King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band: Jazzin' Babies Blues


Jazzin' Babies 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),

Arthur “Bud” Scott (banjo)


Composed by Richard M. Jones


Recorded: Chicago, Illinois, June 23, 1923


Rating: 98/100 (learn more)

Joe Oliver had so much power that he must have been born to play with a mute. According to Jelly Roll Morton, Oliver started putting bottles into his horn to tone himself down. But even with that impediment, he could come out screaming. He does so here, on an enduring composition by Richard M. Jones, a New Orleans accomplice who took part in arranging the Creole Band's Gennett sessions.

This tune resembles the New Orleans Rhythm Kings' "Tin Roof Blues," which the NORK had recorded three months earlier. Some proof exists that both tunes came out of a folk strain floating around New Orleans before everyone started moving to and recording around Chicago. There, Jones himself recorded the tune on solo piano just three weeks before this June 23, 1923 Okeh Creole Band date.

Oliver had brought in Bud Scott on banjo, and Scott drives the band like John Henry driving railroad spikes. The sound is informed by Johnny Dodds's exploratory clarinet work and by Oliver's slurred phrasing, which keeps the fire lit. His explosive muted cornet solo on the fourth chorus lets us know he has something to say beyond what's written on the sheet.

Reviewer: Peter Gerler

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