The year 1917 was monumental in jazz history, but not just because it was the year of the first official jazz recording. Some of the most famous names in jazz were born that same year. These musicians would stand on the shoulders of their predecessors, helping to make jazz the most significant American cultural movement of the century. To celebrate their centennials, Pepper is featuring a few of the most iconic songs from these jazz legends.
Jazz is widely considered the first purely American musical art form, and with good reason. Nothing epitomizes the nature of our nation quite as well. Jazz is a mixture of the many cultures that resided in the United States at the turn of the 20th century.
In the simplest sense, buildings are just four walls and a roof meant to house people and objects. It is what you put inside that makes all the difference. Over time, J.W. Pepper & Son has moved in and out of many different buildings, depending on the needs of the company and its customers. No matter where Pepper employees are found, though, our dedication to service has always remained constant wherever we called home.
The American centennial was an exciting time for the nation. Cities and towns bustled with new industry and a brighter outlook replaced the bleak days that followed the Civil War. The country was looking for new pastimes, and one of the most popular was community bands. American patriotic music was experiencing a revival, with band leaders like John Philip Sousa rising to prominence.
Among the many great names in musical theater, English operetta masters William S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan were two of the earliest to gain global acclaim. Starting in 1871, the two collaborated on fourteen comedic operas, many of which are still widely performed around the world.
You won’t see a lot of Pepper instruments out in the world these days. All told, the company only manufactured instruments for less than 30 years. During that time, however, Pepper led the way in innovation, creating new accessories, perfecting techniques, and even inventing a new instrument.
The 88th Academy Awards ceremony was held on Sunday, February 28th in the same splendor as it always is. This year, much was made of the Best Actor category, with Leonardo DiCaprio winning his first Oscar after five previous nominations and nearly thirty years on the big screen. Amid the controversy that surrounded this year’s awards, most agreed that this award was well deserved.
On the field, in the stands, or on the street, the Sousaphone is one of the most recognizable instruments in the world. Now a staple of show bands and parades, the instrument had its start in the late 1800s as a piece in John Philip Sousa’s Peerless Concert Band. As the name suggests, Sousa himself conceived the instrument, but the identity of the original manufacturer of the Sousaphone was disputed between C.G. Conn and J.W. Pepper.
Music is widely seen as a window into the spirit of the time it was written. Patriotic music is a prime example of this. The experience of a nation is told through patriotic music in a way that other forms of music often miss. Whether it be the pride of victory or a vocal expression of the beauty a nation possesses, there is something about patriotic music that speaks directly to national identity.
Launched in 2002 by the National Museum of American History, a division of the Smithsonian Institute, Jazz Appreciation Month celebrates the first all-American art form. Jazz descended from a mix of cultural styles brought over through the slave trade.