The Original Jazz: Kid Ory and His Orchestra
1. Baby Face
2. Spanish Shawl
4. Down by the Riverside
5. Sweet Lorraine
6. The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise
Dance with Kid Ory or Just Listen
9. Four or Five Times
10. Down in Jungle Town
Kid Ory – Trombone, vocal (tracks 7, 9)
Marty Marsala – Trumpet (tracks 1-8), vocal (tracks 7, 8)
Alvin Alcorn – Trumpet (tracks 9, 10)
Darnell Howard – Clarinet (tracks 1-8)
Philip Gomez – Clarinet (tracks 9, 10)
Cedric Haywood – Piano
Frank Haggerty – Guitar (tracks 1-8)
Julian Davidson – Guitar (tracks 9, 10)
Charles Oden – String bass (tracks 1-8)
Wellman Braud – String bass (tracks 9, 10)
Earl Watkins – Drums (tracks 1-8)
Kansas Fields – Drums (tracks 9, 10)
Recorded on Dec. 5, 1956 in Paris; and Aug. 25 and Oct. 27, 1957 in Los Angeles,
This disc, part of the Kid Ory LP reissue series on CD that Upbeat has been releasing, is comprised of the following: tracks 1-6 from Verve LP MGV1023 ( The Original Jazz); tracks 7-8 from Verve LP MGV1022 (Dance with Kid Ory – the rest of this LP being on URCD 241); tracks 9-10
from Verve LP MGV8254 (Kid Ory in Europe – the rest of this LP being on URCD 236). As was true of the others in the series, the transfers
here are first class.
The album The Original Jazz could just as easily have been titled Dance Some More with Kid Ory. As a glance at the play list
reveals, most of the tunes on the CD are standards, and all of them, except possibly the last, are taken at eminently danceable tempos; while each provides
the several musicians solo space, occasionally more than one in a tune, there is nothing frantic about any of these solos, and even the frequent four-bar
tags by the respective drummers are also relatively restrained. And as most dancers (and many listeners) prefer, the melody is always to the fore, whether
in ensemble passages or solos.
On almost the entire disc the group is very laid back, and the tempos are steady. Perhaps an exception might be found in the last track, recorded at a
concert in Paris where the ambience was considerably different from that of the recording studio, thus affecting the choice of tempo and treatment. Baby Face and Ida are usually taken at a faster clip than they are here, and Spanish Shawl leans more toward the Richard M.
Jones version than the Fletcher Henderson one (and that of contemporary bands that I am familiar with) in terms of tempo. Even the banjo anthem, The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise, although more up-tempo than the others that precede it, is not a race to the finish line. Indeed, the time
allotted to each of these is almost triple that of the old days of the 78 records.
While Ory’s personnel varied through the years, the group featured on the first eight tracks plays what might be called “vintage Ory.” A steady four-four
rhythm centred on bass and guitar (which Ory preferred to banjo), occasionally aided by the chording of the piano, lays down a solid bed for the front
line. I particularly liked Marsala’s work on lead, his tone commanding and volume controlled, his notes carefully chosen and not excessive in number. There
is no call for earplugs on this album.
If what one wants is a raucous, flag waving performance, this is not the disc to get; but if one wants a relaxed, entertaining hour-plus of jazz played
effortlessly and providing an invitation to the dance, this is it. Of course, if one lacks a partner or the inclination to dance, one can, as the latter
part of the title of URCD 241 suggests, “... just listen.” Kudos to Upbeat for this series to date.