32¢ Jazz Flourishes
Celebrate the Century – 1920s
Issue Date: May 28, 1998
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
The 1920s have often been referred to as the “Jazz Age” or the “Golden Age of Jazz.” At the start of the decade, jazz was relatively simple music performed by musicians with little formal training. But, during the 1920s, innovative artists like Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, James P. Johnson, and Fletcher Henderson took jazz to new technical and artistic levels.
Jazz music’s popularity spread in cities like New Orleans, Memphis, St. Louis, Kansas City, Chicago, Detroit, and New York City, where some of the music’s all-time greats performed in the gangster-run speakeasies that were the result of prohibition.
And with the development of commercial radio, listeners who lived far from these urban areas could be treated to live studio performances as well.
As the driving spirit of the Roaring Twenties, jazz permeated many areas of American culture. It influenced fashion, dance styles, and even literature. The image of the flapper, with bobbed hair and short skirt, dancing the Charleston, is the symbol of this era and was often featured in its stories and photographs.
Jazz also affected society’s perceptions of race, creating the first black superstars. Louis Armstrong, in particular, went on to enjoy international fame.