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Jazz Archives #1000(10”) 

Eight great early recordings of traditional jazz


King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band (#1-3) Joe “King” Oliver, Louis Armstrong (cnt) Honore Dutray (tb) Johnny Dodds (cl) Stomp Evans (sax) Lil Hardin Armstrong (p) Bill Johnson (bj) Baby Dodds (drs)         Chicago; March, 1923

Freddie Keppard’s Jazz Cardinals (#5,6) Freddie Keppard (cnt) Eddie Vincent or Honore Dutray (tb) Jimmy O’Bryant (cl) Arthur Campbell (p) Jasper Taylor (wood blocks) “Papa” Charlie Jackson (vcl)-on #6        Chicago; September, 1926

Bernie Young’s Creole Jazz Band (#7) Bernie Young (tp) Preston Jackson (tb) Happy Cauldwell (cl) Stomp Evans (c-melody sax) Cassino Simpson (p) Mike McKendrick (bj) Eddie Temple (drs)          Chicago; 1923

Charles A. Matson’s Creole Serenaders (#4, 8) unknown personnel Chicago; October, 1923


King Oliver

 1.Mable’s Dream (2:50) (Ike Smith)

 2.Riverside Blues (2:58) (Thomas Dorsey)

 3.Southern Stomps (2:45) (R. M. Jones)

Charles A. Matson

 4.I Just Want a Daddy (4:15) (Thomas Dorsey)


Freddie Keppard

 5.Stock Yards Strut (  ) (Jasper Taylor)

 6.Salty Dog (2:36) (Charlie Jackson)

Bernie Young

 7.Dearborn St. Blues (3:06) (Bernie Young)

Charles A. Matson

 8.‘Tain’t Nobody’s Biz-ness If I Do (4:10) (Grainger-Robbins)

   On this LP you will find eight outstanding early examples of recorded jazz in the New Orleans vein. They are, therefore, primarily ensemble performances, with a minimum of solo work. The personnel includes first-rate musicians on all instruments. Nevertheless, it is the horn men who stand forth.

   There is Joe Oliver, who was always recognized as “King” Oliver; and Louis Armstrong, who came North from New Orleans to gain his first youthful fame playing with Oliver.

   There is Freddie Keppard, with his powerfully blasting horn, who was also a King in the hometown of jazz – sharing with Oliver the crown first held by the legendary Buddy Bolden. Also, the almost entirely neglected Bernie Young, and the totally unknown trumpet man of the Charles Matson band; jazzmen who share to an amazing extent the drive and spirit of the giants of New Orleans music.

   All of this underlining of the horn players is quite as it should be. The trumpet (or, in a fully traditional jazz band, the cornet) is the strong man. He plays the lead, sets the mood, holds the melodic line. Throughout the history of the music, it has most often been this horn man who has been the dominant influence, shaped the styles, and (usually deservedly) absorbed the lion’s share of public attention and acclaim.

   It should be noted that, while the bands here are of New Orleans in their approach to the music, geographically they belong for the most part to Chicago. It is one of the accepted paradoxes of jazz that the traditional, basic music we all automatically think of as “New Orleans jazz” not only also flourished in Chicago, but has been preserved for us almost entirely through the records made there in the ‘20s. Some of the musicians had been big names in New Orleans; others – like Armstrong – had only barely begun there; still others may never even have seen that city. But the music they play is the original jazz. It is no mere coincidence that most of these groups chose, at one time or another, to label themselves as “Creole” bands. This was the mark of pride, the recognizable symbol that told the world where the music (if not always the musicians themselves) stemmed from, that proclaimed that what they offered was the real, straight-from-the-source jazz.

   You’ll find some slight deviations from the strict original instrumentation on these records (a sax player creeps into most of the numbers; in two of the bands it’s Stomp Evans, who seems to have recorded with everyone in those days). But there’s little, if any, straying from the basic concepts. The sound is deeply and thoroughly rooted in its New Orleans homeland. Roughhewn yet cohesive, with a rock-solid beat, with a great wealth of fire and virility and rugged beauty – and with the clear-cut tones of cornet or trumpet searing through. It is music like this that is the core of jazz.

   The three Kink Oliver sides are, literally, a staring point. Mabel’s Dram, Riverside Blues (Para 20292) and Southern Stomps (Para 12088) were the very first made by this celebrated group (although numbers made for the Gennett label slightly later were actually released sooner), and most probably the first recordings by any Negro jazz band. All the music speaks for itself, and does it brilliantly, but perhaps most noteworthy is the incredible, almost telepathic is way in which Oliver and Armstrong complement, support, and blend with each other.

   Freddie Keppard first reached his prime in the pre-recording days of New Orleans, and didn’t make too many records in the ‘20s. But Stock Yards Strut and Salty Dog (Para 12399) can be counted among the very best items Paramount ever issued (which covers a lot of records). Jackson, on his own Salty Dog, gives a wonderful lesson on what a “jazz vocal” really should be.

   Bernie Young, as noted above, is a most unfamiliar name, but his performance here indicates that he can be ranked with all but a very few of his contemporaries.  Dearborn Street Blues  (Para 12088) includes some of the best of the sidemen who were recording regulars of the day: Preston Jackson, Happy Cauldwell, and the busy Mr. Evans.

   All information on Charles A Matson and his band would be gratefully received by any discographer. Even those who take note of Matson’s existence know little more than the meager data given on the record labels.  Personnel and place are unknown, although this is probably the exception that proves a rule by having been recorded (for a long-defunct label) elsewhere than in Chicago. Much more important than the missing facts, though, is what Matson and the others do with their material, turning unexceptional pop songs into solid, spirited jazz, very much in the New Orleans idiom. The anonymous trumpet player dominates the proceedings, with an acid tone and fast vibrato strongly reminiscent of such pioneers as Papa Celestin and Mutt Carey. The Matson numbers surely hold up under comparison with the others here, and undeniably rate a kinder fate than the oblivion in which they have rested for about a quarter of a century.

   This material is reissued by special arrangement with the original producers. For some of these selections unplayed originals were made available through the courtesy of John Hammond, from his private collection. The slight surface noise on this LP is due to the limitations of early recording processes; it has not been entirely removed in order to preserve highest fidelity possible and more faithful reproduction of tone qualities.

Produced by Bill Grauer

Notes by Orrin Keepnews

Cover by Paul Bacon


125 Lasalle Street New York 27, N.Y.

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