In New Orleans, Jazz began its history around 1895 with the cornetist Buddy Bolden, whom Adrian Troy called Jazz’s first great exponent. Bolden was depicted by Michael Ondaatje in his 1976 novella Coming through Slaughter as a jazz pioneer, struggling with alcoholic psychosis. Writing in The Times in 1992, Clive Davis also named Bolden the first legendary New Orleans jazz figure – legendary in that unlikely tales surround his mythical status, such as that ‘on certain nights, his playing could be heard miles away.’ Unfortunately, no recordings of Bolden are known to exist and despite the allure of rumored cylinder recordings dating to 1894 we only have the likes of Ondaatje’s novella to evoke the sound of one of the world’s first Jazz icons.
Vive La Baker
The International Herald Tribune, the latest periodical to be digitised for Gale Primary Sources, was the quintessential American newspaper – published in Paris. It was founded in 1887 by James Gordon Bennett Jr., who had left America for Paris under a cloud after he socially disgraced himself. (The story goes he ruined a party at his then-fiancée’s house in New York by relieving himself in the fireplace.) He consoled himself for the loss of his fiancée with both his wealth and Paris, where he established the European edition of the New York Herald. It was the paper for jet-setters and wealthy American visitors to Europe, catering to the transatlantic elite of Gilded Age Paris – it was the paper of the most romantic city in the world. From its inception, it focused on entertainment, sport, celebrity and international news. It helped shape the identities of American expats, catered to GIs who stayed on after WWII, and cultivated an image of glamour and luxury: it provided an all-American edit of French chic.