Kid Ory

Portrait of the Greatest Slideman Ever Born

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Edward "Kid" Ory (1886-1973) was one of the very first jazz trombonists, and is credited with perfecting and popularizing the growling tailgate style associated with the New Orleans jazz tradition. In 2003 the Upbeat Jazz label hauled off and released their Portrait of the Greatest Slideman Ever Born, a Kid Ory collection containing material drawn from the beginning, the middle, and the end of his lengthy performing career. "Ory's Creole Trombone" was recorded in Los Angeles in June of 1922. Present with Ory at that session (and gigging with him regularly at the Wayside Park Café) were trumpeter "Papa" Mutt Carey, clarinetist Dink Johnson, pianist Fred Washington, bassist Ed Garland, and drummer Ben Borders. Unfortunately, the excellent flipside ("Society Blues") is not included here. Tracks two through 22 constitute what are believed to be the complete Orson Welles Mercury Theater Radio Show air shot recordings of Ory and the "All Star Jazz Group," an ensemble brought together especially for Welles by Marili Morden, owner of the Jazz Man Record Shop in Hollywood and future spouse of Nesuhi Ertegun, the co-founder of Atlantic Records. A devout jazz head, Morden sought Ory out, discovered him sorting mail at the Santa Fe railway station in L.A., and convinced him to come out of retirement. The Welles broadcasts, then, are precious artifacts of this musician's triumphal comeback, a return to active musicianship that rekindled his interest in a career that would continue for more than 25 years. In addition to Ory and Carey, the "All Star Jazz Group" featured three different clarinetists; first the legendary and archetypal Jimmie Noone, then after his sudden death Wade Whaley, and finally Duke Ellington's star soloist Barney Bigard, soon to become a cardinal member of Louis Armstrong's All Stars. The collective personnel from these air check recordings also included trumpeter Norman Bowden, guitarist Bud Scott, bassist Ed Garland, and drummer Zutty Singleton. The vocalist on the "E Flat Blues" was Helen Andrews, and the emcee was of course Orson Welles. The music purveyed during these broadcasts was straight out of the old-fashioned New Orleans repertoire, which would come to define the canonic parameters of what was soon being called the Dixieland Revival. Tracks 23-28 are previously unreleased recordings of an elderly Ory performing at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival 1971 alongside trumpeter Thomas Jefferson, clarinetist Raymond Burke, pianist Don Ewell, banjo/guitarists Emanuel Sayles and Danny Barker, the by now truly ancient string bassist Ed Garland, and drummer Freddie Kohlman. Especially if one suspends all conventionally constrained critical notions of how music is supposed to be played, these old men sound magnificent as they dish out apple pie melodies like "Big Butter and Egg Man," "I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate," the "Yellow Dog Blues," and "Bill Bailey, Won't You Please Come Home."

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