I Thought I Heard...
"I thought I heard..." them say you could hear the sound of his loud and wild cornet across the river in Algiers - when he played in New Orleans.
"I thought I heard..." them say he played loose, an energetic combination of marching bands, ragtime, and church music.
"I thought I heard..." them say he invented jazz, but didn't know what to do with it.
"I thought I heard..." them say the "King" left his mark on generations of musicians, though there are no known recordings of his music.
"I thought I heard..." them say he had been “too good for his time.”
Charles (Buddy) “King” - Bolden lived in this simple house, 2309 First Street, creating a sound that still drives us to want more. He spent 15 years here, before being institutionalized for the last 24 years of his life due to schizophrenia.
The house is within a mile of the opulence of St. Charles Avenue and the luxury hotels and thriving financial institutions of the Central Business District, yet the neighborhood is not exactly a tour destination. Today, the double shotgun where he lived and played is threatened by decades of neglect, though there are promises it will be renovated. I hope it will. I wish for a destination that tells the all too short story of Bolden's brilliant but tragic life. I came here today to capture these few images in case they don't.
“I thought I heard Buddy Bolden shout,
Open up the window an’ let the bad air out…” – Jelly Roll Morton, Buddy Bolden’s Blues