This fascinating CD features some of the best jazz on record during 1917-1920. The Original Dixieland Jazz Band, the first jazz group ever to record, is featured on the first nine selections -- their full output for Columbia ("At the Darktown Strutters' Ball" and "Indiana") and Aeolian in 1917 after their first two hit songs for Victor. The other groups on this CD are all strongly influenced by the ODJB's colorful all-ensemble style. Earl Fuller's Famous Jazz Band, featuring clarinetist Ted Lewis, fares well on six numbers, there is one song apiece from Gorman's Novelty Syncopators and the Louisiana Five Jazz Orchestra (an expanded version of the Louisiana Five but still featuring clarinetist Alcide Nunez), and two numbers from the Whiteway Jazz Band. Five other selections are notable for having Jimmy Durante playing piano during his early jazz days, although he is almost inaudible. Durante appears with the New Orleans Jazz Band, the Original New Orleans Jazz Band (the same group), and, on "Why Cry Blues," as leader of Jimmy Durante's Jazz Band. Many of the selections on Pioneer Recording Bands were formerly rare, making this primitive but quite listenable collection of strong interest to vintage jazz collectors.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow