Retrieval Records: Treasures Lost and Found
While the General Phonograph Corporation was down in New Orleans, another cornet player caught its ear. This was Stirling Bose, who played with the Original Crescent City Jazzers. During 1925-42, Bose and his men were musical nomads. These years saw them move from New Orleans to St. Louis, Kansas City to Chicago and then to New York City.
The group decided to change its name from the Original Crescent City Jazzers to the Arcadian Serenaders in honor of the ballroom they played at in St. Louis. Stirling Bose wound up playing with just about every big name from the swing era: Ben Pollack, Tommy Dorsey, Ray Noble, Bob Crosby, Glenn Miller and even with Benny Goodman while filming in Hollywood.
As far as the overall style of the band, it was a cross combination between the classic New Orleans style and the new sound of Bix Beiderbecke and Frankie Trumbauerthe latter so much, that Cliff Holman's delivery on the alto sax made jazz enthusiasts believe that Frankie Trumbauer himself had come to sit in with them! Bose's style was so similar to Bix Beiderbecke's (not only in sound but also in fluidity and modernity) that he was called to take Beiderbecke's chair in the Jean Goldkette Band after Beiderbecke had left. Interesting note to listeners: the first session under the Arcadian Serenaders' new name actually had Wingy Manone substituting for Bose.
Standout tracks: Eccentric; Lucky Kentucky; Brown Eyes; When My Sugar Walks Down the Street; Sensation Rag; Chrstine; Bobbed Haired Bobbie; You Gotta Know How; Just a Little Bit Bad.
The Georgians came about as a result of an offshoot group from Frank Guarente's Orchestra. Guarente's Orchestra was booked at the Hotel Alamac in New York City. The Hotel Alamac had a nightclub labeled as the Congo Room. Guarente picked some of the best players from his orchestra to comprise what we now know as the Georgians. Incidentally, the Georgians produced some of the best jazz in the "pre-Bix" (Bix Beiderbecke) or "pre-Louis" (Louis Armstrong) era.
Arthur Schutt was the band's pianist and his style of piano playing is so different and modern that some jazz enthusiasts call Schutt's style a "pre-echo" of Thelonious Monk's approach. Guarente played trumpet and his style was closely linked to that of King Oliver and Freddie Keppard (who were the best of this respective era). Guarente actually came over to the United States on a boat from Italy and eventually settled in New Orleans, Louisiana. While in New Orleans, he was exposed to some of the best jazz and blues around. In fact, Guarente found King Oliver and traded lessons with him. He taught Oliver certain trumpet techniques and how to sight-read, and Oliver taught him how to improvise and hear chords go by. So, as unbelievable as it may sound, if you want to hear the guy who taught King Oliver how to read music, you need to give a listen to the Georgians.
In 1921, Guarente joined Paul Specht's Orchestra. Specht owned a booking agency and placed Guarente in charge of booking European bands into British venues. This area of the agency grew to quite an extent, showing Guarente's promise. In 1922, the Georgians made their recording debut as Specht's Society Syncopators. By its next record, the Georgians were recording for Columbia Records. Unfortunately, one of the policies at Columbia Records was to have someone polish the masters of their catalog. Over time, this polishing rubbed away many of the recorded grooves on the records. Because of this, Retrieval has tried diligently to find the lowest stamper numbers in order to provide the clearest sound available for this disc.
As a group, the Georgians were polished in many areas (all puns intended). They were very effective on up-tempo tunes as well as slow blues and pop tunes for the day. Even the song "Old King Tut" was recorded in response to current eventsHoward Carter and Lord Caernarvon had opened King Tutankhamen's tomb the previous year, starting the entire King Tut craze (some things never change: see Steve Martin). One of the things the Georgians must be given credit for is that it was one of the first bands (black or white) to have well crafted arrangements documenting the spirit and rhythms of jazz. This is large part due to both Arthur Schutt's experimentation and growth and Guarente's technique and power on the trumpet as well as his time spent with King Oliver.
Standout tracks: Learn to Do the Strut; I'm Sitting Pretty in a Pretty Little City; Long Lost Mamma; Old King Tut; Snakes Hips; Chicago (That Toddling Town).
Pre-Victors, The Complete Set: 1925-1927