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Note: these are from some notes of mine on New Orleans commercial gramophone record recording sessions of the 1920s that I intend to rewrite as the basis for an article on the topic. -- Infrogmation

Jazz, Blues, Country, Gospel, Cajun, Comedy, Light classics

  • March 1924 Okeh Records sessions
  • January 1925 Okeh sessions
  • March 1925 Victor Talking Machine Company sessions
  • September 1925 Columbia Records sessions
  • April 1926 Columbia sessions
  • March 1927 Victor sessions
  • April 1927 Columbia sessions
  • October 1927 Columbia sessions
  • April 1928 Columbia sessions
  • November 1928 Brunswick Records sessions
  • December 1928 Columbia sessions
  • February/March 1929 Brunswick/Vocalion sessions
  • September/October 1929 Brunswick sessions
  • November 1929 Victor sessions
  • December 1929 Columbia/Okeh sessions

March 1924 Okeh sessions[edit]

Sat March 15 Lows in the 30s Cold snap, some freeze north of state. 80% humidity

High 55, low 38

March 1924 Okeh sessions Ralph Peer. Junius Hart Piano Company Building 123 Carroldolet. Also sold OKeh records. Very cold. clarinet on radiator; can't double on cl and sax because instrument just picked up would play flat. Later forced air hum on some recordings.


Dedroit, born 1892, veteran of Papa Jack Laine's Reliance bands, was one of the city's top bandleaders.

Dance band first at the Grunewald Hotel for 4 years starting in 1918, claimed to be the first to lead a jazz band that worked regularly in a first class hotel and played in Tuxedos, then at Kolb's, 7 years 11 pm to 1 am. featured at Orpheum Theater, Suburban Gardnes, Liberty Theater, Green Mill in Chicago with Arnold Johnson, later musicians union

Dedroit said he made mistakes and regretted that there were no play backs during the recording sessions and that he would have rejected half of them if he'd had a chance to hear them before issue. In interviews decades later, Dedroit gave opinions of his records ranging from "there is nothing of distinction" in them to calling them "lousy" and that they should be destroyed.

"Panama (A Characteristic Novelty)" by William H. Tyers of 1911

"Nobody Knows Blues" credited to Dedroit & Ray McNamara and "New Orleans Blues" credited to Johnny Dedroit, which may mean Johnny Dedroit wrote it, or as we'll see may mean that they were already traditional repertory.

After the three Dedroit sides, blues singer LEDA BOLDEN recorded two sides. She is not one of the better blues singers to record in the city's 1920s sessions. She's accompanied by Armand Piron and Steve Lewis, recently returned to New Orleans from New York. Steve Lewis' fine piano is almost enough to compensate listeners for having to hear Leda Bolden's voice. Piron presumably uses a Stroh violin here, but it is not so harsh and screechy as on the New York sides.

Detroit's Jazz Orchestra returned to record three more sides the next day Sunday the 16th, all credited as Dedroit compositions: "The Swing" (which we'll discuss in more detail in a moment), "Brown Eyes", and "Number Two Blues". "Number Two Blues" is very very similar to the multi-strain rag copyrighted by another former cornet player of Jack Laine's Reliance Band as his own composition that same year, Ray Lopez, under the title, "Weary Weasel". Much more famously, it had already been copyrighted by still another veteran Laine cornetist, Nick La Rocca, as the "Tiger Rag" back in 1917. "Number Two", or less polite variations on that phrase, was the title which it was known by at least by the white New Orleans musicians before it became the Tiger. Tom Brown's Band From Dixieland began their first engagement up north in 1915 with a rousing version of "Number Two".

The Dedroit recording we'll listen to as an example is "The Swing". The main melody seems to have already been an old standard of the New Orleans repertory. It had been recorded by Piron's New Orleans Orchestra in New York the previous month with a totally different introduction as "Louisiana Swing". Later New Orleans brass bands would often call it "Tulane Swing", and bands from elsewhere "Washington and Lee Swing". It was the first melody which Bunk Johnson whistled when asked for an example of what Buddy Bolden played. It may have started out as a variation on the Mexican march "Zacatecas", and further variations on it became the basis for "Number Two" or "Tiger Rag".

Johnny Dedroit takes a solo on this number, or perhaps more accurately takes the second part variating the melody while the sax takes the lead for a chorus. Dedroit's chorus recalls the pre-jazz brass band cornet virtuosi like Jules Levy while at the same time containing phrases similar to what Armstrong would later record as his introduction to "Cornet Chop Suey". Dedroit's excellent clarinet player Henry Raymond is unfortunately a bit far from the recording horn on this side, but we can't have everything.

In addition to the 6 New Orleans sides, Dedroit's New Orleans Jazz Orchestra recorded 3 more sides up in New York City in in late '24 and early '25. A tuba can be heard on Dedroit's New York sides, though discographies fail to mention this.

Next in the Okeh temporary studio was FATE MARABLE'S SOCIETY SYNCOPATORS. Marable was the famous bandleader on the Streckfus dance cruise riverboats that

Traditional folk number "Frankie & Johnny", they stick a 12 bar blues in the middle of it, followed by a version of the complex contemporary novelty ragtime number "Pianoflage".

Mon 17th St. Patricks Day, milder in 50s

Orig Crescent City Jazzers

Ruth Green sang two blues accompanied by Morris Rouse on piano

Johnny Bayersdorffer and his Jazzola Novelty Orchestra. Cornetist Bayersdorffer led a larger band with a sax section out a Spanish Fort, but chose to record with a smaller combo, the first of the New Orleans recordings using what later generations would come to think of traditional New Orleans instrumentation of the 3 piece front line with rhythm section. Rounding out the front line were fine clarinetist Nunzio Scaglioni, and legendary trombonist Tom Brown. Brown, born in 1888, was one of those musicians who had demonstrated they could make it in the big cities of the north but prefered the hometown of New Orleans. By some accounts Brown led the first band to embrace the label "jass" in Chicago in 1915, with Yellow Nunez and Bert Kelly he had defeated the Original Dixieland Jazz Band in a battle of the bands at Reisenweber's in New York City, and he was already recording studio veteran from his time in New York with nationally known bands of Harry Yerkes and Ray Miller. The two Bayersdorffer sides, "I Wonder Where My Easy Rider's Riding Now" and "The Waffle Man's Call" are great examples of hot New Orleans ensemble style hot jazz. (hum)

The first commercial disc recording session in New Orleans was concluded with two gospel sides by the Original Valentin Choral Club Quintette, who recorded "Sing On" (as we will see later, apparently not yet a jazz number) and "Give Me That Old Time Religion", a spiritual standard since at least the 1870s. Oral history testifies that the the Original Valentin Choral Club was actually the Original VOLUNTEER Choral Club; this is another example of the sometimes curious results we get when someone from up north has trouble understanding a New Orleans accent. The Original Volunteers were based at St. John's Baptist Church on First near Lassalle, Buddy Bolden's old church.

22 Jan temp in 50s

JOHN TOBIN was a young bandleader, some 19 years old, leading a group of musicians of similar age who played at the Ringside Cafe at Dauphine & Bienville Streets. Tried to combine nationally popular "symphonic" dance band style of groups like Paul Whiteman and the Benson Orch of Chicago with New Orlans jam style. He later led group at Jung Hotel Roof, quit music as styles changed in the 1930s. Norman Brownlee looked down on Tobin's band as a funny hat novelty group.

Norman Brownlee from Algiers, born 7 Feb 1896. Band made $600 for the 2 sides.


Ridgely recalled recording an unissued title "Whoa! Nellie". Played for Whites ore than colored as money better. Boston Club, Yacht Club, Carnival balls. Played at Tranchina's while Piron in New York.

Shots lead in Blues at start of Careless Love

Mannetta not regular pianist, brought in for records


Earl Humphrey hadn't played in about a month

Manetta said Ann Cook had been around since Bolden's time, and was a regular at Funky Butt Hall.

JONES COLLINS band had been working at La Vida Cabaret before getting the job at the Astoria Roof Garden. Recorded Italian hall. Got royalties when records came out.