UPDATED July 29, 2010

CDs that are recommended by our panel of experts are now marked with an

Below are many of the early musicians and groups that Jazz Roots feels are important.

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You will notice our new image buttons below each artist. They can be clicked to see what is available by that musician from Amazon (cds & mp3s).

Oscar Aleman

South American guitarist
who was a contemporary of Django Reinhardt.

Henry "Red" Allen Jr.

Fine early trumpeter
in the style
of Louis Armstrong
- Algiers, Louisiana born

Excellent Bio with sound clip

Albert Ammons

Boogie Woogie pianist

Boogie Woogie Trio CD

Ivie Anderson

Duke Ellington's
favorite vocalist.

Lil Hardin-Armstrong

Louis Armstrong's second wife
and the pianist
with King Oliver
- great singer too!

Bio with picture



Louis Armstrong

The King of Jazz

Biography in print

Hot Fives & Hot Sevens Boxed Set

Sheet Music Available


Bio and Bibliography

In Chicago

Mildred Bailey

A ground-breaking vocalist who toured with husband Red Norvo early on.

Bio with picture

Paul Barbarin

New Orleans born drummer, great work both early and late in his career.

Books in Print

Bio with picture

Blue Lu Barker

New Orleans born blues singer and wife of Danny Barker.

Count Basie

The man who led the band that swung the hardest.


Basie Jam CD

Sidney Bechet

Great New Orleans born reed man who later settled in France.

Biography in print

Sheet Music Available

Short Bio and Picture

Bix Beiderbecke

Great early trumpeter who lived too short a life.

Video Tape

Nice Bio


Bio with picture

Bunny Berigan

Many great singers and musicians played with Bunny Berigan & His Orchestra .

CDss in Print

Bio with picture

Barney Bigard

Brilliant New Orleans born clarinetist who spent much time with Duke Ellington.

Bio with picture

Eubie Blake

Long-lived pianist and composer.

Sharkey Bonano

New Orleans born trumpeter, similar to Louis Prima

Connie Boswell

Influential vocalist who was a member of the Boswell Sisters.

Boswell Sisters

Ground-breaking vocalists who influenced Andrews Sisters.

Perry Bradford

Composer, musician and music publisher who changed the world of blues.

Jazz Roots Feature

Bio with picture

Cab Calloway

The Hi-De-Ho man with the zoot suit who brought a whole new style of singing.

Video Tape

Sheet Music Available

Jazz Roots Profile

Official Cab Calloway Family

Wonderful Site run by his Grandson!

Hoagy Carmichael

The first successful singer / songwriter.

Biography in print

Benny Carter

Very influential sideman and sometime leader.

Biography in print

Sheet Music Available

Jazz Roots Profile

Home Page

Oscar "Papa" Celestin

Trumpeter and leader of great New Orleans bands.

Bill Coleman

Great early recordings with Django Reinhardt

Eddie Condon

Guitarist who led some great Dixieland bands.

Bio with Picture

Wilbur DeParis

A trombone player and band leader, especially known for mixing New Orleans jazz with Swing.

Baby Dodds

Great early New Orleans drummer who rarely recorded as a bandleader.

Short Bio and Picture

Johnny Dodds

One of the great early clarinetists out of New Orleans.

Books in Print

Bio & Discography

Short Bio and Picture

Jimmy Dorsey

The Dorsey Brothers were a part of Jazz for many years.

Biography in print

Sheet Music Available

Bio and Picture

Tommy Dorsey

Great early sides of Sinatra are with Tommy Dorsey.

Biography in print

Sheet Music Available

Roy Eldridge

The second generation of Jazz trumpeters.

Duke Ellington

He taught the world to swing

Autobiography in print

Sheet Music Available

Official Site

Duke Ellington Jazz Society



James Reese Europe

The Father of Orchestra Jazz.

Biography in print

CD in Print

Jazz Roots Profile

Ella Fitzgerald

One of the greatest Jazz vocalists.

Jean Goldkette

An important early bandleader while based in New York

Benny Goodman

He was the favorite clarinetist and band leader of many swing fans.

Biography in print

Sheet Music Available

Jazz Roots Profile

Chicago Roots

Bobby Hackett

Trumpeter who followed Bix Beiderbecke

Good Bio and Picture

Adelaide Hall

Fine vocalist, sometimes with Duke Ellington.

Edmond Hall

HIs Blue Note sides are amazing.

CDs in Print

Lionel Hampton

Great on the vibes but have you heard him play the drums.

Biography In Print

W.C Handy

The Father of the Blues and so much more.

W.C. Handy

Sheet Music Available

Jazz Roots Profile

Handy Festival

Coleman Hawkins
The first important and influential jazz tenor saxophonist.

Biography In Print

Jazz Roots Profile

Fletcher Henderson

The New York Jazz bandleader who had so many greats in his orchestra.

Jazz Roots Profile

Short Bio and Picture

Earl Hines

Fine Jazz pianist.

Short Bio and Picture

Chicago Roots

Milt Hinton

The great bassist and photographer called "The Judge."

Autobiography In Print

Billie Holiday

She brought the blues to jazz, like no one else.

Autobiography In Print

Sheet Music Available

Lady Day Home Page

Alberta Hunter

The older she got the more sassy she became.

Bio with picture

Ink Spots

Their thirties material is the best.

CDs in Print

Harry James

One of the most outstanding instrumentalists of the swing era.

Sheet Music Available

Bunk Johnson

One of the old style trumpeters from back in the beginning, rediscovered in the forties.

Homepage with Extensive Info.

Short Bio and Picture

James P Johnson

The Father of Stride piano

Discography in Print

Jazz Roots Profile

Lonnie Johnson

An American original on the guitar.

CDs in Print

The Original Guitar Wizard

Bio with picture

Pete Johnson

A Boogie Woogie Master

Freddie Keppard

One of the original "Kings" of the cornet.

Short Bio and Picture

John Kirby

A fine bassist with many top bands and under his own name.

Andy Kirk

Great big band which featured a young Mary Lou Williams.

Autobiography in Print

Billy Kyle

One of Louis Armstrong's favorite pianists.

Eddie Lang

Timeless jazz guitar playing that influenced so many.

Short Bio and Picture

Julia Lee

The Queen of the Double Entendre

George Lewis

Post-revival clarinetist who traveled extensively

Short Bio and Picture

Jimmie Lunceford

Swingin' bandleader from the late Thirties and Forties

Wingy Manone

Best one-armed trumpeter in Jazz!

Bio with picture

Red McKenzie

He played the comb but oh, what a band.

Short Bio and Picture

Mezz Mezzrow

Better writer than clarinetist, read his book.

Short Bio and Picture

Miff Mole

Important early trombonist.

Solo Booklet

Short Bio and Picture

Mills Brothers

The early stuff is great!

Jelly Roll Morton

Pianist, composer, director, he could do it all, very well.

Sheet Music Available

Extensive Profile

Short Bio and Picture

Bennie Moten

Kansas City band that became Count Basies'.

Jazz Roots Profile

Red Nichols

A Jazz Roots favorite.

Book in Print

Short Bio and Picture

Jimmy Noone

Great influence on Benny Goodman.

Short Bio and Picture

Joe "King" Oliver

He was King before Louis Armstrong.

Louisiana Masters of Music

Kid Ory

The epitome of Tailgate Trombonists.

Books in Print

Short Bio and Picture

Tiny Parham

Little known pianist and composer.

CDs in Print

Bio with picture

Ben Pollack

Important early bandleader.

CDs in Print

Bio with picture

Louis Prima

Talented New Orleans trumpeter, vocalist and bandleader.

Don Redman

Talenter arranger and bandleader, also interesting vocalist.

Jazz Roots Profile

Adrian Rollini

Yes, he did play the goofus and the hot fountain pen.

Bio with picture

Jimmy Rushing

Mister 5 X 5.

Pee Wee Russell

Dixieland clarinetist.

Bio with picture

Luis Russell

Important band leader out of New Orleans via Panama

Bio with picture

Bessie Smith

One of the greatest blues singers.

Biography in Print

Sheet Music Available

Jabbo Smith

Was he is as good as Louis? He thought he was.

Bio with picture

Willie "The Lion" Smith

A great pianist.

Bio with picture

Stuff Smith

He could make that violin swing.

CDs in Print

Art Tatum

Fabulous pianist, who impressed everyone with his style.

Jack Teagarden

A great trombonist and singer.

Short Bio and Picture

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Guitar playing and singing Soul sister.

Frank Trumbauer

C-Melody Sax man.

Short Bio and Picture

Joe Venuti

His sides with Eddie Lang are ground-breaking.

Short Bio and Picture

Fats Waller

There was only one Fats Waller, a personal favorite.

Sheet Music Available

Jazz Roots Profile

Paul Whiteman

Led a band full of great players

Nice Bio

Clarence Williams

Publisher, pianist, manager, bandleader; he did it all.

Books in Print

Jazz Roots Profile

Masters of Louisiana Music

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