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Original Dixieland Jazz Band

Original Dixieland Jass Band (ODJB) was a New Orleans band that made the first jazz recording in 1917. The group made the first recordings of many jazz standards, probably the most famous being "Tiger Rag." In late 1917 it changed the name's spelling to "Jazz." The band consisted of five white musicians who had previously played in the Papa Jack Laine bands, a diverse and racially integrated collection of musicians who played for parades, dances, and advertising in New Orleans. The Original Dixieland Jazz Band, who billed themselves "The Creators of Jazz", have long been been dismissed as the White guys who copied African- American music, and called it their own. There is a lot of truth to that statement, but on the other hand, The Original Dixieland Jazz Band's recordings still hold their own unique charm, over 80 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 for the Victor Talking Machine Company. It was wildly successful. Its release signaled the beginning of the Jazz age and helped define the wild, exuberent era we call the "Roaring Twenties". The Original Dixieland Jazz Band had recorded for Columbia in January 1917, but the session was unsuccessful and the band had to come back and re- record the songs, thus the release of the Columbia sides did not come about until after the amazing success of the Victor records. 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. In Chicago, they played a season at the Booster Club under the name of Stein's Dixie Jass Band. At the beginning of the following year the band ditched Stein and 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. The band created quite a stir and Columbia rushed to record the band only two weeks after they had arrived in the city. The band was an immediate success, with their wacky stage antics, like wearing top hats that spelled out "Dixie", playing the trombone's slide with the foot, and so on.

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Radio & Podcasts

Jazz Comes to Records (1917)

Read "Jazz Comes to Records (1917)" reviewed by Russell Perry

This is the first in a series of programs that will play representative music from 100 years of jazz history. We will explore the broad sweep of that narrative; its representative and its idiosyncratic players; its durable movements and dead ends; its popular recordings and rarities. We hope you will join us over the next 100 hours to celebrate Jazz at 100. On February 26, 1917, five musicians from New Orleans recorded for Victor in New York ...

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