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Freddie Keppard (1889-1933)

Freddie Keppard (1889-1933)Freddie Keppard (2-27-1890 to 12-21-1933) was an important musician who succeeded Buddy Bolden as “king” of the cornet players in New Orleans. He started playing around 1906, leading the Olympia Orchestra and playing in marching bands, funerals and Storyville clubs.

He also played with Bill Johnson who asked him to round up a group of musicians and come to Los Angeles with the promise of work. This band became known as the Original Creole Orchestra and from 1914 to 1918 it toured the country in vaudeville shows, giving northern audiences their first taste of authentic New Orleans Jazz.

Freddie Keppard
Freddie Keppard

Like so many New Orleans musicians, he settled in Chicago in the early 1920’s. He worked with several bands in the city including, Doc Cook’s Dreamland OrchestraErskine Tate, Ollie Powers and with Charles Elgar Creole Orchestra at the Savoy Ballroom. By the time Jazz became widely recorded Freddie’s better days were behind him, but his wild and ragged style is well represented by the song “Stock Yard Strut” that he recorded with his Jazz Cardinals in 1926.

Keppard was an alcoholic, and became an unreliable band member. He continued to work up until 1928, when he came down with tuberculosis. He suffered with the disease until it took his life in 1933.

Freddie Keppard (1889-1933)

Freddie Keppard and his Jazz Cardinals Freddie Keppard’s Original Creole Orchestra

Freddie Keppard (1889-1933)

Pioneers of Jazz: The Story of the Creole Band by Lawrence Gushee, Oxford University Press, 2005 was a pioneering website during the "Information wants to be Free" era of the 1990s. In that spirit we are recovering the lost data from the now defunct site and sharing it with you.
Most of the music in the archive is in the form of MP3s hosted on or the French servers of where this music is all in the public domain.
Files unavailable from those sources we host ourselves. They were made from original 78 RPM records in the hands of private collectors in the 1990s who contributed to the original They were hosted as .ra files originally and we have converted them into the more modern MP3 format. They are of inferior quality to what is available commercially and are intended for reference purposes only. In some cases a Real Audio (.ra) file from will download. Don't be scared! Those files will play in many music programs, but not Windows Media Player.

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