Kid Ory


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As a prime surviving trombonist from the dawn of recorded jazz, Edward "Kid" Ory served as the eye of a hurricane driving the resurgence of traditional New Orleans entertainment during the mid-'40s. His radio broadcasts and the excellent studio recordings he cut during the second half of the 1940s helped to repopularize old-fashioned jazz and paved the way for a full-blown Dixieland revival during the 1950s. A healthy segment of those works are represented here in chronological detail. Trumpeter Mutt Carey blows some of his best solos on record, and fans of the Mutt should be grateful to Ory for all of this recorded evidence. One index for this leg of the Ory discography uses the clarinet players as coordinates. Darnell Howard was sturdy enough, even if he got a bit lost momentarily during his solo on "Ory's Creole Trombone." Albert Nicholas performed with characteristic eloquence during a 1946 V-Disc recording of the old Crescent City street anthem "High Society," and Barney Bigard shone like a comet throughout both of the Columbia sessions from October 1946. Joe Darensbourg, heard with Ory's band during the summer of 1950, managed to revive the use of slap-tongued clarinet without sounding foolish or dated. Bassist Morty Cobb was heavily featured during "Blues for Jimmie Noone." Ory himself was always dependably warm and gutsy, growling merrily on "Bucket's Got a Hole in It" and gurgling through his horn on "Mahogany Hall Stomp." Ory loved to sing Louisiana Creole French songs in his deep voice, cordially enunciating each lyric -- in a register lower than the trombone -- on "Eh, La Bas," "Creole Song," and "Creole Bo Bo" (the "Bo Bo" being a sort of dance). The other two singers are Helen Andrews, possessor of a booming voice corrugated with regular sheets of vibrato, and the soulful Lee Sapphire. Andrews was entrusted with a spiritual and a lament, while Sapphire handled the songs dealing with interpersonal relationships. Most importantly, perhaps, these 21 recordings represent a wealth of great old-time melodies. Here is "Bill Bailey" with the verse included. Here is "The World's Jazz Crazy," sounding a lot like "Ballin' the Jack." Here's "At a Georgia Camp Meeting" in all its 1890s splendor. And here is that harmless novelty "Yaaka Hula Hickey Dula," refreshingly brisk and brusque, with imitation "Polynesian" percussion provided by Minor "Ram" Hall.

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