The Jazz Oracle label can always be depended upon to reissue and repackage excellent hot jazz from the 1920s.
Quite a few New Orleans jazz musicians moved to Chicago during 1915-25 in search of better work conditions, making Chicago the jazz center during 1917-27.
However other areas of the United States were also important in the beginnings of jazz. Jelly Roll Morton (who spent much of 1915-22 in San Francisco and Los Angeles) and Kid Ory moved to California early on.
While Morton was not documented until 1923 when he was in Chicago, in Los Angeles Ory led the first African-American New Orleans jazz group ever to record. After cutting two numbers apiece accompanying vaudeville singers Roberta Dudley and Ruth Lee in April, 1922, the following month Ory’s Sunshine Orchestra recorded “Ory’s Creole Trombone” (taken faster than most later versions) and “Society Blues.” Those two numbers are the only ones that feature cornetist Mutt Carey in his younger years.
West Coast Jazz 1922-27 reissues those six selections along with hot jazz from Harvey Brooks’ Quality Four (ten performances including four alternate takes), Reb Spikes, and other obscure bands.
The Quality Four sides, dating from Feb. 1924, make the case that Paul Howard (later leader of the Quality Serenaders) was an important pioneering tenor-saxophonist, sounding more advanced at the time than Coleman Hawkins. Reb Spikes’ Majors and Minors fare well on two songs from 1927 but much rarer are two songs by Reb’s Legion Club 45’s along with titles from Dick Lucke’s Arcadians, Freddie Carter’s Orchestra, and the Lake Arrowhead Orchestra.
Overall the musicianship is higher than that heard on many of the Midwest territory bands of the time, the solos are heated, and the ensembles are full of spirit, making this an enjoyable collection filled with rarities.