ORY, Kid: Ory's Creole Trombone
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KID ORY Vol. 2
'Ory's Creole Trombone' Original Recordings 1945-1953
Kid Ory was a New Orleans jazz pioneer who wasconsidered the most important trombonist in1915. As with some of the more fortunate of theearly New Orleans legends, he survived into the1920s, moved up North and appeared on somefamous recordings. Unlike most of hiscontemporaries, Ory had a very busy later career,making a full comeback during 1944-45 andleading one of the most popular New Orleansjazz groups of the next fifteen years.
Edward 'Kid' Ory was born 25 December1886 in La Place, Louisiana. He first startedplaying music on banjo when he was ten, soonbegan doubling on valve trombone andeventually settled on the slide trombone. Oryvisited nearby New Orleans several times earlyon, moving to the Crescent City in 1912 when hewas already 25. He quickly established himself asone of the city's top bandleaders, heading aseries of groups during the next seven years thatfeatured many of the major players in townincluding cornetist King Oliver, his successorLouis Armstrong, and clarinettists Johnny Dodds,Sidney Bechet and Jimmie Noone. During thisperiod Ory's 'tailgate' style of trombone wasconsidered definitive. He used his horn to playrhythmic bass lines and harmonies behind thetrumpet and clarinet, defining how the trombonewould be used in traditional New Orleans anddixieland ensembles from then on.
In 1919 Ory moved to California, takingsome top New Orleans players with him andhelping to introduce freewheeling jazz to SanFrancisco, Los Angeles and Oakland. With MuttCarey on cornet, Ory recorded two numbers in1922 as the leader of a band called Spike's SevenPods Of Pepper Orchestra; these are consideredthe earliest recordings by a black New Orleansjazz band. In 1925 he relocated to Chicago andduring the remainder of the decade appeared onan impressive assortment of classic recordings insuch bands as Louis Armstrong's Hot Five, KingOliver's Dixie Syncopators, Johnny Dodds andJelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers. Even afterthe rise of more modern trombonists, mostnotably Miff Mole and Jack Teagarden, Ory's wasconsidered the definitive New Orleans style.
With the rise of the Depression and the collapseof the recording industry, job opportunitiesbegan to become scarce after 1930. Ory movedback to Los Angeles, freelanced for a bit and thenin 1933 dropped out of music altogether to helphis brother run a chicken farm. He hardly playedmusic at all for a decade and, since he turned 55in 1942, it would not have been surprising if he'dnever returned to the music scene.
However things turned out much different.
New Orleans jazz made a comeback in the 1940sand there was an audience who wanted to hearthe older surviving jazz pioneers. One of the fansof the music was actor-director Orson Welleswho was hosting a radio show during the era andwanted to feature an authentic sounding NewOrleans band during a five-minute slot in eachprogram. Kid Ory's name was suggested andsince he had regained his former form during astint with clarinettist Barney Bigard's group, Orywas enlisted to put together a band. As it turnedout, the radio show was the perfect launchingband for Kid Ory's Creole Jazz Band for theirweekly feature was considered the highlight ofthe show. Soon Ory was playing regularly in LosAngeles clubs and appearing on records again.
'Ory's Creole Trombone' has twenty of KidOry's finest recordings of the 1945-53 period.
This is very easy music to enjoy, filled withcolorful ensembles and personable solos. Itcould be called dixieland, New Orleans jazz orjust plain happy high quality music.
The first ten selections have Mutt Carey, wholike Ory had come out of retirement, joining hisold boss in the front line. With former Jelly RollMorton clarinettist Darnell Howard aboard forthe first seven numbers, the well-integrated bandswings hard on Maryland, My Maryland, WilburSweatman's Down Home Rag and 1919 Rag (asong that they successfully revived) on the 8September 1945 session. The music probablysounds similar to the jazz played in New Orleanswhen Ory left in 1919 except that there is morespace for solos. It is certainly light years awayfrom the big swing bands or the new bebopmusic of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie thatwas emerging that same year.
The 3 November 1945 date has the samepersonnel performing four dixieland standards.
Original Dixieland One-Step was from therepertoire of the Original Dixieland Jazz Bandand Ory's Creole Trombone was one of the twonumbers recorded by Ory in 1922 and was alsopreviously recorded by the trombonist with LouisArmstrong's Hot Five. Maple Leaf Rag was thegreatest hit of the ragtime era (and nearly theonly rag to become a standard) and Weary Blueshad been immortalized by Louis Armstrong's HotSeven, a band that Ory missed playing with.
The same edition of the Creole Jazz Band in1946 with Barney Bigard succeeding Howardperforms some unusual material. Joshua Fit TheBattle Of Jericho has a very familiar melodythough it has rarely been played in a jazz setting;Helen Andrews and banjoist Bud Scott have thevocals. Blues singer Trixie Smith's The World'sJazz Crazy, Lawdy So Am I will sound familiar todixieland fans for it is the same song as \Ballin'The Jack." Creole Bo Bo is a childlike tunewritten by Kid Ory and his wife Cecile that has aresemblance to "Mary Had A Little Lamb" butwith some extensions and a vocal by Ory inFrench.
Although the Kid Ory group only had onerecord date during 1947-49, its popularityactually grew during this period and the CreoleJazz Band was now thought of as one of the toprepresentatives of vintage New Orleans jazz.
With the exception of the leader anddrummer Minor Hall, the sextet's personnel hadchanged completely by 1950 but the band's stylestayed consistent. The biggest change was thatthe relatively primitive cornetist Mutt Carey hadbeen succeeded by the powerful LouisArmstrong-inspired trumpeter Teddy Buckner.
Joe Darensbourg was in Bigard and Howard'splace (filling a similar role) and Ory alwaysplayed in his own unique style. The band, drivenby Buckner, performs joyous versions of At AGeorgia Camp Meeting and Mahogany HallStomp, and even tears into the pop song TheGlory Of Love which has a highly expressivevocal by Lee Sapphire. Later in the year, thecontrast and blend between Buckner and Ory(who really sings through his horn) during thefirst chorus of Go Back Where You Stayed LastNight before another winning Lee Sapphire vocalis memorable while Yaaka Hula Hickey Dula hassome percussive slap tongue clarinet byDarensbourg.
The final five selections feature the 1953version of Ory's band, with Buckner and clarinettistBob McCracken being strong assets. Thebiggest addition was the great stride pianist DonEwell, who added a powerful lift to the rhythmsection and was arguably the band's finestsoloist. These standards are all given the KidOry treatment and even though South RampartStreet Parade, St. James Infirmary, AuntHagar's Blues, Duke Ellington's Creole Love Calland Milenburg Joys were recorded many timesthrough the years, the Ory band made themsound lively, fresh and just a little unpredictable.
Kid Ory's Creole Jazz Band continuedmaking enjoyable records into 1961 and thetrombonist did not officially retire until hemoved to Hawaii in 1966. He passed away on23 January 1973 at the age of 86, one of themost beloved of the New Orleans jazz pioneersand one whose music still sounds very muchalive today.Scott Yanow - author of nine jazz books including JazzOn Film, Swing, Classic Jazz (on the 1920s), TrumpetKings and Jazz On Record 1917-76