Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Dippermouth Blues: His 25 Greatest
Genres: Jazz, Pop
In the prewar years in New Orleans and the early years of Chicago jazz, Joe "King" Oliver reigned supreme, his stirring lead cornet and varied mute work inevitably at the head of the finest group of musicians available. Hi... more »
In the prewar years in New Orleans and the early years of Chicago jazz, Joe "King" Oliver reigned supreme, his stirring lead cornet and varied mute work inevitably at the head of the finest group of musicians available. His Creole Jazz Band of 1923--with a young Louis Armstrong on second cornet, Lil Hardin Armstrong on piano, Johnny Dodds on clarinet, and Baby Dodds on drums--produced the first great jazz records. This overview of Oliver's career begins with six examples of his 1923 work, a meld of precision and invention that retains its excitement today. With rapidly changing fashions in music, Oliver opted to expand his band, and the bulk of the material here comes from the years 1926-28, when the cornetist led his Dixie Syncopators. While these 14 tracks may lack the genius of the first recordings, Oliver remained a significant force, a master of instrumental blues usually partnered by one of the great New Orleans clarinetists, whether Dodds, Barney Bigard, or Albert Nicholas. Increasingly, the band synthesized the elements of New Orleans jazz and more composed sectional writing. The final tracks follow Oliver to New York and include the novelty tune "Everybody Does It in Hawaii," with Roy Smeck adding his Hawaiian guitar to Oliver's increasingly dated style of jazz. The final "Shake It and Break It," from 1930, has Oliver, with mounting dental problems, concentrating on his muted work and ceding an open trumpet solo to a younger New Orleans trumpeter, Henry "Red" Allen. Like other titles in the ASV/Living Era series, this CD presents a fine portrait of an early jazz giant, with consistently good sound and careful selection. --Stuart Broomer
Just misses the boat
J. C Clark | Overland Park, KS United States | 11/07/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"While no expert, I have listened to a fair share of 20s jazz. The cover of this CD lies, as it proclaims this is King Oliver's 25 Greatest Hits. That is not true.
Like most listeners of music from this era, I knew the name of Oliver as one of the pivotal figures, mentor and bandleader to a host of musicians whose fame would far transcend his own. I actually was familiar with just one recording, "Too Late" from an anthology CD I bought. It is an infectious ditty, with a blistering cornet and a perfect arrangement. I expected great things from this CD, where "Too Late" was not even good enough to crack the Top 25.
But that was not to be. This all feels like pretty standard stuff. Not great, not bad. Just somewhere in the vast middle. While the liner notes proclaim the first four tracks to among the greatest in the history of recorded jazz, I cannot share his enthusiasm. The sound quality hurts the final product (these are, after all, from 1923) and the band generates no sparks. Early studio recordings often sound stiff and formal; I guess the musicians missed their usual venue. Jazz was meant to be played, not recorded, and there is a formality that renders them placid. So I can hear all the good things; they just do not coalesce into worthy whole.
The later tracks have better sound, but no better performances. Some are fun and some bristle a bit, but compared to Benny Moten's recordings from the same time, these sound like robots."