Just when life was beginning to look altogether too serious, Jazz Oracle reissued 19 nearly forgotten Edison Diamond Disc records played by Oreste & His Queensland Orchestra during the years 1926-1929. The sheer weight and mass of these platters, coupled with the fact that Edison records were designed so as to be playable only when using Edison phonographs, seems to have curtailed their circulation to some extent among collectors and reissue labels over the years. Additionally, dance bands of the '20s and '30s have long labored under the posthumous stigma of rinky-dink superfluity. With this unprecedented release, Jazz Oracle has made it possible for interested parties worldwide to draw their own conclusions about the ensemble led by Oreste Migliaccio, who was born in Naples, Italy in 1882 and emigrated to New York in 1902. By 1907 he was married and beginning to establish himself as a pianist and composer. Years of patient effort enabled him to gain a foothold as a performer in the early '20s; he steered the house band at New York's Peek Inn for a while and in 1926, assumed the leadership of an orchestra named for the Queensland Ballroom on Wyckoff Avenue in Brooklyn. The folks at Jazz Oracle specify that these are the hot recordings made by this group during their brief but busy heyday. Real jazz players in and amongst the variable personnel are said to include trumpeter Red Nichols, trombonist Miff Mole, reedmen Jimmy Dorsey and Don Murray, and that titan of the tuba, Joe Tarto. There are vocals by pop singers Jack Kaufman, Bert Dixon, J. Donald Parker, Arthur Fields, Theo Alban, the Songsters (Vic Hall and Ken Christie) or the Rollickers (Arthur Hall, John Ryan, and Ed Smalle), in addition to occasional irruptions by someone armed with either a Jew's harp or an ocarina. Oreste churned out about 30 recordings altogether; what you get here represents the first real exposure the band has had since before the 1929 stock market crash caused the Edison phonograph operation to throw in the towel. As for Oreste, he bought a house in Bellaire, NY in 1930, settled in, and passed away in 1973. In retrospect, his Queensland Orchestra seems to share a bandstand in the hereafter with the California Ramblers, the Ted Lewis Jazz Band, and the Isham Jones Orchestra.
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