20th-century popular arts were bundled with the technology used to deliver them. Jazz is a case in point. Not until the phonograph, an overlooked 1877 mechanical novelty, was developed into one of the new century's signature industries, could individual performances be mass marketed. The first jazz record— "Livery Stable Blues," employing comic instrumental barnyard effects—sold a million copies at its 1917 release. If you've never heard this track, try to imagine its effect on adults who may never before have laid ears on such music. As the opening salvo of recorded jazz, it was sensational. And, in that light, still is.
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