The Georgians

1923-1924

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The Georgians in 1922 were the first jazz band to be assembled from a larger orchestra (not counting Paul Whiteman's Virginians, which were less jazz-oriented), a practice that would become common during the swing era. With trumpeter Frank Guarente as the star, pianist Arthur Schutt as the combo's main arranger, and drummer Chauncey Morehouse a key member, their records from 1922-1923 ranked with the finest jazz recordings of the time even if the group has since become quite obscure. Their first release (Retrieval 79003) is essential for 1920s collectors. 1923-1924 is slightly later, finishing the reissue of all of the Georgians' recordings with Guarente and also including two numbers from the Paul Specht Orchestra (from whom the Georgians' personnel was drawn) and a pair of selections by Specht's Society Serenaders (the Georgians under a different name) in 1922. In addition to their excellent instrumentals dating from November 1923 to May 1924, the band is heard backing singers Eddie Cantor, Billy Jones, Dolly Kay, and Blossom Seeley. Although the singers are fine for the period, it is the instrumentals (particularly the ones on the earlier CD) that are most memorable. It is very good to have their important performances readily available, showing that there was more going on in 1923 jazz than King Oliver.

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