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Wilbur SweatmanThese records by Wilbur Sweatman were made only about a month after the Original Dixieland Jass Band made what is generally considered to be the first Jazz record on February 26, 1917. As several of the titles of Sweatman’s songs suggest the music is closer stylistically to Ragtime than Jazz, but Sweatman seems to be improvising a bit on his clarinet particularly on “A Bag Of Rags” and “Joe Turner Blues“. Wilbur Sweatman would go on to record quite a few records for the Columbia label from 1918 to 1920 which are quite a bit Jazzier, but some people consider these recordings to be the first African-American Jazz records.

Thanks to Jeff Lichtman of Swazoo Koolak’s Web Jukebox for his help with the music on this page.


TitleRecording DateRecording LocationCompany
A Bag Of Rags
(W.R McKanlass)
4-1917New York, New YorkPathé
B 20167
Boogie Rag
(Wilbur Sweatman)
4-1917New York, New YorkPathé
B 20147
Dance And Grow Thin
(George W. Meyer)
4-1917New York, New YorkPathé
A 20147
Dancing An American Rag
(Bob Ward)
4-1917New York, New YorkPathé
B 20145
I Wonder Why
From “Love O’ Mike”

(Jerome Kern)
4-1917New York, New YorkPathé
A 20145
Joe Turner Blues
(W.C. Handy)
4-1917New York, New YorkPathé
A 20167

Piccolo JonesAlto Saxophone
Henry MintonTenor Saxophone
Wilbur SweatmanClarinet, Leader
Charlie ThorpesBaritone Saxophone
Vess WilliamsAlto Saxophone
Frank WithersBass Saxophone


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