King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band: Dippermouth Blues


Dippermouth Blues


King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band


Off The Record: The Complete 1923 Jazz Band Recordings (Archeophone OTR-MM6-C2)

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Joe 'King' Oliver (cornet), Louis Armstrong (cornet), Honoré Dutrey (trombone), Johnny Dodds (clarinet), Lil Hardin (piano), Baby Dodds (drums),

William M. Johnson (banjo)


Composed by Joseph Oliver & Louis Armstrong


Recorded: Richmond, Indiana, April 6, 1923


Rating: 98/100 (learn more)

"Dippermouth Blues," from the second day of the original Gennett sessions, opens with a 4-bar diminished lead, then takes us on a gallivanting two-chorus ride over the hills, driven by a one-bar ostinato motor. As with any good motor, the parts diligently repeat their functions - as do the trombone and clarinet here, providing support for the lead cornet. The ensemble takes us to a stop-time clarinet solo. While seeming to "toot" along, Johnny Dodds - without slurring - hangs in tempo and in groove. He was known to take his music seriously.

Following another ensemble, we're into the centerpiece: King Oliver's famed three-chorus muted cornet solo. He comes in bawling and goes out rocking. Oliver's blues was the essence of his playing, and it shapes this tune. It was said he could carry a conversation using only his "talking" horn. Here, amidst the swing, he is a lone voice crying to be heard. Over a decade later, in "Sugarfoot Stomp," the Benny Goodman Orchestra still copied Oliver's "Dippermouth" solo.

Reviewer: Peter Gerler

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