was a stop on the road to stardom for many jazz musicians.
In the early 1900s, jazz legends practiced their skills in
nightclubs like The Alcazar and The Piccadilly Club before
going on to greater fame in New York City.
of the famous "Harlem Stride" piano players performed
in Newark. A "Stride" player played with his left
hand continuously to keep the beat. James Johnson of New Brunswick
was among the first of these jazzmen. His most famous work
is "The Charleston." Willie "The
Lion" Smith, Thomas "Fats" Waller, and Donald "The
Lamb" Lambert are among the other famous Newark jazz pianists.
Bank native William “Count” Basie is recognized
as one of the most influential musicians in jazz history. Count
Basie linked jazz to other kinds of music such as swing and
the blues. An accomplished jazz pianist and bandleader, his
most famous songs include One o’clock Jump and Jumpin’ at
the Woodside. The Monmouth Arts Center in Red Bank was
renamed Count Basie Theatre in 1984 to honor this legend.
Gillespie was one of the great showmen in jazz history. Known
for his puffed-out cheeks and upturned horn, the Englewood
resident was one of the most innovative trumpet players in
musicians performed not only in Newark but also in many clubs
throughout the state. Atlantic City was Newark's closest rival
in attracting top quality performers. While not known for its
clubs, Camden was home to the famous Victor Talking Machine
recording studio, where many musicians made their early recordings.
Today, jazz is still an integral part of New Jersey's music