Wednesday, 31 July 2013

7. The New Orleans Sidemen and Other Lights

Before we move on to the innovations of the 20s, I thought it would be appropriate to give a mention to some of the names we seem to speed past.  These are the stars of the New Orleans style whose roles were vital but who are sometimes eclipsed by the bigger names.  The tendency to tell the history of jazz as a succession of giants often misses people who help to formulate jazz, especially in the heady era of ensemble improvisation.

Kid Ory

One of the great New Orleans trombone players, Ory personifies the ”tailgating” trombone style. (When the bands played on trucks and wagons round the streets, the trombone player would sit at the tailgate of the truck, so they could fully extend their slides).  A charismatic band leader, Ory moved to California in 1919, where he recorded the first jazz by a black band. By the late 20s he was in Chicago.

 Ory’s Creole Trombone, recorded in 1921.

Jimmie Noone

Another child clarinet prodigy, Noone played in Storyville with Freddie Keppard and in the Eagle band, as well as with King Oliver. By the mid 20s he was leading his own band in Chicago, where, against the trend, he preferred to be based through the 30s. Here’s his own band, with Earl Hines on piano (of whom, more later) on a tune entitled Four or Five Times:

Johnny Dodds

Dodds (pronounce it "Dots" and show how in-the-know you are) was a New Orleans stalwart on clarinet and alto sax, playing with King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, and later Louis Armstrong. We’ve already heard him a couple of times – with Morton and Oliver. 

 Here’s his Perdido Street Blues:

Sam Morgan

A fine New Orleans trumpet player, Morgan stayed in New Orleans instead of migrating north, and remained popular there, where he continued playing the style until his death in 1936. His records, recorded for Columbia in a record shop on Canal Street, are wonderful. Members of his band went on to work with George Lewis - who used to sit in with the Morgan band in Rampart Street - and Bunk Johnson in the 40s revival.

 Over in the Glory Land:

Ory, Noone, Dodds and Morgan on CD:

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