King Oliver and his Dixie Syncopators: Farewell Blues


Farewell Blues


King Oliver and his Dixie Syncopators


Farewell Blues (Frog UK)

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Joe 'King' Oliver (cornet),

unidentified second cornetist, James Archey (trombone), possibly Omer Simeon (clarinet), possibly Paul Barnes and Barney Bigard (saxes), unknown piano, possibly Lawson Buford (tuba), possibly Paul Barbarin (drums)


Composed by Elmer Schoebel, Paul Mares & Leon Rappolo


Recorded: New York, November 18, 1927


Rating: 99/100 (learn more)

Despite all the acclaim for King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band and its historic issue of 37 sides, this cover of the New Orleans Rhythm Kings' "Farewell Blues" may rank as my all-time Oliver favorite. The NORK had recorded it five years earlier, also at Gennett Studios. Their white band was known to emulate the African-Americans—particularly Oliver—and they often succeeded. Listen to their composition "Angry" and their romping "Sobbin' Blues," both recorded the same day in August 1923.

But here the Dixie Syncopators take the NORK's hopping tempo and cut it 18% (by my metronomic measurement) down to size, giving the feel of a huge riverboat rolling. I like to call the effect "long-wave swing," where the piece as a whole swings—rather than any one section, segment or instrument. Note the final two coming-together choruses, with the clarinet rising on the second. Although they play from a printed score, this band ain't goin' nowhere, since they're already there and screaming for glory.

Reviewer: Peter Gerler

If you liked this track, also check out

King Oliver: Dippermouth Blues
Johnny Dodds: Perdido Street Blues
Kid Ory: Ory’s Creole Trombone

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