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 Joseph “King” Oliver

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Joseph “King” Oliver

  • Birth 11 May 1885 New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana, USA
  • Death 10 Apr 1938 Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia, USA
  • Burial Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA
  • Plot Salvia Plot, Section 195
  • Memorial ID 779

Jazz Musician. Called "Papa Joe" by the famous Louis Armstrong, he was the mentor to Armstrong who gave a young Louis his first cornet in New Orleans and later called him to Chicago to reocrd and play with his band. He was born on a plantation in Louisiana and blinded in one eye after an accident during childhood. He moved to New Orleans in his teen years and formed the "Creole Jazz Band" in 1915. In 1923 he moved the band to Chicago and recorded "Dippermouth Blues" and "Canal Street Blues". He is creditied with being the first to solo improvise, which Louis Armstrong later made famous. During 1927 Oliver was offered and turned down the bandleader role at Harlem's Cotton Club, which ultimately went to Duke Ellington. Once the Great Depression was in full swing, folks just weren't able to buy tickets to their concerts. His tour bus broke down in Spartanburg, S.C., and the band members went their seperate ways when there was no money for repairs. At that point, Oliver had begun to experience poor health, to include high blood pressure. He'd also lost all his teath, leaving him unable to play his beloved jazz. His friend, booking agent Frank Dilworth, Jr., drove from Savannah to assist Oliver, and brought him to the city. Oliver then began selling produce, and wrote his sister in New York that he's stopped taking his medication because he couldn't afford it. Most fans say that Oliver died penniless of a broken heart. He did finally leave Savannah after a cerebral hemorrage in his boarding house room in a simple casket.


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 779
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Joseph “King” Oliver (11 May 1885–10 Apr 1938), Find A Grave Memorial no. 779, citing Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .