||Developments in Jazz
- Trumpeter Louis Armstrong records Body and Soul.
- In a recording session with Armstrong, percussionist Lionel Hampton plays his first vibraphone solo and decides to make that his main instrument.
- Bandleader Paul Whiteman and his orchestra star in the movie The King of Jazz.
- Bandleader Cab Calloway becomes a regular at the Cotton Club.
- Free jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman is born.
- The planet Pluto is discovered.
- The jet engine is invented.
- Cornetist Bix Beiderbecke dies of pneumonia at age 38.
- Cornetist Buddy Bolden dies.
- Pianist Lil Hardin separates from her husband Louis Armstrong and forms an all-female band.
- RCA demonstrates the first 33 1/3 rmp long-playing disc.
- The Empire State Building opens in New York City.
- Spain becomes a Republic.
- Japan invades Manchuria.
- There is massive worldwide unemployment.
- Duke Ellington records It Don't Mean a Thing (If it Ain't' Got That Swing), the first jazz composition to use swing in the title.
- Clarinetist Benny Goodman begins his career with the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra.
- Pianist Joe Zawinul, trumpeter Donald Byrd, and jazz harpist Dorothy Ashby are all born.
- John Cockcroft works in nuclear physics, and is the first to split an atom in a completely controlled manner. This work, for which he won a Nobel award in 1951, was also one of the first experiments to verify Einstein's E=mc^2.
- Japan forms a Manchurian Republic and later attacks Shanghai.
- Radio City Music Hall opens in New York.
- Aviator Charles Lindbergh's son is kidnapped.
- With the rise of the Nazi party in Germany, Berlin radio station Funkstunde bans jazz broadcasts.
- Pianist Art Tatum records his first piano solo, Tiger Rag, which is thought by many to be a duet.
- Duke Ellington and his orchestra begin their first tour of Europe.
- Singer Bessie Smith makes her last recordings.
- Singer Billie Holiday makes her first recording.
- Adolph Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany, followed by the creation of the Dachau concentration camp, political arrests, and the appropriation of Jewish finances by the government.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt becomes president, intiates economic recovery in the U.S.
- Mahatma Ghandi is imprisoned.
- Prohibition ends in the U.S.
- The first photographs of the Loch Ness monster are published in Britain's Daily Mail.
- Fletcher Henderson's band folds due to financial difficulties and Henderson sells his arrangements to Benny Goodman, who performs with his band at Billy Rose's Music Hall in New York.
- The journal Down Beat: the Contemporary Music Magazine is launched in Chicago.
- The Quintette du Hot Club de France, featuring guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli, gives its first public performance at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris.
- Jimmie Lunceford's band replaces Cab Calloway’s at the Cotton Club in Harlem.
- Clarinetist Jimmy Dorsey and trombonist Tommy Dorsey form the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra.
- Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday appear in the film Symphony in Black.
- Outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are shot dead.
- Italian troops invade Albania.
- The Nazi coup fails in Austria.
- Adolf Hitler begins his dictatorship in Germany.
- Blues singer Leadbelly is released from prison in Louisiana after writing a song to the governor asking for a pardon.
- The first cheeseburger is served in Louisville, Kentucky.
- Pianist and bandleader Bennie Moten dies.
- Pianist Count Basie forms the Barons of Rhythm with members of Moten's band.
- Vocalist Ella Fitzgerald makes her first recordings.
- Clarinetist Benny Goodman records Fletcher Henderson's arrangement of Jelly Roll Morton's King Porter Stomp.
- Benny Goodman begins recording with a racially integrated trio that includes pianist Teddy Wilson and drummer Gene Krupa.
- Billie Holiday makes several recordings with pianist Teddy Wilson, including What a Little Moonlight Can Do.
- George Gershwin's three-act opera Porgy and Bess opens at the Alvin Theater in New York.
- Italy invades Ethiopia.
- The first paperback books are published.
- The electric guitar is invented.
- Billie Holiday and Teddy Wilson record I Cried for You, which goes on to sell 15,000 copies.
- Pianist Nat King Cole makes his first recordings with the Solid Swingers, a band led by his brother, Eddie Cole, a bassist.
- Benny Goodman, adding vibraphonist Lionel Hampton to his trio, records Moonglow, which starts a series of popular quartet recordings.
- Duke Ellington provides music for the Marx Brothers movie A Day at the Races.
- Black American athlete Jesse Owens wins four gold medals at the Olympic Games in Berlin; Hitler leaves the stadium and refuses to be photographed with Owens.
- Billie Holiday makes her debut with Count Basie's band.
- Coleman Hawkins records with Django Reinhardt and saxophonist Benny Carter in Paris.
- Duke Ellington records Caravan, by Juan Tizol.
- Count Basie's band broadcasts from the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem.
- Count Basie's band records One O'clock Jump, which becomes their signature tune.
- Benny Goodman records Sing, Sing, Sing.
- George Gershwin dies of a brain tumor.
- Nat King Cole creates a new ensemble with piano, bass, and guitar.
- Bessie Smith dies in a car accident.
- Trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie makes his first recordings.
- The Hindenburg explodes in New Jersey.
- The Japanese capture Peking and control Shanghai.
- Benny Goodman's band hosts a sold out concert at Carnegie Hall which features a jazz history element and a jam session with members of Duke Ellington’s and Count Basie's bands. After the Goodman concert, Count Basie's band and Chick Webb's band have an informal competition at the Savoy Ballroom.
- Cornetist King Oliver dies after years in poverty working as a pool-room janitor.
- Benny Goodman's band records Bach Goes to Town: Prelude and Fugue in Swing, which combines elements of classical music and swing.
- Germany annexes Austria and Sudetenland.
- Shopping carts are introduced for the first time in Oklahoma.
- Actor Orson Welles broadcasts War of the Worlds, a radio science-fiction drama about a Martian invasion, and causes a nationwide panic.
- A new band led by trombonist Glenn Miller gains notoriety through regular radio broadcasts.
- Billie Holiday records Strange Fruit, with controversial lyrics regarding lynchings which causes it to be banned from several radio stations.
- Chick Webb dies and Ella Fitzgerald takes over his band.
- Glenn Miller records the hugely successful In The Mood.
- Benny Goodman hires guitarist Charlie Christian.
- Lester Young records Lester Leaps In with Count Basie.
- Coleman Hawkins records Body and Soul, setting a new standard for improvisational sophistication on the saxophone.
- Artie Shaw retires.
- Singer Ma Rainey dies.
- Charlie Parker moves to New York to pursue music.
- Blue Note Records is founded.
- World War II breaks out in Europe.
- Germany occupies Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia, and Lithuania and invades Poland.
- Military conscription is introduced in Britain.
- Hitler and Mussolini agree to a "Pact of Steel."
- The Spanish Civil War ends.