460 X 276 Whether or not the cornetist Buddy Bolden invented jazz (Jelly Roll Morton is one of the best known other claimants to the title), he certainly created the enduring archetype of the jazz musician as doomed romantic hero when he suffered a mental breakdown in 1907, at the age of 30, and spent his remaining years in a Louisiana asylum. The tantalizingly poignant twist to the tale of the idiom's first celebrated individual musician is that no one knows what he sounded like, since he ceased musical activity 10 years before the first jazz recording was made – although some contemporaries alleged that his playing was in fact captured on a wax cylinder but never unearthed. Born in New Orleans in 1877, Bolden is said to have worked as a barber but was leading his own band at dances and parties in the city by the age of 18. Photographs show that by 1905 the lineup of his ensemble – cornet, trombone, two clarinets, guitar and double bass – approximated the classic instrumentation of later traditional jazz bands. Louis Armstrong, who heard him at first hand, remarked many years later that Miles Davis's plaintive tone reminded him of Bolden, which calls into question the famous claim that his playing was powerful enough to be heard across "14 miles on a clear night". But once committed to the state mental institution, he never re-emerged. He died in 1931 and was buried in a pauper's grave.