Useless Fact about Jazz and Philosophy
While many are aware of Friedrich Nietzsche's contributions to existential philosophy, few are aware of his contributions to jazz music. In 1883 Nietzsche was engaged in a speaking tour across Canada and the United States where he was introduced to jazz at the famous Preservation Hall in New Orleans. Nietzsche was not impressed with the strange music at first but came to love it after he lost all his money and his hat in a card game and had to wash dishes to pay his tab. He purchased a trombone in a hock shop in Baton Rouge and practiced as he continued his tour, making his professional debut in Chicago as Freddie the Dixieland Dutchman.
Despite some success as a professional musician, Nietzsche returned to philosophy professionally and practicing jazz in private. He mastered the cornet and banjo by 1889 and put on a special presentation in Berlin that year. At the urging of Richard Wagner, he assembled a band of tuba players, these being the only top-quality brass players available in Germany at that time, and toured as Friedl Nietzsche and his Nifty Nine. The band enjoyed the accolades of existentialists and music critics alike, but attracting very little in the way of a fanbase. The Nifty Nine was playing mostly empty venues and ballrooms by 1895 and their biggest hit, "The Will to Power and How To Swing It," topped out at #37 on the charts. Nietzsche broke up his band that year and retired from music in 1897 after a disappointing solo career. By the time of Nietzsche's death in 1900, his music was all but forgotten. Still, Nietzsche laid the foundations of German jazz and music historians now credit him with jazz's continued popularity in Europe.