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Buddy Bolden and a 1905 Cadillac

22" x 26.75"

Buddy Bolden (1877-1931), regarded as the first Jazz horn player, achieved his popularity in the years 1897 to 1907 in the city of New Orleans. Buddy played cornet with exceptional power, Louis Armstrong referred to him as the "blowin'est man since Gabriel". Remarkably loud and compelling, "King" Bolden played with his popular band for parties, dances, and outdoor festivities. His reputation lingered for decades, despite the fact that he may never have recorded his music (no Jazz cylinder has been found), and that his later mental problems led to life in an institution from the age of 30 (1907) until his death at 54.

The 1905 Cadillac featured in this painting, a Model F 5-passenger touring car, is owned by John Jones in Connecticut. Buddy never owned an automobile; in my narrative he playfully poses alongside the car while his band mates are amused. Young Louis Armstrong gazes at the cornet Buddy holds in his hand. Posters advertising the King Bolden Band appear on the delivery wagon in the background.


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