Charles "Buddy" Bolden

Buddy Bolden
Only photograph of Buddy Bolden taken in approximately 1905.

Public Domain

Quick Facts

Charles "Buddy" Bolden’s career dates to perhaps the very earliest formative years of jazz. Many consider this native New Orleanian to have been the first actual "jazzman." His bands performed around the turn of the century at historic Lincoln Park as well as at other places around town such as Funky Butt Hall and Odd Fellows Hall. Active during the time of Jim Crow, Bolden personifies the movement of black musical activity into the Uptown regions of the city during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. He led his own band until he was disabled by mental illness in 1907, after which he remained hospitalized for the rest of his life.

New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park

Last updated: September 24, 2019