red hot jazz jazzbanner

The Original Dixieland Jazz Band

The Original Dixieland Jazz Band, who billed themselves “The Creators of Jazz”, have long been been dismissed as the White guys who copied African-American music, and called it their own. There is a lot of truth to that statement, but on the other hand, The Original Dixieland Jazz Band’s recordings still hold their own unique charm, over 80 years after their initial release.

However unfair and indicative of the racism of the era, the record “Livery Stable Blues”, coupled with “Dixie Jass Band One Step” became the first Jazz record ever released on February 26, 1917 for the Victor Talking Machine Company. It was wildly successful. Its release signaled the beginning of the Jazz age and helped define the wild, exuberent era we call the “Roaring Twenties”.

The Original Dixieland Jazz Band had recorded for Columbia in January 1917, but the session was unsuccessful and the band had to come back and re-record the songs, thus the release of the Columbia sides did not come about until after the amazing success of the Victor records.

Original Dixieland Jazz Band
Original Dixieland Jass Band in 1917. left to right: Tony Sbarbaro, Nick La Rocca, Yellow Nuņez, Eddie Edwards, Henry Ragas.

The group had formed in New Orleans, all of the musicians had played in Papa Jack Laine’s Reliance Brass Band at one time or another.

In 1916 the band moved from New Orleans to Chicago, just like so many of the African-American and Creole musicians from that city. In Chicago, they played a season at the Booster Club under the name of Stein’s Dixie Jass Band.

At the beginning of the following year the band ditched Stein and moved to New York where, on the recommendation of Al Jolson, they landed a gig at Reisenweber’s Café on Columbus Circle and 58th Street, a fashionable restaurant and night-spot. The band created quite a stir and Columbia rushed to record the band only two weeks after they had arrived in the city.

The band was an immediate success, with their wacky stage antics, like wearing top hats that spelled out “Dixie”, playing the trombone’s slide with the foot, and so on. The band’s slogan was “Untuneful Harmonists Playing Peppery Melodies”, and their leader Nick La Rocca and cornet player delighted in stirring up the press, describing themselves as musical anarchists and coining fun statements like “Jazz is the assassination of the melody, it’s the slaying of syncopation”.

The Original Dixieland Jazz Band

After the Reisenweber’s Café engagement end the band played at the Alamo Cafe (148th Street) and the College Inn at Coney Island. The Original Dixieland Jazz Band went on to record and play in London, producing 20 tracks for Columbia, including another big hit, Soudan.

They returned to America in July of 1920. They signed a new record contract with Okeh, but the public began to tire of them and they never regained the sales or popularity of their initial success. The group broke up in 1925 after La Rocca suffered a nervous breakdown.

The surviving members briefly re-formed in 1936 and recorded some sides for Victor. In 1940 the band re-formed yet again, but this time without La Rocca and recorded six sides for Bluebird and played up until 1940. Eddie Edwards formed a version of the band that recorded a V-Disc during World War II and for Commodore Records in 1945 and 1946. Tony Sbarbaro was the only other original member to perform on those sessions.

Thanks to Verne Buland and James Gallup for their help with the recordings on this page.

 

The Original Dixieland Jazz Band

Title Director Year
The Good For Nothing Carlyle Blackwell 1917

The Original Dixieland Jazz Band

Title Recording Date Recording Location Company
Alice Blue Gown
(Joseph McCarthy / Harry Tierney)
5-14-1920 London, England Columbia
824
At The Jass Band Ball
(Larry Shields /Nick LaRocca)
9-3-1917 New York, New York Aeolian Vocalion
A 1205
At The Jazz Band Ball
(Larry Shields /Nick LaRocca)
3-18-1918 New York, New York Victor
18457-A
At The Jazz Band Ball
(Larry Shields /Nick LaRocca)
4-16-1919 London, England Columbia
735
Barnyard Blues
(Original Dixieland Jass Band)
8-17-1917 New York, New York Aeolian Vocalion
B 1205
Barnyard Blues
(Nick LaRocca)
4-16-1919 London, England Columbia
735
Barnyard Blues
(Original Dixieland Jazz Band)
4-20-1923 New York, New York Okeh
4841
Barnyard Blues
(Nick LaRocca)
10-9-1936 New York, New York Victor
25502
Barnyard Blues (A-1)
(Nick LaRocca)
4-6-1946 New York, New York Commodore
C-610
Barnyard Blues (A-2)
(Nick LaRocca)
4-6-1946 New York, New York Commodore
(G)6.26170
Barnyard Blues (B-1)
(Nick LaRocca)
4-6-1946 New York, New York Commodore
C-610
Barnyard Blues (B-2)
(Nick LaRocca)
4-6-1946 New York, New York Commodore
(G)6.26170
Bluin’ The Blues
(Henry Ragas)
12-30-1920 New York, New York Victor
18483-A
Bluin’ The Blues
featuring Larry Shields on clarinet

(Henry Ragas)
9-2-1936 New York, New York Victor
25403-B
Bluin’ The Blues
(Henry Ragas)
10-9-1936 New York, New York Victor
25525-A
Bow Wow Blues
(My Mama Treats Me Like A Dog)

(Cliff Friend / Nate Osbourne)
12-1-1921 New York, New York Victor
18850-A
Broadway Rose
Introducing “Dolly (I Love You)”

(Eugene West / Martin Fried / Otis Spencer)
(Wheeler Wadsworth / Victor Arden)
2-25-1918 New York, New York Victor
18722-A
Clarinet Marmalade Blues
(Larry Shields / Eddie Edwards / Tony Sparbaro / Nick LaRocca)
7-17-1918 New York, New York Victor
18513-B
Clarinet Marmalade Blues
Featuring Nick LaRocca on Trumpet and Larry Shields on Clarinet

(Larry Shields / Eddie Edwards / Tony Sparbaro / Nick LaRocca)
10-9-1936 New York, New York Victor
25525-B
Crazy Blues
(Introducing “It’s Right Here For You”)
(If You Don’t Get It – Tain’t No Fault O’ Mine)

(Perry Bradford / Alex Belledna)
1-28-1921 New York, New York Victor
18729-B
Darktown Strutters Ball (3)
(Shelton Brooks)
5-31-1917 New York, New York Columbia
A2297
Darktown Strutters Ball (4)
(Shelton Brooks)
5-31-1917 New York, New York Columbia
A2297
Dangerous Blues
Vocal Chorus – Al Bernard

(Anna Welker Brown / Billie Brown)
1-28-1921 New York, New York Victor
18798-A
Did You Mean It?
Featuring Nick La Rocca on the Trumpet
Vocal refrain by Chris Fletcher

(Mort Dixon / Jesse Greer)
9-25-1936 New York, New York Victor
25420-B
Dixie Jass Band One Step
Introducing “That Teasin’ Rag”

(J. Russel Robinson / Nick LaRocca / Joe Jordan)
2-26-1917 New York, New York Victor
18255-A
Drop A Nickel In The Slot
(Fred E. Ahlert / Joe Young)
1938 New York, New York Bluebird
B-7454
Fidgety Feet
(Larry Shields / Nick LaRocca)
2-25-1918 New York, New York Victor
18564-A
Fidgety Feet
(Larry Shields / Nick LaRocca)
9-25-1936 New York, New York Victor
25668
Good-Night, Sweet Dreams, Good-night
Vocal refrain by Lola Bard

(Teddy Powell / Leonard Whitcup)
1938 New York, New York Bluebird
B-7444-A
Home Again Blues
(Introducing “Lindy”)

(Irving Berlin / Harry Akst)
1-28-1921 New York, New York Victor
18729-A
I Live For Love 10-9-1935 New York, New York Vocalion
3084
I’m Sittin’ High On A Hill-Top 10-9-1935 New York, New York Vocalion
3084
Indiana (2)
(James F. Hanley)
5-31-1917 New York, New York Columbia
A2297
Indiana (3)
(James F. Hanley)
5-31-1917 New York, New York Columbia
A2297
I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles
(Kenbrovin / Kellette)
1-8-1920 London, England Columbia
805
In My Little Red Book
(Stillman / Bloch / Simon)
1938 New York, New York Bluebird
B-7444-B
I’ve Got My Captain Working For Me Now
(Irving Berlin)
1-8-1920 London, England Columbia
815
I’ve Lost My Heart In Dixieland
(Irving Berlin)
12-1-1920 London, England Victor
815
Jazz Me Blues
(Tom Delaney)
5-3-1921 New York, New York Victor
18772-B
Jezebel
(Mercer / Warren)
1938 New York, New York Bluebird
B-7454
‘Lasses Candy
(Nick LaRocca)
8-19-1919 London, England Columbia
759
Lazy Daddy
(Larry Shields / Nick LaRocca / Henry Ragas)
7-17-1918 New York, New York Victor
18564-B
Lazy Daddy (1)
(Larry Shields / Nick LaRocca / Henry Ragas)
10-20-1945 New York, New York Commodore
(G)6.26170
Lazy Daddy (2)
(Larry Shields / Nick LaRocca / Henry Ragas)
10-20-1945 New York, New York Commodore
unissued
Lazy Daddy (3)
(Larry Shields / Nick LaRocca / Henry Ragas)
10-20-1945 New York, New York Commodore
unissued
Lazy Daddy
(Larry Shields / Nick LaRocca / Henry Ragas)
4-6-1946 New York, New York Commodore
C-612
Livery Stable Blues
(Ray Lopez / Yellow Nuñez )
2-26-1917 New York, New York Victor
18255-B
Look At ‘Em Doing It Now
(Larry Shields)
11-21-1917 New York, New York Aeolian Vocalion
1242
Mammy O’Mine
(Maceo Pinkard)
12-1-1920 London, England Columbia
804
Margie
(Intro. “Singin’ The Blues”)

(Con Conrad / J. Russel Robinson)
12-1-1920 New York, New York Victor
18717-A
Mornin’ Blues
(Tony Sbarbaro)
7-17-1918 New York, New York Victor
18513-A
Mournin’ Blues (1)
(Tony Sbarbaro)
10-20-1945 New York, New York Commodore
(G)6.26170
Mournin’ Blues (2)
(Tony Sbarbaro)
10-20-1945 New York, New York Commodore
unissued
Mournin’ Blues
(Tony Sbarbaro)
4-6-1946 New York, New York Commodore
C-611
Mournin’ Blues)
(Tony Sbarbaro)
4-6-1946 New York, New York Commodore
unissued
My Babies Arms
(Joseph McCarthy / Harry Tierney)
1-8-1920 London, England Columbia
805
Old Joe Blade 9-25-1936 New York, New York Victor
26039
Original Dixieland One-Step
(Nick LaRocca)
10-9-1936 New York, New York Victor
25502
oooOO-OH Boom!
(Mike Riley)
1938 New York, New York Bluebird
B-7442-A
Oriental Rag
(Dinwitty)
11-24-1917 New York, New York Aeolian Vocalion
12097
Ostrich Walk
(Larry Shields / Nick LaRocca)
2-26-1917 New York, New York Victor
18457-B
Ostrich Walk
(Larry Shields / Nick LaRocca)
11-24-1917 New York, New York Aeolian Vocalion
A 1206
Ostrich Walk
(Larry Shields / Nick LaRocca)
5-12-1919 London, England Columbia
736
Ostrich Walk
Featuring Larry Shields on clarinet

(Larry Shields / Nick LaRocca)
9-25-1936 New York, New York Victor
25460-A
Ostrich Walk (B-1)
(Larry Shields / Nick LaRocca)
4-6-1946 New York, New York Commodore
C-612
Ostrich Walk
(Larry Shields / Nick LaRocca)
10-20-1945 New York, New York Commodore
(G)6.26170
Ostrich Walk (B-TK1)
(Larry Shields / Nick LaRocca)
4-6-1946 New York, New York Commodore
(G)6.26170
Palestreena
(Con Conrad / J. Russel Robinson)
12-4-1920 New York, New York Victor
18717-B
Please Be Kind
(Sammy Cahn / Saul Chaplin)
1938 New York, New York Bluebird
B-7442-B
Reisenweber Rag
(Original Dixieland Jass Band)
11-24-1917 New York, New York Aeolian Vocalion
1242
Royal Garden Blues
(Clarence Williams / Spencer Williams)
5-25-1921 New York, New York Victor
18798-B
Satanic Blues
(Larry Shields / Emile Christian)
8-13-1919 London, England Columbia
759
Satanic Blues
(Larry Shields / Emile Christian)
2-9-1936 New York, New York Victor
unissued
Sensation Rag
(Eddie Edwards)
2-25-1918 New York, New York Victor
18483-B
Sensation Rag
(Eddie Edwards)
5-12-1919 London, England Columbia
736
Shake It And Break It
(Friscoe / Clark)
4-6-1946 New York, New York Commodore
C-613
Shake It And Break It
(Friscoe / Clark)
4-6-1946 New York, New York Commodore
(G)6.26170
Skeleton Jangle
(Nick LaRocca)
2-25-1918 New York, New York Victor
18472-A
Skeleton Jangle
(Nick LaRocca)
10-9-1936 New York, New York Victor
25524
Skeleton Jangle
(Larry Shields / Nick LaRocca)
4-6-1946 New York, New York Commodore
C-611
Skeleton Jangle
(Larry Shields / Nick LaRocca)
4-6-1946 New York, New York Commodore
(G)6.26170
Skeleton Jangle
(Larry Shields / Nick LaRocca)
4-6-1946 New York, New York Commodore
unissued
Slipping Through My Fingers
(Lou Singer / Milton Leeds / Irving Mills)
10-9-1935 New York, New York Vocalion
3099
Some Of These Days
(Shelton Brooks)
1-3-1923 New York, New York Okeh
4738-A
Soudan
(Sebek)
5-14-1920 London, England Columbia
829
Sphinx
(B. Barbour)
5-14-1920 London, England Columbia
824
St. Louis Blues
Vocal Chorus – Al Bernard

(W.C. Handy)
5-25-1921 New York, New York Victor
18772-A
Sweet Mama
(Papas Getting Mad)
Introducing “Strut, Miss Lizzie

(Rose / Little / Frost / Creamer / Layton)
12-30-1920 New York, New York Victor
18722-B
Tell Me
(Max Kortlander)
1-8-1920 London, England Columbia
804
Tiger Rag
(Nick LaRocca)
8-17-1917 New York, New York Aeolian Vocalion
B 1206
Tiger Rag
(Nick LaRocca)
2-25-1918 New York, New York Victor
18472-B
Tiger Rag
(Nick LaRocca)
5-19-1919 London, England Columbia
748
Tiger Rag
(Nick LaRocca)
4-20-1923 New York, New York Okeh
4841
Tiger Rag
featuring Larry Shields on clarinet

(Nick LaRocca)
10-9-1936 New York, New York Victor
25524-A
Tiger Rag
(Nick LaRocca)
9-2-1936 New York, New York Victor
unissued
Tiger Rag
(Nick LaRocca)
12-30-1943 New York, New York V-Disc 214
Tiger Rag (1)
(Nick LaRocca)
10-20-1945 New York, New York Commodore
(G)6.26170
Tiger Rag (2)
(Nick LaRocca)
10-20-1945 New York, New York Commodore
unissued
Tiger Rag
(Nick LaRocca)
4-6-1946 New York, New York Commodore
C-610
Toddlin’ Blues
(Nick LaRocca)
11-23-1922 New York, New York Okeh
4738-B
Toddlin’ Blues
(Nick LaRocca)
9-25-1936 New York, New York Victor
25460-B
When You And I Were Young Maggie
(J.A. Butterfield)
4-6-1946 New York, New York Commodore
C-613
When You And I Were Young Maggie
(J.A. Butterfield)
4-6-1946 New York, New York Commodore
(G)6.26170
Who Loves You?
Featuring Nick La Rocca on the Trumpet
Vocal refrain by Chris Fletcher

(B. Davis / J. Fred Coots)
9-25-1936 New York, New York Victor
25420-A
You Stayed Away Too Long 10-9-1935 New York, New York Vocalion
3099

The Original Dixieland Jazz Band

Artist Instrument
Lola Bard Vocals
Al Bernadi Vocals
Clifford Cairns Vocals
Bob Casey Bass
Emile Christian Trombone
Eddie Conson Guitar
Wild Bill Davidson Trumpet
Eddie Edwards Trombone
Brad Gowans Clarinet
Bobby Hackett Cornet
Billy Jones Piano
Max Kaminsky Trumpet
Eddie King Vocals
Benny Krueger Alto Saxophone
Nick La Rocca Cornet
Jack Lesberg Bass
Yellow Nuñez Clarinet
Don Parker Saprano Saxophone
Henry Ragas Piano
J. Russel Robinson Piano
Teddy Roy Piano
Tony Sbarbaro (a.k.a. Tony Spargo) Drums, Kazoo
Gene Schroeder Piano
Artie Seaberg Clarinet
Larry Shields Clarinet
Frank Signorelli Piano
Henry Vanicelli Piano

The Original Dixieland Jazz Band

The Story Of The Original Dixieland Jazz Band, by H.O. Brunn, Louisiana State University Press, 1960

 

Or look at our Subscription Options.