King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band: Riverside Blues
King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band
Off The Record: The Complete 1923 Jazz Band Recordings (Archeophone OTR-MM6-C2)
Charlie Jackson (bass saxophone).
Composed by Thomas A. Dorsey & Richard M. Jones.
Recorded: Richmond, Indiana, October 26, 1923
Rating: 99/100 (learn more)
A work of joy and salvation, this stirring piece sets the stage with four funereal minor-key measures, then emerges into a triumphant relative major, where it stays for the duration. As with "Jazzin' Babies Blues," it comes from the mind of Richard M. Jones, who also wrote "Trouble in Mind." It was on a New Orleans gig with Jones that King Oliver out-blew Freddie Keppard and made his first mark. Writing credit here also goes to Thomas A. Dorsey, who would compose "Peace in the Valley" (covered by Elvis Presley) and become known as the "father of gospel."
In fact, with the dirge-like beginning, the whole piece recalls a gospel service. Two staunch blues choruses, with everybody participating, give way to successive stop-time segments where individual players get to testify as "church members" say Amen behind them. With Charlie Jackson added on bass saxophone, the pounding voicings make you want to bow your head.
Armstrong takes the last testament, his cornet seeming to herald the arrival of a king. His anticipated entrances seem to say that, at the ripe old age of 22, he understood the entire plight of mankind. Perhaps this is why he became known to all of mankind.
Reviewer: Peter Gerler