OT...(apologies) ODJB - Playlist?

OT...(apologies) ODJB - Playlist?

Simon Jones
Simon Jones

October 7th, 2011, 5:08 pm #1

Hello All,

Apologies that this is a little off topic, but this seems to be the best place to ask a jazz question - and get a sensible answer!

With regards to the ODJB, do we have any idea of their repertoire of music, as in what tunes they played "in concert" etc...I have a good understanding of the discography, however a recent purchase from eBay got me thinking - its an advert from the Herman Darewski Music Publishers in London over here in the UK... it claims that the ODJB plays all the Herman Darewski "Jazz Dances"...is this true?...(there are the ODJB numbers mixed in in the list given)...or just advertising puffery?

Do we have any idea of the scope of their repertoire other than their recorded examples?

Cheers

Simon
Reply
Share

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

October 7th, 2011, 9:08 pm #2


Your question is not OT. It falls well withing the scope of the forum.

We are back to what we have called here the "iceberg effect." The recording output of a band is but a small fraction of what the band played in various dancing venues. Take the ODJB at the beginning of 1919. They had recorded maybe about 20 numbers. Your question was what did they play in a typical engagement? We don't know, but we can be sure that they had a lot more than 20 numbers in their book. Moreover, dancers expected to have a variety of dances during their night out. It could not be all fast numbers: even the young dancers would have been exhausted if there was no variety.  I remind all that the recording output of  the ODJB shows that waltzes were part of their repertoire, think of  "Alice Blue Gown" and "I'm Forever Blowiing Bubbles." They had slow, soft numbers. In an interview, Eddie Edwards stated, " The Dixielanders often played soft: the clarinet would remain in the lower register, the drums would take to wood blocks and bass drum, the trumpet used a 'shell,' while I used a home made mute on trombone. The band often played soft and ratty (the band pronounced it raddy) so that the shuffle of the dancers' feet could be heard." I would not be surprised if the band played tangos, a popular dance in the 1910s and 1920s.

I am afraid I cannot be more specific, I have not seen an actual program or list of numbers played by the ODJB at a typical dance.

Albert
Reply
Like
Share

Glenda Childress
Glenda Childress

October 7th, 2011, 11:33 pm #3

Hello All,

Apologies that this is a little off topic, but this seems to be the best place to ask a jazz question - and get a sensible answer!

With regards to the ODJB, do we have any idea of their repertoire of music, as in what tunes they played "in concert" etc...I have a good understanding of the discography, however a recent purchase from eBay got me thinking - its an advert from the Herman Darewski Music Publishers in London over here in the UK... it claims that the ODJB plays all the Herman Darewski "Jazz Dances"...is this true?...(there are the ODJB numbers mixed in in the list given)...or just advertising puffery?

Do we have any idea of the scope of their repertoire other than their recorded examples?

Cheers

Simon
Simon Jones is in a good place to do some research on non-recorded songs by the ODJB. We know that they played the Hippodrome and appeared in a command performance before George V at Buckingham Palace. Surely there must exist playbills or programs or newspaper accounts from those performances which would include the names of songs not recorded which would give us some idea what they played nightly.
Reply
Share

Nick Dellow
Nick Dellow

October 8th, 2011, 12:38 pm #4


No playlist I'm sorry to say, but I can at least provide this account of the ODJB's performance in "Joy Bells" at the Hippodrome, penned by Cora Lawrence for "Town Topics" of April 12th, 1919:-

"....On the occasion of their performance they gave us a demonstration of undiluted Jazz, and it must be admitted, despite all that has been thought and said to the contrary, there was a certain charm in the mournful refrains, dramatically broken by cheery jingles and a miscellany of noises such as one generally hears "off." At one moment the whole orchestra would down tools while one member tootled merrily or eerily on his own account, and then they would resume again, always ready to give a fair hearing to any other individual player who suddenly developed a "stunt." Everybody was perfectly happy, not excluding the audience who appreciated a novelty not inartistic."

Could this be the earliest description of a jazz solo being performed live?


Nick
Reply
Share

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

October 8th, 2011, 9:04 pm #5

Reply
Like
Share

Glenda Childress
Glenda Childress

October 9th, 2011, 1:43 am #6

No playlist I'm sorry to say, but I can at least provide this account of the ODJB's performance in "Joy Bells" at the Hippodrome, penned by Cora Lawrence for "Town Topics" of April 12th, 1919:-

"....On the occasion of their performance they gave us a demonstration of undiluted Jazz, and it must be admitted, despite all that has been thought and said to the contrary, there was a certain charm in the mournful refrains, dramatically broken by cheery jingles and a miscellany of noises such as one generally hears "off." At one moment the whole orchestra would down tools while one member tootled merrily or eerily on his own account, and then they would resume again, always ready to give a fair hearing to any other individual player who suddenly developed a "stunt." Everybody was perfectly happy, not excluding the audience who appreciated a novelty not inartistic."

Could this be the earliest description of a jazz solo being performed live?


Nick
It is remarkable that this reviewer refers to what we would identify as improvised solos as "novelties" or "stunts." Jazz writing certainly progressed rapidly over the next 15 or so years.
Reply
Share

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

October 9th, 2011, 10:01 pm #7

No playlist I'm sorry to say, but I can at least provide this account of the ODJB's performance in "Joy Bells" at the Hippodrome, penned by Cora Lawrence for "Town Topics" of April 12th, 1919:-

"....On the occasion of their performance they gave us a demonstration of undiluted Jazz, and it must be admitted, despite all that has been thought and said to the contrary, there was a certain charm in the mournful refrains, dramatically broken by cheery jingles and a miscellany of noises such as one generally hears "off." At one moment the whole orchestra would down tools while one member tootled merrily or eerily on his own account, and then they would resume again, always ready to give a fair hearing to any other individual player who suddenly developed a "stunt." Everybody was perfectly happy, not excluding the audience who appreciated a novelty not inartistic."

Could this be the earliest description of a jazz solo being performed live?


Nick
Han Enderman sends the following comment.
<div><em>My impression is that this description refers to breaks, and the ODJB played many of them, I think more than any other group. The whole orchestra stops, "One member tootles merrily" and then the band resumes. The individual expression is the break, and not yet the solo.</em></div><div><em>Are there real solos on ODJB recordings, i.e. by an instrument accompanied only by rhythm (in this case p/d) ? </em></div><div><em>Maybe Shields in St. Louis Blues is the first solo (though with rhythmic sax effects?), and even the vocal is accompanied by the full band).</em></div><div><em>There are no solos on Lazy Daddy (1918) and Margie (1920), recorded before and after the UK trip.</em></div><div><em>A similar lack of real solos can be heard at the wonderful first recordings by the George Lewis band in New Orleans in 1943, with Kid Howard, trumpet. Here a "solo" means that one instrument plays louder, and the others softer.</em></div><div><em></em> </div><div>I would argue that Larry Shields definitely plays a 24-bar solo in "St Louis Blues." Listen at 2:20-2:56. Perhaps, the first clarinet solo in a jazz record.</div><div><em></em> </div><div>http://www.jazz-on-line.com/a/ramc/VIC25412-2.ram</div><div> </div><div>As to the description in "Town Topics" of April 12th, 1919, I believe that the statement  </div><div> </div><div><em>At one moment the whole orchestra would down tools while one member tootled merrily or eerily on his own account, and then they would resume again, always ready to give a fair hearing to any other individual player who suddenly developed a "stunt." </em></div><div><em></em> </div><div>could easily be applicable to "breaks" as well as to "solos." The writer calls these "stunts." Are they breaks or solos? I would guess both.</div><div> </div><div>I agree that few solos are heard in ODJB recordidngs. But how do we know what the band played in live performances? The band was not restricted by time constraints associated with the recording technology of the late 1910s and early 1920s. It is quite possible that they did play solos in live performances and that the writer of the "Town Topics" article not knowing what word to use to refer to solos used the word "stunt." Indeed, a solo is a stunt (Dictionary definition: <strong> </strong>A feat displaying unusual strength, skill, or daring.)</div><div> </div><div>Albert</div>
Reply
Like
Share

Glenda Childress
Glenda Childress

October 10th, 2011, 1:08 pm #8

I agree. As has been much discussed in many contexts, recording time was stringently limited back then, but we can imagine that in performances, especially playing for dancing, jazz performers even of this early period could and did "stretch" out a song, especially if it was being well received, throwing in extra choruses and soloing around the front line. We can reasonably speculate that they used the same body language cues to signal players to solo and when to go into the last chorus that we see today (e.g., the two quick one-footed stomps which means "Let's all hit it for the rideout!"to make sure everyone "finished together" which everyone could <em>feel</em> even if they weren't watching the lead player).

We can't know for sure, but even in the ODJB's time bands in New Orleans had been playing for dancers and drinkers for decades and had to be able to stretch their repertoire to fit the circumstances. The players were improvising what they played in the ensemble sections (that's what makes it jazz), so soloing wouldn't be that different for them. After all, even classical music had a long tradition of soloing and featuring single section segment (horns, violins, woodwinds, etc.).
Reply
Share

Brad Kay
Brad Kay

October 16th, 2011, 7:00 am #9

The two choruses of blues by Larry Shields on "St. Louis Blues" is well on the way to being a jazz solo (or "Boston") as we understand the term. It's not improvised - but a carefully worked out set-piece that remained the same from performance to performance. However, since it does have all the attitude and feeling we expect from this music, and it is not part of the ensemble, I accept it as the first full-out "solo" on a jazz record.

But - if spontaneous invention is crucial to the art of soloing, then it remained for such players as Sidney Bechet, Louis Armstrong and Bix to put this art fairly on its rails.

I have always found it curious that before 1923, there isn't a hot improvised solo chorus or fraction thereof to be found on a record - only two-bar breaks. Then with the coming of the new year, suddenly full solos abound. On records from January '23 on, not only Bechet and Armstrong, but lots of other musicians, black and white, take the solo plunge. It seems a profound and lightning paradigm shift happened: Suddenly in dance and jazz bands, it was normal and expected that in the course of a hot number, one guy would stand up and strut his creative stuff. This was no quick-spreading fad that petered out after a time. It was a tidal wave that completely transformed our perception of music.

What caused this shift? Was it the "Hundredth Monkey Theory" in action? Louis Armstrong gets a lot of credit for making jazz over into a "Soloist's Art." But even he couldn't have altered the very modus operandi of the music in such short order as the evidence of phonograph records suggests.

-Brad Kay
Reply
Share

Brad Kay
Brad Kay

October 20th, 2011, 12:15 am #10

Reply
Share