Bert Kelly's I Invented Jazz

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Wed Aug 31 22:30:10 UTC 2005

Bert Kelly was a San Francisco musician associated with Art Hickman.
It seems that Hickman was the first to apply the word Jazz to music,
and that Kelly brought the word to Chicago in 1915 or so, where it was
taken up by the Original Dixieland Jazz Bnad, which made the first
recordings of a jazz band.

It was reported in 1960 that Kelly had written an autobiography called
I Invented Jazz, which was to be published by Vantage Press, a vanity
publishing company.  You folks will recall a posting or several
postings -- you all do remember every posting made here, don't you? --
regarding this book; they came to the conclusion that it must never
have been published.

It seems that the manuscript of the book was at least recently still in
the hands of Kelly's son, Albert R. Kelly Jr.  It is cited in Lawrence
Gushee, Pioneers of Jazz: The Story of the Creole Band, N. Y., &c:
Oxford U. Pr., 2005, p. 333, fn. 21.  I have what I hope is a current
email address of Prof. Gushee and will try to contact the son.


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much lately.

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