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Original Dixieland Jazz Band

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 Johnny Stein, cornetist Nick LaRocca, trombonist Eddie Edwards, pianist Henry Ragas, and clarinetist Alcide "Yellow" Nunez played together in Chicago. With Tony Sbarbaro replacing Stein and Larry Shields taking over for Nunez, the band was booked at Resenweber's restaurant in New York in early 1917. Their exuberant music (which stuck exclusively to ensembles with the only solos being short breaks) caused a major sensation. Columbia recorded ODJB playing "Darktown Strutters Ball" and "Indiana," but was afraid to put out the records. Victor stepped in and recorded the group playing the novelty "Livery Stable Blues" (which found the horns imitating barnyard animals) and "Dixie Jass Band One-Step" and quickly released the music; "Livery Stable Blues" was a huge hit that really launched the jazz age. During the next few years ODJB would introduce such future standards as "Tiger Rag," "At the Jazz Band Ball," "Fidgety Feet," "Sensation," "Clarinet Marmalade," "Margie," "Jazz Me Blues," and "Royal Garden Blues." The group (with J. Russel Robinson taking the place of Ragas, who died in the 1919 flu epidemic, and trombonist Emile Christian filling in for Edwards) visited London during 1919-1920 and they once again caused quite a stir, introducing jazz to Europe. However upon their return to the U.S., ODJB was considered a bit out of fashion after the rise of Paul Whiteman and in 1922 New Orleans Rhythm Kings (a far superior group). By 1923 when many of the first Black jazz giants finally were recorded, ODJB was thought of as a historical band and due to internal dissension they soon broke up. In 1936 LaRocca, Shields, Edwards, Robinson, and Sbarbaro (the latter the only musician to have a full-time career by then) had a reunion and did a few final recordings together before LaRocca permanently retired. Although the cornetist's arrogant claims that ODJB had invented jazz are exaggerated and tinged with racism, Original Dixieland Jazz Band did make a strong contribution to early jazz (most groups that recorded during 1918-1921 emulated their style), helped supply the repertoire of many later Dixieland bands, and were an influence on Bix Beiderbecke and Red Nichols. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

illwriteyoua s y m p h o n y
Nothing quite compares to this band's ability to make catchy, dancy music!
papoose63
Don't read this because it actually works. you will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. tomorrow will be the best day of your life. however if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you started reading this so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in the next 143 minutes. When done press f16 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it actually works.
2b1weigle
Just discovered this music I love this stuff
Great classic Dixieland. The kind you listen to at a good tavern on Saturday night!
bobstohlman
Alcide "Yellow" Nunez is my Grandfather. Great to see him mentioned.
dicksheeran
Love it!
What fun!
Great Music, you just do not find anywhere else.
Amazing their ability to sustain a tune. It must be intutive for some to play that well together. the "beat" or beats, today we understand but imagine their challenge that far back!
How come these so great bands were not asked to record the first jazz record?? Blue Bird /later RCA maybe reconized some talent you can't grasp. Say what you want but first is first!!
Great classic Dixieland. The kind you listen to at a good tavern on Saturday night!
Why is it so important to emphasize that they were "White"? Nobody cares! Except for stupid racists! And what's the point of making jabs at bands and artists who made history (like this one and Elvis, for example)? If you're trying to reduce the hype, it's not going to work; all you're doing is irritating people. I think everyone who uses this site would like it much better if you just state the important facts, and leave the petty comments out of it.
sahah197
"nor was this White quintet necessarily the best band of the time"
oh, that's an amusing jab.
enjoying it!
Pure Awesomeness.

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