4 Songs, 12 Minutes


About The Jones & Collins Astoria Hot Eight

The Jones & Collins Astoria Hot Eight existed only for one day as a recording ensemble named for a dancehall on South Rampart Street in New Orleans known as the Astoria Ballroom and the Astoria Gardens during the 1920s and '30s. The group could just as easily have been called the Pelican Hot Eight, as cornetist Lee Collins (one of Jelly Roll Morton's early collaborators) and tenor saxophonist David "Davey" Jones (a former Storyville entertainer who was one of the first individuals in history to play jazz on the saxophone) are known to have led bands at the Pelican Roof Ballroom, two blocks away from the Astoria. On November 15, 1929, the Jones & Collins Astoria Hot Eight were assembled for a recording session at the Italian Hall near the intersection of North Rampart and Esplanade Avenue. In addition to the leaders, this octet consisted of clarinetist Sidney Ardoin, alto saxophonist Theodore Purnell, pianist Joseph Robichaux (who in 1933 would take his own band to New York City to make records), banjo man Emanuel Sayles, string bassist Al Morgan, and percussionist Joe Strode-Raphael. Four titles (with two alternate takes) resulted from this one day's work. The master takes were released on Victor and subsequently on Victor's budget line subsidiary Bluebird. "Astoria Strut" is credited to Collins and Jones; "Duet Stomp," with a vocal by Al Morgan, was conjured by Jones and Ardoin; Morgan and Sayles came up with "Damp Weather," and "Tip Easy Blues" was devised by Purnell and Robichaux. These classic New Orleans jazz recordings have been made available on a number of collections, including the Frog label's Sizzling the Blues 1927-1929 (which includes the "test" takes), Louisiana Red Hot's New Orleans: Great Original Performances 1918-1934, the affordable Jazz Roots release New Orleans 1918-1929: Where Jazz Was Born, and ABC's Jazz Classics in Digital Stereo, Vol. 1: New Orleans. ~ arwulf arwulf