackled and the Rooster’s Going to Crow.” Fame was reinforced with the appearence of the radio. Genre: Hillbilly.
Vernon Dalhart
(1883-1948) Started out as a light-opera singer. Recorded 2 songs in 1924: “Wreck of the Old 97” and “the Prisoners song.” The first hillbilly hit. Genre: Hillbilly.
The Carter Family
Regarded as one of the most important groups in the history of country music. Repertoire included adaptions of old folk music traditions, old hymns, and sentimental songs reminiscent of Tin Pan Alley hits. Songs included “wildwood flower,” “wabash cannon ball,” “keep on the sunny side,” and “can the circle be broken.” Genre: Country.
Jimmie Rogers
(1897-1933) Was the most versatile, progressive, and widely influential of all the early country recording artists.; Early country musics biggest recording star. Genre: Country.
Fletcher Henderson
(1898-1952) Hendersons band is widely credited with inspiring the rise of swing. Recorded song “Wrappin it up.” Genre: Swing.
Benny Goodman
(1909-86) Made first records under his own name in 1927. His bands tour in california in 1935 became known as one of the “founding moments” for swing music. Named the “King of Swing.” Genre: Swing.
William “Count” Basie
(1904-84) The band led by Basie was the big band most closely associated with blues tradition. Gained experience in Kansas City, Missouri where a crooked mayor encourage a illegal nightclub scene. Recorded song “one o’clock jump.” Genre: Big Band Blues.
Duke Ellington
(1899-1974) Widely regarded as one of the most important American musicians of the twentieth century. Recorded the song “ko-ko” and “I let a Song Go Out of My Hear.” Genre: Big Band Blues.
Glenn Miller
(1904-44) From 1939 to 1942 the Miller Orchestra was the most popular dance band in the world. His popularity was boosted by live radio broadcasts from hotels and dance halls. Genre: Big Band Blues.