Song:New Orleans Stomp
Album:The Complete Set
Joe "King" Oliver is an important jazz pioneer mainly because Louis Armstrong was in his band. Oliver's own music isn't as compelling. But some of his songs are jazz standards. Armstrong always gave Oliver full credit for helping him. These 1923 recordings are essential. Oliver was born Dec. 19, 1881 in Aben, LA but he grew up in New Orleans. He started out playing trombone and then switched to cornet. He played in local bands in the 10s. But his most significant band at the time was probably with trombonist Kid Ory. And it was Ory who named him King Oliver. The band was very popular but racism forced Oliver to move with his family to Chicago in 1918. There he worked with guys like clarinetist Lawrence Duhe and bassist Bill Johnson. For a while they moved to San Francisco. But they moved back to Chicago in 1922. And this is when King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band was formed with Louis Armstrong on cornet, Johnny Dodds on clarinet, Honore Dutrey on trombone, Lil Hardin on piano, William Manuel Johnson on bass and Baby Dodds on drums. This band recorded for Columbia's race label Okeh in 1923. Of course the key figures were Armstrong and his wife Hardin and Johnny Dodds who would go on to revolutionize jazz with the Hot 7 and Hot 5 recordings in 1927. But King Oliver is where it started. New Orleans Stomp was recorded Oct. 16, 1923 in Chicago. It was written by Louis Armstrong and Lil Hardin and probably arranged by Hardin and she would go on to arrange many of Armstrong's recordings. Ed Atkins was the trombonist on this session and Johnny St. Cyr payed banjo as he would on many of Armstrong's recordings. It's fairly typical of Oliver's recordings as individual solos hadn't become common yet. This 2CD comp covers the 1923 recordings. Armstrong would record New Orleans Stomp with Johnny Dodds in 1927 on Vocalion. Armstrong was under contract to Okeh at the time so he was being a bad boy. And then Armstrong added lyrics to New Orleans Stomp for the 1959 album Satchmo Plays King Oliver on Audio Fidelity. But it wasn't on the album. It was released years later and it does turn up on CD. After Armstrong left Oliver's band, Oliver attempted to continue with Henry "Red" Allen. But health problems caused by gum disease forced Oliver into retirement and he died on Apr. 10, 1938 at age 52. Obviously King Oliver is forgotten today but his importance in Louis Armstrong's career should be remembered. Here's a video for New Orleans Stomp by King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band.