New Orleans Jazz: Overview
Episode date - May 11, 2007
One of the most interesting (but also confusing) aspects of music history pertains to the early music scene of New Orleans, Louisiana. While many critics now maintain that it isn’t necessarily correct to state that jazz was invented there, I have never heard a critic or musician state some other locale as its unequivocal birthplace, either.
I think the confusion stems from the fact that so many musicians left the city between 1916 and 1925, causing most of the best jazz recordings to take place somewhere else besides New Orleans. As far as I’m concerned, though, the point isn’t whether the recording sessions took place in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, or Richmond, Indiana. What matters is the personnel on these recordings, and so many of the primary innovators learned their trade while growing up in New Orleans.
To adequately cover the early years of jazz development, we will dedicate three shows to the New Orleans musicians who helped spread the gospel of jazz music. Due to their age, many of these recordings may challenge the contemporary listener. The lack of fidelity could present a problem to those of us accustomed to digital recording, so I will ask you to imagine a time before computers, before tape recorders, before television, and even before radio – FM or AM. Perhaps you were lucky enough to live near somebody who owned a newfangled Victrola. Otherwise, the only music you could hear was live music, and the live music you heard usually consisted of piano rolls, marching bands, or the mixed bag of minstrel music. If you were wealthy, you might hear an orchestra, or see an opera. Jazz represented a brand new sound, something so totally different that it frightened the establishment, and invigorated virtually everyone else. It was ‘hot’ music, and old-fashioned folks would dismiss it as vulgar, much like what happened during the advent of rock and roll. Can you imagine the impact of hearing these recordings for the very first time? Right here, with these recordings, is when America’s true identity first became audible. It is our music, and this is our heritage.
Here is a list of songs from today’s program;
Oh! Didn’t He Ramble – Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Tiger Rag – The Original Dixieland Jazz Band
Ory’s Creole Trombone – Kid Ory’s Sunshine Orchestra
Tin Roof Blues – New Orleans Rhythm Kings
Dipper Mouth Blues – King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band
I Wonder Where My Easy Rider’s Riding Now? – Johnny Bayersdorffer & his Jazzola Eight
Cake Walking Babies from Home – Red Onion Jazz Babies
Cake Walking Babies from Home – Clarence Williams’ Blue Five
Barataria – Halfway House Orchestra
10) Careless Love – The Original Tuxedo Orchestra