King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band: Chimes Blues (alternate review)
King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band
Off the Record: The Complete 1923 Jazz Band Recordings (Archeophone OTR-MM6-C2)
William M. Johnson (banjo).
Composed by Joseph Oliver.
Recorded: Richmond, Indiana, April 5, 1923
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
Everything about this track screams 1923. Cornets instead of trumpets, clarinet not saxophone, banjo not guitar, woodblock in lieu of drums. Even instruments that might sound modern—trombone and piano—are dated by Dutrey's corny glissading and Lil's 2-beat backing. And the audio is, to put it politely, primitive. So what makes this track a landmark? How about because it contains Louis Armstrong's first recorded solo! At this point, Chicago Jazz was still very much a New Orleans import. But thanks to Louis, the music was transiting from ensemble to individual, something "Chimes Blues" captures in mid-commute. A fascinating, irreplaceable piece of history.
Reviewer: Alan Kurtz