The story of Charles “Buddy” Bolden — also known as King Bolden — is the story of jazz itself at its very beginnings. A trumpet player in New Orleans in the first few years of the 20th Century, Bolden influenced the first generation of jazzmen. We have no recordings of Bolden, but the great Jelly Roll Morton called him “the most powerful trumpet player I’ve ever heard, or ever was known.” This tune was Bolden’s only known piece of original music, which he called “Funky Butt.” Jelly Roll later recorded it with the opening line, “I thought I heard Buddy Bolden say,” and it’s come down to us as “Buddy Bolden’s Blues. ” Jelly Roll was the only person recording the tune who’d actually heard Buddy play it. The Flood learned its version of the song from a 1961 Folkways recording by bluesmen Rolf Cahn and Eric von Schmidt.
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