[Portrait of Wesley Prince, Oscar Moore, and Nat King Cole, Zanzibar, New York, N.Y., ca. July 1946]
New Orleans is credited with being the birthplace of jazz, the “Windy City” Chicago - with further spreading it throughout America, but it was New York that was responsible for making it a worldwide recognized genre. By 1930, New York had replaced Chicago as the jazz capital of the world. Those who aspired to jazz stardom had to prove their mettle in Manhattan. Count Basie’s orchestra set up a new home base at the Woodside Hotel in Queens in 1937 and played at the Roseland Ballroom, Savoy Ballroom, and Apollo Theater. Saxophonist Charlie Parker also relocated to Gotham and was playing at Three Deuces in Manhattan. In the 1940s, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie began experimenting with melodic and harmonic dissonance as well as rhythmic alterations. Harlem became the scene for these musicians. By 1941, Parker, Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Christian and Kenny Clarke were jamming there regularly with their experimental music that is known as bebop. In 1945, a young Miles Davis moved to New York and became intrigued with Parker. Soon he would work his way into Parker's quintet. By the end of the 1940s, bebop was the most popular style among young jazz musicians. By the early 1950s, it had mutated into new styles such as hard bop, cool jazz, and cuban jazz.