Victor 18255: the first jazz record

Just two days after their sensational success at the opening of the new ‘400’ Room at the Reisenweber Building on January 27, 1917, Eddie Edwards, trombonist and business manager of the Original Dixieland Jass Band at the time, received a telegram from A.E. Donovan, Professional Department Manager of the Columbia Gramophone Co., asking them to meet him at the Columbia offices. On January 30, the five musicians got to the Woolworth Building for an audition but, according to reputed early jazz researcher Mark Berresford, and despite all assertions to the contrary, no records were made. Berresford had access to the file cards for audition recordings, and there is no mention of the ODJB recording for Columbia before their May 1917 session. They played a couple of selections and left, because the Columbia executives were not impressed enough.

Anyway, on February 26, 1917, the ODJB recorded two titles for the biggest label at the moment, Victor Talking Machine Co: “Livery Stable Blues” (matrix number B-19331) and “Dixie Jass Band One-Step” (B-19332). The two sides were approved for issue and sent to Camden for processing and production. Victor record with number 18255 was released on April 15, 1917, according to Mark Berresford (not in May, as the online Victor Library lists, and not on March 7, as other sources state).

The rest is history.

This ad was published in the Chicago Tribune that very same day (April 15) and confirms Berresford’s assertion, as it reads “Specials-Just Announced. Records sent on approval”.

The following one was published a few days later (April 21, 1917) in the Hartford Courant. "A brass band gone crazy! That's the way a wag describes the Original Dixieland "Jass" Band. Beyond that description, we can't tell you what a "Jass" Band is because we don't know ourselves". And remember that this "organized disorganization" had "sufficient power and penetration to inject new life into a mummy" and that, in particular, "Livery Stable Blues" "will be a positive cure for the common or garden kind of blues".

Finally, this ad, published in the Meriden Morning Record (May 1, 1917), is a reduced version of the previous one.

1 comentario:

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