A Non-Profit Organization Dedicated to the Performance, Promotion and Preservation of Traditional Jazz

Traditional Jazz Yesterday & Today

Enjoy some music from legacy Trad Jazz musicians below, plus some contemporary artists we (and our guest musicians) admire.

Traditional Jazz began in New Orleans at the start of the 20th Century. The name came from The Original Dixieland Jass Band. "Jass" was changed to "Jazz" around 1917.

Original Dixieland Jazz Band

Trad Jazz had a revival after the Swing and Beebop era of the 1940's, although it is said to span the 1930's through the 1950's in the U.S. and Europe.

The New Orleans style of Trad Jazz had its resurgence with tuba providing a strong base note and a marching band style. A trumpet played the melody while other instruments improvised together and in solos.

Muggsy Spanier

The Chicago resurgence replaced the tuba with a string bass plus other stringed instruments, like banjo and guitar, in a strong, fast-paced, two-beat rhythm with improvisational solos.

Chicago-style musicians were Jimmy McPartland, Eddie Condon, Mugsy Spanier, Bud Freeman, PeeWee Russell and Bobby Hackett.

Cole Porter, George Gergshwin, Jerome Kern and Irving Berlin also played elements of Trad Jazz in Chicago-style, sometimes called "Nicksieland" after Nick's Greenwich Village Nightclub where the music was popular.

The West Coast revival began in the 1930's with Lu Watters and his Yerba Buena Jazz Band. West Coast bands used both banjo and tuba, plus brass horns and a washboard with improvisation and solos blasting two-to-the-bar tempos.

Trombonist Turk Murphy broke Trad Jazz barriers, veering away from the Nicksieland Swing style of Chicago Trad Jazz and reviving the sounds of Joe "King" Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong and W.C. Handy, who is celebrated in this documentary.. Turk Murphy also recorded some sessions for PBS Sesame Street segments. (See video list below.)

Around the same time, a Trad Jazz revival took place in the Low Countries (coastal areas ) of The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, notably with the Dutch Swing College Band, who focused on Ragtime and New Orleans-Style Trad Jazz. These bands are larger than most Trad Jazz bands with as many as fifteen musicians, among the largest bands playing Trad Jazz today.

Noted Trad Jazz Festivals:

Bix Beiderbecke and his Band

Traditional Jazz publications:

The term "Dixieland" is not used by many contemporary Trad Jazz musicians due to its association with racist Jim Crow laws in the South. "Trad Jazz" is the preferred term.

Enjoy some music from YouTube by clicking on names in this partial list of Trad Jazz greats.

Kings of Trad Jazz:

Queens of Trad Jazz:

Contemporary Trad Jazz performers: