All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

377

Various: Jazz in the Charts 1/100: 1917-1921

Elliott Simon By

Sign in to view read count
The folks at Germany's Membran have completed a fascinating take on the history of jazz aptly named Jazz in the Charts. In the process, they have developed a one-of-a-kind compilation of every jazz recording to reach the Billboard charts between the years 1917 and 1954, years when jazz was truly America's popular music.

A massive one hundred-CD collection, it includes 2,211 recordings with each CD devoted to multiple years or, at the height of jazz's popularity, multiple CDs devoted to a single year. Like the label's other comprehensive collections, such as the 168-CD Ultimate Jazz Archive, the packaging is exceptional and a complete set graces a shelf. These are all original recordings remastered in superb 24 bit/96khz sound that has these nuggets sounding better than ever.

Now approaching ninety years later, Volume 1: Tiger Rag, covering the years 1917-1921, intrigues as it chronicles the beginnings of jazz as popular music. During a time when most New Orleans musicians were unknown nationally, The Original Dixieland Jazz Band hit the charts with "Livery Stable Blues. Jazz historians are not often kind to the ODJB, who are painted as pale imitations of the "real thing. They weigh in here with almost half of the cuts in these earliest years and, although light on improvisatory acumen, in the context of the popular music of the day they must have been revolutionary with their exciting stage show and performances that combined novelty with up-tempo dance music.

Two other artists that are much in evidence on Volume 1 are clarinetist Wilbur Sweatman, the first African-American to release a jazz recording, and Mamie Smith, the first African-American female to record blues vocally and whose Jazz Hounds featured pianist Willie "The Lion Smith. Volume 100: Mood Indigo highlights 1954 as jazz's popularity was receding with tunes by Armstrong, Basie and Nat King Cole. The remaining CDs include everything and everyone else to break into the American charts: Membran has issued in one place a series that will be of interest to the casual fan as well as the scholar.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read A New Beginning CD/LP/Track Review
A New Beginning
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 23, 2018
Read Onyx Noir - Jazz Works For Brass Quintet CD/LP/Track Review
Onyx Noir - Jazz Works For Brass Quintet
by Gareth Thompson
Published: June 23, 2018
Read Triad CD/LP/Track Review
Triad
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 23, 2018
Read Sketches of American Music CD/LP/Track Review
Sketches of American Music
by Doug Collette
Published: June 23, 2018
Read Three Pictures CD/LP/Track Review
Three Pictures
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 23, 2018
Read Alive In The East? CD/LP/Track Review
Alive In The East?
by Chris May
Published: June 22, 2018
Read "Provenance" CD/LP/Track Review Provenance
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 4, 2017
Read "All Smiles" CD/LP/Track Review All Smiles
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: August 31, 2017
Read "From Beyond" CD/LP/Track Review From Beyond
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 7, 2018
Read "Chain" CD/LP/Track Review Chain
by John Sharpe
Published: December 1, 2017
Read "Agrima" CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Gin & Moonlight" CD/LP/Track Review Gin & Moonlight
by James Nadal
Published: August 26, 2017