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Baltimore jazz

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Baltimore jazz

Baltimore jazz is a major part of the music of Baltimore, Maryland, and is a field that has produced several well-known artists, including Billie Holiday, Cab Calloway, Chick Webb and Cyrus Chestnut, as well as local legends like Ethel Ennis and Rivers Chambers.

Jazz was first documented in Baltimore in 1917, the same year John Ridgely organized the first band that called its music jazz. Baltimore's Royal Theatre was, for many years, the most important venue in the city for jazz, and its house orchestra, led first by Rivers Chambers and then by Tracy McCleary, included many performers who went on to national careers with major acts. The Royal was known as a tough crowd, even more so than the legendarily cruel crowd at the Apollo Theatre in New York.

Baltimore has a prominent jazz saxophone tradition, and has produced many well-regarded players like Mickey Fields and Gary Bartz. More recently, the Hammond B-3 organ has become a distinctive part of the local jazz scene.

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