Bowler Hat Mute

45 • A Bowler Hat Mute

France, circa 1930
28 cm wide; aluminium

Early jazz musicians often took off their bowler hats to use as a mute, allowing them to colour the sound of their instrument. King Oliver is widely credited with developing mutes for use in jazz and began to write music in the 1920s with them in mind. With the advent of aluminium, companies such as ASBA (Alfred Simone Boudard Accessories) began to replicate hats in the metal.

ASBA was founded in 1928 by Alfred and Simone Boudard in Limeil- Brévannes, just south of Paris. Initially they only produced accessories for musical instruments but expanded with great success after the Second World War to produce percussive instruments. They closed in 1983.

45 Bowler Hat Mute