The Original Dixieland Jazz Band

The Original Dixieland Jass Band, (ODJB), was a New Orleans, Dixieland-based jazz band that recorded the first jazz recordings in 1917. Their “Livery Stable Blues”, which was their first jazz single, was released in 1917. They recorded many jazz standards including “Tiger Rag”, which was the group’s most well-known composition. The band’s name was changed from Original Dixieland Jazz Band to late 1917. Five musicians were members of the Papa Jack Laine band, which was a diverse, racially-integrated group of musicians that played for New Orleans parades, dances and advertising. ODJB was called the Creators of Jazz because it was the first to record jazz commercially, and the first to make recordings in this new genre. Nick LaRocca, the band leader and trumpeter, argued that ODJB deserved to be recognized as the first group to record jazz commercially as well as the first to establish jazz music as a musical idiom. A promoter from Chicago approached Alcide Nunez, clarinetist, and Johnny Stein about bringing a New Orleans-style New Orleans band to Chicago. The similar Brown’s Band From Dixieland was already enjoying success. [8] The trio then assembled Eddie Edwards, Henry Ragas and Frank Christian as trombonists. Christian pulled out shortly before they were due to leave and Nick LaRocca was hired in a last-minute replacement. The musicians started their work at Schiller’s Cafe, Chicago on March 3, 1916 under the name Stein’s Dixie Jass Band. The band became a huge success and was offered a higher salary elsewhere. The band’s leader, Stein, was the only one under contract by name. The rest of the members broke up and were sent to New Orleans to find Tony Sbarbaro as drummer. They began playing under the name The Dixie Jass Band on June 5. LaRocca, Nunez, had personality conflicts. On October 30, Tom Brown’s Band, ODJB, and LaRocca agreed to swap clarinetists. Larry Shields was then added to the Original Dixieland Jass Band. Max Hart, a New York City-based theatrical agent, was drawn to the band. The band started a dance engagement at Reisenweber’s Cafe in Manhattan. Jimmy Durante was there when the New Orleans Jazz style took New York by storm with the arrival the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. Durante was impressed by the band and invited them for a performance at the Alamo in Harlem, where Jimmy played the piano. Durante asked Johnny Stein, his friend from New Orleans, to organize a group of musicians who were similar to his act for the Alamo. Later, they were called “Durante’s Jazz and Novelty Band”. They recorded two sides in late 1918 for Okeh, under the New Orleans Jazz Band name. The same two numbers were recorded for Gennett a few months later under the name Original New Orleans Jazz Band. In 1920, the same group recorded for Gennett again as Jimmy Durante’s Jazz Band. Many jazz bands formed after the success of ODJB, which copied its sound and style. They recorded their first Victor recording and then went on to record for Columbia (after the first Victor session), and Aeolian Vocalion in 1917. They returned to Victor in 1918 to make more sides and enjoyed continued popularity in New York. Trombonist Edwards was drafted in 1918 to World War I and was replaced by Emile Christians. In 1918, pianist Henry Ragas succumbed to influenza during the Spanish flu pandemic. J. Russel Robinson was appointed pianist and composer. Robinson wrote the jazz standard “Eccentric”, (“That Eccentric Rag”), “Margie”, and “Jazzola”, as well as the jazz song “Singin’ the Blues(Till My Daddy Comes Back)”, which was recorded in 1918 by Frankie Trumbauer, Bix Beiderbecke and Eddie Lang. Also, Robinson recorded “Mary Lou”, Pan Yan (And His Chinese Jazz Band),” “How Many Times?” “, “Aggravatin’ Papa (Don’t You Try To Two-Time Me),” “What Are Little Girls Made Of?” Red Allen and his Orchestra recorded “Get Rhythm in Your Feet” with Chu Berry. “Yeah Man!” Fletcher Henderson recorded “Get Rhythm in Your Feet” with his Orchestra in 1933. It was released on Vocalion. “, “Reefer Man”, “Dynamite Rag”, and “Meet Me at No Special Place” were recorded by Nat King Cole. “Reefer Man”, “Reefer Man”, “Dynamite Rag”, and “Meet Me at No Special Place” were recorded by Cab Calloway and Bessie Smith. “Palesteena Lena from Palesteena). Robinson’s name was “J. Russel Robinson” and he collaborated with W. C. Handy to create the song “Ole Miss Rag” in 1916. Handy’s publishing house released “Though We’re Miles and Miles Apart” in 1919. Robinson also collaborated with Handy and Charles N. Hillman. Robinson was also the author of “St. Louis Gal”, a blues classic that Bessie Smith recorded. Robinson’s compositions in 1920 for the band, including the “Margie”, the “Singin’ the Blues”, or “Palesteena” (Lena From Palesteena) were some of the best-selling and most loved hits of 1920. “Aggravatin’ Papa”, a song composed by Roy Turk and Addie Brit, was recorded in 1923 by Alberta Hunter with Fletcher Henderson’s Dance Orchestra, as well by Bessie Smith and Sophie Tucker, Lucille Shegamin, Florence Mills and Lucille Hegamin. Robinson collaborated with Roy Turk to compose “Sweet Men O’ Mine” (and “A-Wearin’ Away the Blues”), and he also wrote “Mama Whip!” Mama Spank! Mama Spank! Robinson was a member until the band’s dissolution in 1923. Robinson returned to the band in 1936 when it was reformed. Over a hundred covers have been made of the ODJB’s classic “Margie”, which was composed by J. Russel Robinson and Con Conrad. Benny Davis added lyrics. Louis Armstrong recorded “Margie”, which also included covers of Ray Charles, Ray Charles, Al Jolson and Duke Ellington and His Orchestra, Claude Hopkins and Red Nichols and Django Reinhardt’s George Paxton, George Paxton, Fats Domino and Sidney Bechet. “Margie” was no. 9 hit for ODJB with J. Russel Robinson as piano. Eddie Cantor’s hit version of the ODJB ODJB classic was the most popular, and he spent five weeks at the top. 1, in 1921. The song was also featured in The Eddie Cantor Story, and was the theme for the 1961-1962 television series. Cantor also recorded ODJB’s “Palesteena” (Lena From Palesteena). Gene Rodemich u0026 His Orchestra reached no. 7 with their 1920 version. Ted Lewis and His Band reached number. 4 in 1921. Frank Crumit scored a no. 7 hits in 1921. Claude Hopkins and His Orchestra reached number. 5 in 1934, with Orlando Peterson singing. Don Redman and his Orchestra reached no. 15 in 1939, with a cover version of the ODJB tune. The song was also recorded by Dave Brubecke, Bix Beiderbecke and Jo Stafford. Jimmie Lunceford recorded this song in 1938 using a Sy Oliver arrangement featuring Trummy Young. Frank Christian, Tom Brown, Nunez and Tom Brown were also New Orleans musicians who followed ODJB’s lead and traveled to New York to play Jazz. This gave the band competition. LaRocca decided that the band should travel to London. They would enjoy playing jazz in New Orleans again and will be able to present themselves as the Originators Of Jazz, having been the first to record the new music, jass, or jazz. The 1919 appearance of the band at London Hippodrome was the band’s first official gig. It was followed by a performance for King George V at Buckingham Palace. According to LaRocca, the concert didn’t start in the best way. The assembled aristocracy (including French Marshall Philippe Petain) looked through opera glasses at them “as if there were bugs on our heads”. After the king laughed, the audience began to relax and applauded loudly their rendition of The Tiger Rag. Lord Harrington chased the band to Southampton Docks, furious that his daughter was being wooed by the lead singer. They made 20 more recordings in London for the British Columbia branch. They recorded their second, commercially more successful version of “Soudan”, also known as “Oriental Jass”, while in London. They toured the United States for four years after returning to London in July 1920. The commercial version of the band added a saxophone and arrangements in the style of popular orchestras. Henry Levine, a teen trumpeter, replaced LaRocca in the 1920s. He later brought this type of repertoire to NBC’s radio program The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street. Frank Signorelli was a jazz pianist and composer who recorded the jazz standards “A Blues Serenade”, “Gypsy”, “Stairway To the Stars”, and “Gypsy”. Signorelli joined ODJB briefly in 1921. The band disbanded in the middle of the 1920s, and its founders scattered. In New York City, Eddie Edwards, trombonist, was found operating a newsstand during the Depression. Edwards was soon the frontman of a local nightclub band after being exposed in newspapers. The musicians performed a reunion concert on network radio in 1936. They were invited back by RCA Victor to record six songs as “The Original Dixieland Five.” They toured briefly, before disbanding once again. This tour attracted a lot of attention to Larry Shields, clarinetist. Benny Goodman also commented on Shields’ influence early in his career. Edwards and Sbarbaro were the founders of several bands that had no other members during the 1940s, 1950s, and under the ODJB label. The reformed group released a new version “Tiger Rag” as V-Disc (or Victory Disc), V-Disc 214 in 1944. V-Disc 221B also released “Sensation Rag”. V-Discs were recordings for the U.S. armed force. LaRocca granted Phil Zito, a New Orleans bandleader, permission to use the ODJB title for many years. Jimmy LaRocca, Nick LaRocca’s son, still leads bands under The Original Dixieland Jazz Band. The Story of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band was published in 1960. H. O. Brunn, the author, based it upon Nick LaRocca’s recollections. These recollections sometimes differ from those of other sources. From Wikipedia

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