Kid Ory

1922-1945

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Kid Ory was one of the first jazz trombonists, and the very first New Orleans musician of color to commit his sounds to phonograph records. The Classics chronology of complete recordings made under the leadership of Kid Ory begins with two smart instrumentals, recorded in Los Angeles in June of 1922. Originally issued on the Nordskog label as by Spikes' Seven Pods of Pepper Orchestra, these sides also appeared on Sunshine Records under the heading of Ory's Sunshine Orchestra. After the showy ragtime novelty "Ory's Creole Trombone," destined to be revived a few years later with Louis Armstrong & His Hot Five, "Society Blues" comes across with soulful sophistication. Mutt Carey's cornet interacts pleasantly with Ory's slip horn and the clarinet of Dink Johnson, brother of primal Crescent City bassist Bill Johnson. This is a rare opportunity to hear Dink blowing a wind instrument. After disappearing for a long spell, Dink would show up years later on record as a growling, beer-swilling ragtime and barrelhouse piano player. Four additional sides were waxed on or around that same day in 1922, using Ory's ensemble to back up two blues vocalists. Roberta Dudley sang with a lot of exaggerated, stylized vibrato, belting out the lyrics in an over-the-top manner. The second vocalist, identified as Ruth Lee, also warbles but sounds just a bit more natural than Dudley. The transfers of these old platters are as good as on any other reissue. In fact, judging from variances in surface noise, the same masters may have been used for Classics 1069 as were employed on Document 1002. The great thing about this CD is the consistent presence of Mutt Carey and bassist Ed Garland throughout, even as Ory's chronology leaps ahead 22 years to his West Coast comeback. Four titles, apparently the first ever issued on the Circle record label, find Ory, Mutt and clarinetist Omer Simeon supported by a strong rhythm section. Plowing through 1945, Ory led his band in the creation of a virtual blueprint for the New Orleans Revival by waxing a body of outstanding records in the style of his hometown. These wonderful performances became available to the public on the Crescent, Exner and Decca labels, and much of the material would be carefully revisited on Ory's finely crafted albums brought out during the 1950s by the Good Time Jazz record company. Kid Ory's music is substantial, entertaining and very reassuring.

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