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Among the very first jazz recordings commercially released
Bradley Olson | Bemidji, MN United States | 03/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD is essential for historical purposes as among the selections included are the Original Dixieland Jass Band's recordings from 1917 which are the first jazz recordings commercially released, plus you'll also get music from Sidney Bechet, who pioneered the New Orleans jazz sound, and Muggsy Spanier And His Ragtime Band. There is notable noise reduction which can be heard clearly if you listen on a decent hi-fi system carefully, but the music is what really counts and what's here musically is great. All of these songs are standards of any dixieland jazz band repertoire to this very day and are timeless. If you want to learn how jazz started in a commercial sense, look no further than this CD. I also recommend this CD to people who aren't normally jazz music fans who want to go back to the roots of popular music."
Concentrates on only three jazz icons, but still a great sam
Scott MacGillivray | Massachusetts, USA | 01/29/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Dixieland Greatest Hits" suggests a wide range of musicians and songs, but BMG devotes this collection to only three exemplars of New Orleans jazz. The Original Dixieland Jass Band has eight tracks, Sidney Bechet has six, and Muggsy Spanier's Ragtime Band has three. This limited approach is actually a good idea, because it offers a more concentrated education to novice listeners, and a more satisfying sampling for traditional-jazz fans.
Bechet is the star here, with his soprano saxophone featured on ragtime and early-jazz chestnuts. His band races through "Maple Leaf Rag" like a house afire, and he sits in on "Muskrat Ramble" with the formidable Henry Levine and his "Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street" band. But the highlight is "Weary Blues," with Bechet in Tommy Ladnier's band. This old favorite has incredible bounce, and you'll be playing this one again and again.
The Original Dixieland Jass Band, of course, was the pioneer jazz combo, and this CD offers some representative sides dating from 1917 to 1921. The early "Sensation" and "Tiger Rag" are typical ODJB performances, ragged and raw, but full of enthusiasm. These soon give way to the more conventional dance-band stylings of "Margie" and (with added saxophone) "Broadway Rose." All are instrumentals except the rather self-conscious revival of "St. Louis Blues" (with an unfortunate "comic" vocal).
Muggsy Spanier's band is "ragtime" in name only -- these sessions date from swing-crazy 1939, when Spanier's brand of gut-bucket was anachronistic, hence the "ragtime" name. Spanier's best here is "Black and Blue," with Spanier's scorching trumpet offset by the cool saxophone of Bernie Billings (who sounds almost exactly like Bud Freeman).
Fidelity throughout is superior. The 1930s and 1940s cuts sound like they were recorded last week, and even the antique ODJB records, recorded before the advent of microphones, sound fine. Recommended for anyone's library, and a good "beginner" disc for those who are just getting into hot jazz."