Freddie Keppard: Stock Yards Strut


Stock Yards Strut


Freddie Keppard's Jazz Cardinals


The Complete Set: 1923-1926 (Challenge Records)

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Freddie Keppard (cornet), Johnny Dodds (clarinet),

Eddie Vincent (trombone), Jasper Taylor (woodblocks), Arthur Campbell (piano)


Composed by Jasper Taylor


Recorded: Chicago, September 1926


Rating: 93/100 (learn more)

The most famous Freddie Keppard recording session is the one he didn't make. In early 1916, the Victor Talking Machine Company tried to convince the New Orleans cornetist to record for their label—this would have been the first jazz session anywhere if Keppard had agreed. Instead he responded nothin' doin' because (according to the most famous account) he feared other players would "steal his stuff" if it were available on disk; or (if you believe another, not incompatible explanation) because of his dissatisfaction over financial terms; or, if we believe Sidney Bechet, Keppard (like Bartleby the Scrivener) refused to record simply because he preferred not to.

Less attention is paid to the music that Keppard actually recorded—albeit more than a decade later. But in "Stock Yards Strut" he plays with vigor and swing, and one can understand the claims of those who saw him as the great interregnum ruler of New Orleans cornet between the reigns of King Buddy (Bolden) and King Joe (Oliver). I wish we had more Keppard tracks at this level, and devotees of traditional sounds will forever dream of what this artist sounded like when he was in his mid-20s. Dream on, but don't dismiss this hot side, which contains some stuff eminently worth stealing.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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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