Although no one knows when jazz music was "invented," a good starting point is when cornetist Buddy Bolden formed his first band in 1895. The first important name in jazz history, Bolden's career has long been buried in legend, but Donald Marquis' definitive book, In Search of Buddy Bolden, successfully pieced together a factual and coherent biography. Bolden left school in 1890, learned cornet, and originally played dance music. Because he never recorded (a legendary 1898 cylinder has never been found), one can only guess how Bolden sounded, but according to reports he was very blues-oriented. He was the most popular musician in New Orleans by 1900, and an influence on later cornetists, but by 1906 he was slowly going insane. The following year, Bolden was committed to Jackson Mental Institute where he remained completely forgotten for his final 24 years.
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