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1920s

The Dawn of the British Jazz Age

By the mid-1920s, jazz was thriving in Britain. Its popularity was boosted by the Melody Maker, a music newspaper which first appeared in January 1926, as well as by radio programmes from the recently launched British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

Jazz records from America became more readily available in Britain. Although early records were mainly by white artists, those by Afro-American players such as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington soon followed. Aspiring British musicians primarily working in dance-bands were able to learn from American jazz performers on record and in person. Home grown British jazz stars such as double-bassist Patrick Cairns ‘Spike’ Hughes also achieved prominence at this time. 1927 saw the publication of the first British book on Jazz, ‘The Appeal of Jazz’ by R.W.S Mendl.

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