top of page

Jazz History, Music and more

This section is devoted to understanding jazz, its orgins and the key contributions of certain jazz musicians to the genre.  Also we explore how to incorperate improvisation into your playing.  Check out the Jazz composers below.  Listen to their music and read about their life by clicking on their picture.  Also some quick examples will be linked for you to practice different elements of jazz and the blues.

Ragtime & Jazz

Ragtime really isn't jazz since it rarely includes improvisation. However, it was the immediate precursor of jazz. Bands tried to imitate the ragtime style. They added improvisation and, thus, jazz was born.


Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe (September 20, c. 1890 – July 10, 1941), known professionally as Jelly Roll Morton, was an American ragtime and jazz pianist, bandleader, and composer.[1] Morton was jazz's first arranger, proving that a genre rooted in improvisation could retain its essential characteristics when notated.[2] His composition "Jelly Roll Blues", published in 1915, was one of the first published jazz compositions. He also claimed to have invented the genre.

The composers below and there music, are to be explored at your leisure.  Become familiar with their most famous works and a little about their life, so that you are a more well rounded musician and a more knowledgeable person. Click on the composers name to learn more!


Scott Joplin (c. 1868 – April 1, 1917) was an American composer and pianist. Joplin achieved fame for his ragtime compositions and was dubbed the "King of Ragtime".[1] During his brief career, he wrote over 100 original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet, and two operas.


James Price Johnson (February 1, 1894 – November 17, 1955) was an American pianist and composer. A pioneer of stride piano, he was one of the most important pianists in the early era of recording, and like Jelly Roll Morton, one of the key figures in the evolution of ragtime into what was eventually called jazz.

William Henry Joseph Bonaparte Bertholf Smith (November 23, 1893[1] – April 18, 1973), also known as "The Lion", was an American jazz and stride pianist.


If you are learning to improvise check out these 2 videos below. Great for beginners

Jazz Beginner

Blues Beginner

bottom of page