Saturday, May 12, 2007

King Oliver Lives

King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band stepped in a recording studio several times during 1923 and made some historical recordings. Louis Armstrong would leave his mentor a few months after the last of these recordings were made (for Paramount after recording for Gennett, Okeh and Columbia). These have been issued before (a wonderful lp on Herwin of the Gennetts and a complete cd reissue with some added Oliver tracks mastered by the late John R.T. Davies). However, the stakes have been raised and a new reissue on Off The Record (distributed by Archeophone (and available from amazon and the Louisiana Music Factory among others), King Oliver, Off The Record: The Complete 1923 Jazz Band Recordings, simply is the finest reissue of this music, bring a presence and clarity to the performances that even Mr. Davies marvelous work does not approach. Even with the limitations of the acoustic recording process, the music here sounds fresh and vibrant and really is essential to anyone interested in American vernacular music (particularly blues), not simply jazz.

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