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A Trumpet around the Corner - The Story of New Orleans Jazz

A Trumpet around the Corner

The Story of New Orleans Jazz

By Samuel Charters
Series: American Made Music Series

Paperback : 9781496849540, 394 pages, January 2024

From the first raucous chorus to the aftermath of Katrina, the saga of the Big Easy's signature music


Samuel Charters has been studying and writing about New Orleans music for more than fifty years. A Trumpet around the Corner: The Story of New Orleans Jazz is the first book to tell the entire story of a century of jazz in New Orleans. Although there is still controversy over the racial origins and cultural sources of New Orleans jazz, Charters provides a balanced assessment of the role played by all three of the city's musical lineages--African American, white, and Creole--in jazz's formative years. Charters also maps the inroads blazed by the city's Italian immigrant musicians, who left their own imprint on the emerging styles.

The study is based on the author's own interviews, begun in the 1950s, on the extensive material gathered by the Oral History Project in New Orleans, on the recent scholarship of a new generation of writers, and on an exhaustive examination of related newspaper files from the jazz era. The book extends the study area of his earlier book Jazz: New Orleans, 1885-1957, and breaks new ground with its in-depth discussion of the earliest New Orleans recordings. A Trumpet around the Corner for the first time brings the story up to the present, describing the worldwide interest in the New Orleans jazz revival of the 1950s and 1960s, and the exciting resurgence of the brass bands of the last decades. The book discusses the renewed concern over New Orleans's musical heritage, which is at great risk after the catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina's floodwaters.


"What Samuel Charters offers is a valentine to his first musical love and a fresh perspective on the pioneers and their progeny who helped define the Big Easy's signature music. As arguably the foremost and most prolific scholar of blues and African American vernacular music, with a career as an author and record producer spanning fifty years, Charters has undeniably brought an epic sweep and unique command to this narrative."

- Joshua Berrett, Journal of Southern History

"[Charters] skillfully traces the history of this music from its beginnings in the late nineteenth century. . . . A Trumpet around the Corner sheds new light on the development of New Orleans jazz and is a pleasure to read."

- Charles Hersch, The Journal of American History

"In A Trumpet around the Corner: The Story of New Orleans Jazz, Samuel Charters returns to his first musical love with an expanded perspective, offering valuable insights on the stylistic development of New Orleans jazz pioneers (white and black) by a close analysis of extant recordings, placed in historical context. This is one of the very few studies that treats New Orleans jazz in the 1920s, an often overlooked time when the music continued to grow in its home environment."

- Bruce Boyd Raeburn, Curator, Hogan Jazz Archive, Tulane University

"A lifetime of work, thought, and enjoyment goes into anything Samuel Charters writes about jazz or New Orleans, and that personal history shines through A Trumpet around the Corner. . . . [B]oth specialists and general readers will find much of interest in Charters's story of New Orleans jazz."

- Spencer Downing, Louisiana History