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Kid Ory’s Creole Jazz Band

Kid Ory; New Orleans Jazz Man

LAKE LACD 255 [78:07]




Savoy Blues
Creole Song (C’Est L’Autre Can Can)
The Glory of Love
Mahogany Hall Stomp
Blues For Jimmy Noone
At A Georgia Camp Meeting
Go Back Where You Stayed Last Night
Yacka Hula Hickey Dula
The World’s Jazz Crazy
Down-Hearted Blues
See See Rider
Good Time Flat Blues
Careless Love
Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out
Mecca Flat Blues
‘Fore Day Creep
Aunt Hagar’s Blues
Birth Of The Blues
Snag It
Yellow Dog Blues
Wang Wang Blues
Teddy Buckner (trumpet), Joe Darensbourg, Bob McCracken (clarinet), Kid Ory (trombone), Don Ewell, Harvey Brooks, Lloyd Glenn (piano), Julian Davidson and Ed Shrivenak (guitar), Morty Cobb, Ed Garland (bass) Minor "Ram" Hall (drums), Lee Sapphire and Claire Austin (vocals)
rec. 1950-54

None of this material is new to CD of course and nor is it claimed to be. The first eight have been on CBS and Sony Essential CDs; the Claire Austin sides were on Good Time Jazz and others have been on CBS and Storyville. In short, they’re classic tracks though not the best of Ory’s revivalist band which had peaked in its earliest days around 1944-45.

Crisp ensemble work and well worked out routines, sprung rhythm, a tight front line, and a fairly wide-ranging selection of material animate these twenty-one tunes. You’ll hear Lloyd Glenn’s rousing boogie piano on Savoy Blues as well as Teddy Buckner’s almost note-for-note Armstrong idolatry. Ory shines in Creole Song, letting rip with his laryngitic vocal complemented by Darensbourg’s fine lower register clarinet work. The bold front line interjections, those big, tension inducing repetitious riffs, are something Ory had clearly worked on for a long time and were something of a feature – too much so, perhaps – of his splendid later date with Red Allen when they recorded things like Tuxedo Junction and Ain’t Misbehavin’.

I’ve always found Lee Sapphire an acquired taste; she has a cabaret vibrato and a hint of a classic blueswoman’s growl and they don’t quite fuse. Allied to her sleazy portamentos and something like The Glory of Love is strictly for "admirers only." Mind you it doubtless shows Ory’s phlegmatic and commercially minded astuteness; she probably pulled in the crowds at the club. Buckner is at his impressive best on Mahogany Hall Stomp – fiery and good – and it’s fine to listen to the famous bowed bass and accompanying piano chimes of Cobb and Glenn in Blues for Jimmy Noone. Buckner quotes like mad on Aunt Hagar’s Blues – but that big, fat tone offers fine compensation. But nothing can save pianist Harvey Brooks who spends much of Birth of the Blues ruinously quoting Gershwin. One of the most relaxed tracks is Yellow Dog Blues, one of the live performances here and it’s indicative of the way the band could stretch out rhythmically, without effort, in more congenial surroundings.

The other singer, Claire Austin, really does sit in the Bessie Smith tradition as safely as does, say, Ottilie Patterson. Austin came from Swedish/American parents and also worked with Scobey and Murphy amongst others. For these sides she’s joined just by Ory’s obbligato work and the rhythm section of Ewell, Garland and Hall. When she hangs behind the beat, as she does in ‘Fore Day Creep, she’s highly persuasive and her absorption of Smith’s style can hardly be denied or bettered. Ory’s playing here is gruff, quasi-rudimentary and will hardly efface memories of Charlie Green back in the ’20s – but if you’ve not yet heard these sides they add breadth and perspective to his tailgate playing.

The sound quality here is excellent; it’s transferred at a slightly higher level than I’ve heard before and is impressive throughout all the dates collected here.

Jonathan Woolf


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