Kelly is reading in the corner (well she was anyway), I’m fussing around cleaning up cat shit and getting ready to do a few late night performance coaches for work but, until that happens, we’re going to enjoy our Wednesday evening jazz boner for just a little while longer with the ‘King Oliver and his Creole Jazz Band‘ album featuring Louis Armstrong and Johnny Dodds…along with the King and band, of course.
I originally located this record at The Bop Shop in Rochester, NY while visiting Uncle Lance once weekend. I don’t remember what else I bought but I remember this album appealed to me since I had just finished the Ken Burns umpteen-part documentary ‘Jazz‘ so, yeah, some New Orleans Jazz circa 1923? Yes please!
I don’t know much about this album specifically other than it is part of the ‘Classic Jazz Masters‘ series released on Riverside Records and features all the namesakes I mentioned before. For those of you not in the know, King Oliver was the shit in New Orleans in 20’s and 30’s; the Miles Davis of his day. Born Joseph Nathan Oliver (December 19, 1881 – April 10, 1938) but better known as King Oliver or Joe Oliver, he an American jazz cornet player and bandleader. He was particularly recognized for his playing style and his pioneering use of mutes in jazz. Also a notable composer, he wrote many tunes still played today including ‘Dippermouth Blues‘, ‘Sweet Like This‘, ‘Canal Street Blues‘, ‘Doctor Jazz‘; most of which are featured on this album. Most notably is that he is credited as being the mentor and teacher of a young Louis Armstrong. His influence was such that Armstrong claimed, “if it had not been for Joe Oliver, Jazz would not be what it is today.”
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 100 years you already know who Louis Armstrong, but who’s this Johnny Dodds cat? Turns out that Johnny Dodds was an American New Orleans based jazz clarinetist and alto saxophonist, best known for his recordings under his own name and with bands such as those of Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, Lovie Austin and Armstrong himself. Dodds is credited with going to Chicago where he joined Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, with which he first recorded this album originally released in 1923. How’s that for some investigative work, eh?
While it may not be phat , per se, by today’s standards, as far as 1920’s jazz is concerned this album was most certainly sick.