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The Creators of Jazz

Original Dixieland Jazz Band

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Album Review

Even if this charming little quintet cannot be exclusively crowned as the authentic originators of jazz, there's no denying their influential importance as the first jazz ensemble to make nationally distributed gramophone records. Avid's double-disc salute to these syncopating pioneers differs noticeably from RCA's Complete Original Dixieland Jazz Band although both compilations sift through the years 1917-1936. That time span takes in their primary early period (1917-1923) and the "reunion" sessions of 1936. (Neither Avid nor RCA includes six recordings made in 1938 by a reconstituted ODJB led by trombonist Eddie Edwards, with cornetist Nick LaRocca conspicuously absent.) Some early jazz lovers may indeed wish to own both compilations; the famous "Darktown Strutter's Ball," for example, was not included on RCA's Complete edition. Although it's a pity the colorful "Palesteena" was somehow omitted from Avid's lineup, the producers do compensate by including two other examples of ersatz exotica: "Soudan" and "Sphinx." Over the years, various labels have played around with this group's recorded legacy. Avid presents a few selections that may come as a pleasant surprise to those who were under the impression that RCA's use of the word Complete really meant the whole shootin' match. Judging by the data published in Brian Rust's discography, a truly "complete" ODJB, including originally unissued titles, would involve no less than 106 tracks. Until some heroic team of fanatics conspire to issue a monstrous box set capable of containing each and every recording known to have been made under this band's name, the Avid and RCA compilations will probably suffice for all but the most insatiable devotees of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band.

Biography

Formed: 1917 in New Orleans, LA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '10s, '20s, '30s

The first jazz group to ever record, Original Dixieland Jazz Band made history in 1917. They were not the first group to ever play jazz (Buddy Bolden had preceded them by 22 years!), nor was this White quintet necessarily the best band of the time, but during 1917-1923 (particularly in their earliest years) they did a great deal to popularize jazz. The musicians learned about jazz from their fellow New Orleans players (including King Oliver) but happened to get their big break first. In 1916, drummer...
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The Creators of Jazz, Original Dixieland Jazz Band
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