Freddie Keppard (sometimes rendered as Freddy Keppard) (February 27, 1889 – July 15, 1933) was an early jazz cornetist who once held the title of “King” in the New Orleans jazz scene. This title was previously held by Buddy Bolden and succeeded by Joe Oliver.
After playing with the Olympia Orchestra, Freddie Keppard joined Frankie Dusen’s Eagle Band, taking the place recently vacated by Buddy Bolden. Soon after Bolden was off the music scene, Keppard was proclaimed “King Keppard” as the city’s top horn player (see: jazz royalty). This was mostly because he kept Buddy’s style, which was popular but had not been recorded. Indeed, many contemporaries have testified that Keppard’s playing style was the closest to Bolden’s that can be found in the history of jazz recordings and can be considered a more musical and sophisticated extension of Bolden’s style: rugged and forceful, clipped and more staccato, and rhythmically closer to ragtime than later New Orleans jazz.
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