Kid Ory: Creole Trombone

The New Orleans trombonist is heard here 1922-59, leading his own bands and as sideman with such as Armstrong, Oliver, Dodds and Morton


I was able to compare the sound quality of the earlier tracks with several different versions that I already own, and there is not a lot between them, although Joe Oliver’s doppelganger Bob Shoffner as usual sounds as though he was in the next room making the tea. It’s a shame because he had great potential.

Nearly everybody gets the best out of the Wanderers/Bootblacks tracks and Johnny Dodds, who sounds as though he was away with Shoffner pipes eloquently. This was sometimes glorious music, pace Louis, even sometimes transcending the Hot Fives. This is perhaps understandable – Johnny played with more authority under his own leadership, with Perdido Street and Too Tight personal favourites.

The principles of the more modern stuff are well known. Ory was an accomplished leader, whose direct honesty might be mistaken for simplicity. Sophistication was not a quality that troubled him, but, whether by design or coincidence, he led efficient bands for 20 years as well as being a distinguished sideman for many more. He was a good manager – it’s not generally known that the Kid collected all the royalties earned by Muskrat Ramble, although it was written by Louis.

He acted as a magnet for good clarinet players, as illustrated below, and always managed to find good trumpeters who were gifted enough to find it easy to lead his attractive ensembles within Ory’s consistent New Orleans style. Savoy Blues here is a blot, taken far too fast, with only Darensbourg’s delicate solo and Buckner’s stab at Louis’s original solo to enjoy. By the 40s and 50s the bands had developed a routine repertoire, patronising us with a pseudo New Orleans that never existed in that city. But within it there is plenty of original individual work, all efficient and mostly enjoyable.

The album begins and concludes with two versions of Ory’s Creole Trombone from 1922 and 1927. This, Ory’s only composition that I know of, is a particularly unimaginative number. It might have been better to have chosen the other side of the 78, Society Blues, and an attractive classic like the Hot Five’s Savoy Blues. But that’s minor carping. This is a palpably good collection.

CD1: (1) Ory’s Creole Trombone; (2) Muskrat Ramble; (3) Jazz Lips; (4) Wa-Wa-Wa; (5) Tack Annie; (6) Snag It; (7) Perdido Street Blues;) Gatemouth; Too Tight; Papa Dip; (8) I Can’t Say; Mad Dog; (9) Smokehouse Blues; Steamboat Stomp; Cannon Ball Blues; (10) Brush Stomp (11) South; Blues For Jimmie; Creole Song; (12) Muskrat Ramble; The Girls Go Crazy; (13) Oh, Didn’t He Ramble; (14) Bill Bailey; Tiger Rag; My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It; Creole Bo-Bo (77.31)
CD2: (15) Savoy Blues; Mahogany Hall Stomp; Yaaka Hula Hickey Dula; St James Infirmary; South Rampart Street Parade; Creole Love Call; (16) When The Saints; Maple Leaf Rag; Yellow Dog Blues; Royal Garden Blues; Just A Closer Walk With Thee; (17) Careless Love; Weary Blues; (18) Christopher Columbus; In The Mood; San; I Got Rhythm; (19) Ory’s Creole Trombone (78.45)

Ory (tb) with:
(1) Louis Armstrong Hot Five: Armstrong (c); Johnny Dodds (cl); Lil Armstrong (p); Johnny St Cyr (bj). Chicago, 2 September 1927.
(2) as (1), 26 February 1926.
(3) as (1), 16 November 1926.
(4) King Oliver Dixie Syncopators: Oliver (c); Bob Shoffner (t); Barney Bigard, Albert Nicholas, Billy Paige, Stump Evans or Darnell Howard (reeds); Luis Russell (p); Bud Scott (bj); Junie Cobb (tu); Paul Barbarin (d). Chicago, 29 May 1926.
(5) as (4), 23 July 1926.
(6) as (4), 17 September 1926.
(7) New Orleans Wanderers: George Mitchell (c); Johnny Dodds (cl); Joe Clark (as); Lil Armstrong (p); Johnny St Cyr (bj). Chicago, 13 July 1926.
(8) New Orleans Bootblacks: as (7), 14 July 1926.
(9) Jelly Roll Morton (p) and His Red Peppers: George Mitchell (c); Omer Simeon (cl); Johnny St Cyr ((bj); John Lindsay (b); Andrew Hilaire (d). Chicago, 15 & 21 September 1926 and 16 December 1926.
(10) Chicago Footwarmers: Natty Dominique (c); Johnny Dodds (cl); Jimmy Blythe (p); Bill Johnson (b); Baby Dodds (wb). Chicago, 2 July 1928.
(11) Mutt Carey (t); Omer Simeon or Joe Darensbourg or Darnell Howard or Barney Bigrad (cl); Buster Wilson (p); Bud Scott (g, bj); Ed Garland (b); Alton Redd (d). Los Angeles, 3 August 1944.
(12) same as (11), 21 March 1945.
(13) same as (11), 8 September 1946.
(14) same as (11), 12 October 1946.
(15) Teddy Buckner (t); Joe Darensbourg or Pud Brown or Bob McCracken (cl); Lloyd Glenn or Don Ewell (p); Julian Davidson or Ed Shrivanek (g); Morty Corb or Ed Garland (b); Minor Hall (d). Los Angeles, June and July 1950 and July and December 1953.
(16) Alvin Alcorn (t); George Probert (cl); Don Ewell (p); Bill Newman or Barney Kessel (g); Ed Garland (b); Minor Hall (d). August and November 1954.
(17) Alvin Alcorn (t); Phil Gomez (cl); Cedric Heywood (p); Julian Davidson (g); Wellman Braud (b); Minor Hall (d). Los Angeles, 18 June 1956.
(18) Red Allen (t); Bob McCracken (cl); Cedric Heywood (p); Frank Haggerty (g); Charles Oden or Morty Cobb (b); Alton Redd (d). Los Angeles, 19 July 1959.
(19) Kid Ory And His Sunshine Orchestra: Mutt Carey (c); Dink Johnson (cl); Freddie Washington (p); Ed Garland (b); Ben Borders (d). Los Angeles, June 1922.
Retrospective RTS 4403