New Orleans Rhythm Kings: Tin Roof Blues


Tin Roof Blues


New Orleans Rhythm Kings


The Chronological New Orleans Rhythm Kings, 1922-1923 (Classics 1129)

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Paul Mares (cornet), George Brunies (trombone), Leon Roppolo (clarinet), Mel Stitzel (piano), Ben Pollack (drums).

Composed by Paul Mares, George Brunies, Leon Roppolo, Mel Stitzel, Ben Pollack & Walter Melrose


Recorded: Richmond, Indiana, March 13, 1923


Rating: 98/100 (learn more)

"Tin Roof Blues" was one of the New Orleans Rhythm Kings' greatest successes, and it's easy to hear why: this may be one of the most elegant records in early jazz. Here, in the weeks before Louis Armstrong made his first recordings, a group of white jazz musicians recording in the middle of Indiana proved that they had already learned the maxim that "less is more". They also showed that playing from the soul could make up for any technical limitations, which must have been a fairly revolutionary concept in those days. Only the early classic blues singers were recording by this time, and I suspect that the NORK listened to and learned well from many of those early sides. "Tin Roof" also shows us that the horn men had a simple, but effective solo concept (something else that wasn't common in early 1923). After the delicate and mournful opening theme, Brunies and Ropollo play solos that aren't virtuosic displays, but effective and complete statements. Brunies' rhythm is quite loose and Ropollo gets a lot of mileage out of simple bent notes. Mares' fine lead playing brings up the intensity just enough to create a definite but subdued ending.

Reviewer: Thomas Cunniffe

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