What Is Classic New Orleans Jazz?
"They play with full-blooded, all-American vigor, simultaneously ribald and ingenious."
- The New York Post
New Orleans jazz!
Ah, that vibrant, syncopated, lyrical and sometimes naughty music that captures the world's
imagination the moment it was first recorded in 1917. We love it still, and in that special way we love an old, familiar friend.
But do we really know New Orleans jazz?
A few of the standard tunes, yes. They are familiar. And we instantly recognize the trumpet-clarinet-trombone polyphony - the "Dixieland Sound" - offered up by many bands in many lands today. But in most respects the true classic jazz of New Orleans is a stranger to us. Most of the exciting repertoire of the period that resonated in the Crescent City four score years ago are lost. And the very names of some of the great pioneer bands are all but unknown today - groups like the New Orleans Owls, Celestin's Tuxedo Orchestra, the Sam Morgan Jazz Band, or The Halfway House Orchestra.
So if we still love that music, we do so as we sometimes love old friends: inadvertently neglecting so much that makes them what they are.