February 19- Andy Schumm Quintet
"Original Chicago Five"
100th Anniversary of the first jazz recording made by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band"
They billed themselves “The Creators of Jazz” and their recordings still hold their own unique charm, 100 years after their initial release. However unfair and indicative of the racism of the era, the record “Livery Stable Blues”, coupled with “Dixie Jass Band One Step” became the first jazz record ever released on February 26, 1917. It was the first band to establish jazz as a musical idiom or genre. The group had formed in New Orleans; all of the musicians had played in Papa Jack Laine’s Reliance Brass Band at one time or another. In 1916 the band moved from New Orleans to Chicago, just like so many of the African-American and Creole musicians from that city.
The essence of New Orleans jazz, this band introduced a new music to the world in 1917 and dominated the recording market for over six years…unheard of in any recorded music genre to date. Bix Beiderbecke was influenced by the ODJB to become a jazz musician and was heavily influenced by Nick LaRocca’s trumpet style. Louis Armstrong acknowledged the band’s importance by saying “Only four years before I learned to play the trumpet in the Waif’s Home, in 1909, I heard this first great jazz orchestra formed by a cornet player named Dominic James “Nick” LaRocca. His orchestra had only five pieces but they were the hottest five pieces that had ever been known before”. The music they performed and recorded was their own and the band made American music history.
The following year they moved to New York where, on the recommendation of Al Jolson, they landed a gig at Reisenweber’s Café on Columbus Circle and 58th street, a fashionable restaurant and night-spot. Jimmy Durante was part of the audience and impressed with the band, invited them to play at a club called the Alamo in Harlem (148th St) where Jimmy played piano.
The band created quite a stir and Columbia rushed to record the band only two weeks after they had arrived. Then they played at the College Inn at Coney Island. The Original Dixieland Jazz Band went on to record and play in London, producing 20 tracks for Columbia, including another big hit, Soudan. They returned to America in July of 1920.
They signed a new record contract with Okey, but the public began to tire of them and they never regained the sales or popularity of their initial success. The group broke up in 1925 after La Rocca suffered a nervous breakdown. The surviving members briefly re-formed in 1936 and recorded some sides for Victor.
In 1940 the band re-formed yet again, but this time without La Rocca and recorded six sides for Bluebird. Today, Nick LaRocca's son, Jimmy LaRocca, continues to lead bands under the name The Original Dixieland Jazz Band.