February 7, 1882

Wilbur C. Sweatman was born in Brunswick, MO. Sweatman was an African American ragtime and Dixieland jazz composer, band leader, and clarinetist. In the late 1890’s, Sweatman became famous for playing three clarinets at once. In March 1917, Sweatman became the first African American musician to record under the name of jazz and thus secured his legacy as a pioneer in the jazz industry.

This post was contributed by Ross Malone. A historian and a retired school teacher, Ross has authored many books about Missouri’s history, weird facts, and folk tales. He has also written children’s  historical fiction. Visit his website, and buy his books in the Missouri Life store.

Photo: Wikimedia/public domain