The recordings of Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, and Johnny Dodds have all come to encapsulate our idea of what New Orleans jazz sounded like during and before the 1920s, but, already stationed in Chicago and New York, none of them ever actually recorded in the big easy during the jazz age. With the commercial success of jazz during the late teens and early twenties, beginning in 1924, a year after King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band records in Richmond, IN, record companies began taking field trips away from their big city studios and to the south to record authentic jazz and blues. The first trucks from Okeh Records reach New Orleans in March of 1924 and put onto record on March 15 the earliest known recordings of jazz in New Orleans we have today, Johnny DeDroit and his New Orleans Jazz Orchestra.
Join programmer Matthew Rivera this Sunday on “Jazz Profiles” (2-6:15pm) as he goes through a chronological in-depth survey of these rare recordings as well others by Piron’s New Orleans Orchestra, The Halfway House Orchestra, Celestin’s Orginal Tuxedo Orchestra, Sam Morgan’s Jazz Band, Louis Doumaine’s Jazzola Eight, The Jones-Collins Astoria Hot Eight as well as others.
The show covers a stretch of exactly six years from March 15, 1924 to November 15, 1929, less than a month into the depression. Things were to change drastically in the recording industry and indeed jazz shortly thereafter, and it wouldn’t be until the famous New Orleans revival of the 1940s that the record companies would again focus their attention on the land where it all began.