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Joe 'King' Oliver
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Musician
    (December 19, 1881-April 10, 1938)
    Born in Aben, Louisiana
    Cornetist, trumpeter, and bandleader
    Wrote and recorded the songs ‘Dippermouth Blues,’ ‘Snake Rag,' ‘Sweet Like This,’ ‘Canal Street Blues,’ ‘Sugarfoot Stomp,’ ‘Camp Meeting Blues,’ ‘West End Blues,’ and ‘Doctor Jazz’
    He got his start playing in New Orleans’ red light district, Storyville.
    He lost a chance for a high-profile engagement at New York’s Cotton Club when he held out for more money; Duke Ellington took the job and quickly became famous.
    His fondness for sugar sandwiches resulted in tooth and gum disease, until his dental problems made it impossible for him to play the trumpet.
    He ended up stranded in Savannah, where he pawned his trumpet and his suits, and went to work as a janitor in a pool room.
    He was a pioneer in using mutes with the trumpet.
    Several of his compositions became jazz standards.
    He lost his life savings in a bank collapse during the Great Depression.
    He served as a mentor to Louis Armstrong.
    Armstrong wrote, ‘It was my ambition to play as he did. I still think that if it had not been for Joe Oliver, jazz would not be what it is today.’

Credit: C. Fishel


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