WHAT DID BUDDY BOLDEN SOUND LIKE?
Below, you can find a bouquet of quotes from famous musicians who heard or played with Buddy Bolden.
“Bolden got most of his tunes from the ”Holy Roller Church”, The Baptist church on Jackson Avenue and Franklin. I know he used to go to that church, but not for religion, he went there to get ideas on music. He’d hear these songs and he would change them a little. In those Baptist churches, they sometimes had drums and a piano while the people sang and clapped their hands. Sometimes they would have guests and invite a trumpet player or a trombone player to come over and play with them. What we are doing now is about sixty years behind what happened then. That’s where Buddy got it from and that is how it all started.”
“Bolden was still a great man for the blues – no two questions about that. The closest thing to it was Oliver and he was better than Oliver. He was a great man for what we call “dirt music”.
“When it came to playing sweet music; waltzes, there was nobody in the country could touch him. He played something on the order of Wayne King. He was one of the sweetest trumpet players on waltzes and things like that and on those old slow blues, that boy could make the women jump out the window. On those old, slow, low down blues, he had a moan in his cornet that went all through you, just like you were in church or something.”
Jelly Roll Morton
“The most powerful trumpet in the world.”
John Robichaux talking to Lee Collins
“Bolden played ragtime cornet and was the greatest of all cornet players.”
Pete Bocage, when asked who was the first to play jazz or ragtime:
“Well, I attribute it to Bolden. Bolden was a fellow, he didn’t know a note as big as a house, whatever they played they caught (learned by hearing), or made up. They made their own music and they played it their own way. So that’s the way jazz started. Just his improvisation.”
“Bolden blew the loudest horn in the world.”
George Baquet recalling his first meeting with Buddy Bolden in Odd Fellow Hall:
“Nobody took their hats off. It was plenty rough. You paid fifteen cents and walked in. The band, six of them was sitting on a low stand. They had their hats on and were resting, pretty sleepy. All of a sudden, Buddy stomps, knocks on the floor with his trumpet to give the beat and they all sit up straight. They played ”Make me a pallet”. Everybody rose and yelled out “Oh, Mr. Bolden, play it for us, Buddy play it.” I had never heard something like it before. I had played “legitimate” stuff. But this, it was something that pulled me in. They got me up on the stand and I played with them. After that I didn’t play legitimate so much.”
“Buddy played very good for the style of stuff he was doing. He played nothing but blues and all that stink music, and he played it very loud.”
“King Buddy Bolden was the first man that began playing jazz in the city of New Orleans, and his band had the whole of New Orleans real crazy and running wild behind it.”
And more Bunk Johnson
“Old King Bolden played the music the negro public liked. He could step out right today, play his own style, and be called “hot”. Old Buddy ruled in them days just like Louis Armstrong rules today.”
“He was just a one-man genius that was ahead of them all. . .too good for his time.”
“When we started off playing Buddy Bolden’s theme song, “I thought I heard Buddy Bolden say”, the police put you in jail if they heard you singing that song.”
Buddy Bolden and Robert Charles were both buried on Holt’s Cemetery,
the Potter’s Field of New Orleans
Photos Peter Nissen