Cover image for Lost chords : white musicians and their contribution to jazz, 1915-1945
Lost chords : white musicians and their contribution to jazz, 1915-1945
Sudhalter, Richard M.
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Publication Information:
New York : Oxford University Press, 1999.
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xxii, 890 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
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ML3508 .S85 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Many jazz fans and critics--and even some jazz musicians--contend that white players have contributed little of substance to the music; that even, with every white musician removed from the canon, the history and nature of jazz would remain unchanged. Now, with Lost Chords, musician-historianRichard M. Sudhalter challenges this narrow view, with a book that pays definitive tribute to a generation of white jazz players, many unjustly forgotten--while never scanting the role of the great black pioneers. Eagerly awaited by the jazz community, this monumental volume offers an exhaustively documented, vividly narrated history of white jazz contribution in the vital years 1915 to 1945. Beginning in New Orleans, Sudhalter takes the reader on a fascinating multicultural odyssey through the hotjazz gestation centers of Chicago and New York, Indiana and Texas, examining such bands such as the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, the Original Memphis Five, and the Casa Loma Orchestra. Readers will find luminous accounts of many key soloists, including Bix Beiderbecke, Benny Goodman, Jack Teagarden,Red Norvo, Bud Freeman, the Dorsey Brothers, Bunny Berigan, Pee Wee Russell, and Artie Shaw, among others. Sudhalter revives the once-great reputations of these and many other major jazzmen, pleading their cases persuasively and eloquently, without ever descending to polemic. Along the way, hegives due credit to Louis Armstrong, Lester Young, Duke Ellington, Coleman Hawkins, and countless other major black figures. Destined to become a basic reference book on the subject, Lost Chords is a ground-breaking book that should significantly alter perceptions about jazz and its players, reminding readers of this great music's multicultural origins.

Author Notes

Author and jazz musician Richard M. Sudhalter was born in Boston, Massachusetts on December 28, 1938. He graduated from Oberlin College with a degree in English literature and music. He worked as a musician in Germany and then as a reporter for United Press International in Europe. He wrote numerous books throughout his lifetime including Bix: Man and Legend, Stardust Melody: The Life and Music of Hoagy Carmichael, and Lost Chords: White Musicians and Their Contribution to Jazz, 1915 - 1945. In Lost Chords, he strove to contradict the widely held belief that white players contributed little to the development of jazz and the book ignited great controversy when it was published in 1999. He also was a member of the New Paul Whiteman Orchestra and won a Grammy with John Chilton for Bunny Berigan in 1982. He died of pneumonia on September 19, 2008 at the age of 69.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Musician and scholar Sudhalter is often contentious in this massive work, but about points of musical performance rather than the race politics he diplomatically treats in the book's introduction. He hotly disputes, say, the low rating of Jimmy Dorsey in Gunther Schuller's magisterial Swing Era (1989), but he doesn't touch the chip-on-the-shoulder argument that jazz is black music--period. All jazz fans can read him without fear of offense, even should they still disagree with him about the musicians and schools of performance that are the subjects of the book's 28 chapters. Far from offended, deep-dyed fans, whether neophytes or weighty authorities in terms of listening experience, surely will be overjoyed by the range, depth, and readability--Sudhalter is no academic drudge, but an ace writer--of his coverage. As its page count suggests, this is a virtual encyclopedia of its subject, some of whose parts (e.g., the two chapters on Artie Shaw) are long and comprehensive enough to be published as freestanding books. No jazz collection--no music collection--should be without it. --Ray Olson

Publisher's Weekly Review

In his massive and erudite study, trumpeter and Bix Beiderbecke biographer Sudhalter makes the case that white musicians have been unfairly overlooked in the canonical histories of jazz. Sure to stir up controversy among critics, scholars and fans of "American classical music," Sudhalter's history argues that the rise of multiculturalism, for all its positive effects on society at large, has helped foster a popular misconception of jazz as an art form dominated by African-Americans. While Sudhalter's polemical position provides structure to what otherwise might have become an unwieldy and anecdotal discussion, it creates conceptual difficulties. Sudhalter fails to establish how race worked in early 20th-century America, taking for granted that, like today, Sicilian, Jewish and Irish musicians would have been regarded as "white." However, a number of recent studies have suggested that the full privileges of "whiteness" didn't extend to members of these ethnic groups at the turn of the century. The book‘which includes profiles of a number of celebrated European-American jazzmen‘Beiderbecke, Bunny Berigan, Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw, to name a few‘is at its most intriguing when examining such lesser known figures as the sweetly tragic New Orleans cornetist Emmett Hardy, the multitalented bandleader Adrian Rollins and the irascible braggart Nick LaRocca, leader of the seminal Original Dixieland Jazz Band. Whether or not you buy Sudhalter's basic premise, there's much to be learned from his scholarly, sometimes combative, narrative. Photos not seen by PW. (Jan.) FYI: A two-CD companion album will be released by Challenge Records to coincide with publication. Sudhalter is planning a second volume. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

On a mission to promulgate the ostensibly neglected story of white jazz innovators, Sudhalter, a trumpeter and jazz writer, offers a bouncy, well-researched account of white jazzsters from 1915 to 1945, interlaced with explanations of musical styles and a few somewhat superfluous musical notations. The author expertly recounts the trek white jazzmen took from New Orleans to Chicago and their contributions to New York hot jazz, the new generation of Chicago jazzmen, and big bands. After chapters on such giants as Bix Beiderbecke, Jack Purvis, and Bunny Berrigan, Sudhalter ends the book with sections on the bands of Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, and others. Throughout, the author repeatedly and unnecessarily bludgeons the reader with the point that these white jazz luminaries contributed to jazz as much as their African American counterparts, whom he mentions only peripherally. His lopsided perspective keeps an excellent book from turning into a classic. This informative, sometimes fascinating, but ultimately unbalanced history should appeal to general readers and aficionados alike.‘David P. Szatmary, Univ. of Washington, Seattle (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Sudhalter's self-described "sprawling" volume is a major addition to the literature of jazz history. It will also create some controversy. Providing overwhelming documentation, Sudhalter challenges the prevailing idea about the jazz canon, which (stated in simplified terms) maintains that African Americans are the innovators in jazz and that whites copy and exploit the innovations. He posits that in jazz's early years both blacks and whites created new music, and as late as the 1940s various styles of jazz could be viewed as mainly the province of one race or the other. As the music grew and matured, the blending of different styles rendered most of the distinctions unclear or invalid. Sudhalter celebrates the diversity of the music, taking the position that jazz is the sum of the great variety of its stylists rather than a music that has smoothly evolved from one historical style into another in linear fashion. Besides the obvious artists one would expect (Goodman, Beiderbecke, Berigan, Teagarden), Sudhalter carries the torch for such ignored figures such as Sidney Arodin, Emmett Hardy, and Adrian Rollini and for those he considers unfairly treated by historians--Red Nichols, Artie Shaw, Bobby Hackett, et al. An important book for jazz collections at all levels. K. R. Dietrich; Ripon College



Chapter One Bands from Dixieland Climbing off the train at La Salle Street Station, Ray Lopez couldn't help shivering as the Lake Michigan wind sliced easily through his light overcoat and suit. As a kid growing up in New Orleans he'd known some nippy days, but never anything quite like this.     Windy city, eh? Why the hell had he and his four companions ever come to this God-forsaken place? Sure, it was work: a job offer too good to turn down. But the cold--if this was May, what must December be like? He shook his head, picked up his cornet case and grip. This damn weather would be the death of him, he later recalled thinking.     Thus, on May 13, 1915, did white New Orleans music officially arrive in Chicago. The odyssey of Ray Lopez (1889-1970) had begun some weeks before, when, as cornetist and de facto manager of trombonist Tom Brown's five-piece "ragtime" band, he'd signed a contract with Gorham Theatrical Enterprises of Chicago. They would open May 17 at Lamb's Café, in the basement of the Olympic Theater building at Randolph and Clark, for six weeks at $105 per week for the band, renewable at the end of the fourth week.     Lopez and Brown (1888-1958) had done pretty well at home, providing music for dances at Tulane University, at the stately homes of the New Orleans Garden District, at such prestigious locations as the Young Men's Gymnastic Club; they played regularly for picnics and parties out at Lake Pontchartrain--and even the occasional evening down in "the District," known to posterity as Storyville, home of bars, brothels, and various other nocturnal amusements.     Mardi Gras was always especially busy, providing up to three jobs a day when times were good. But it was always a short-term feast: the arrival of Lent invariably brought such activity to a halt. Even at the best of times, dance music in New Orleans could hardly be depended on for a steady, reliable living. It's therefore not surprising that Tom Brown and most of his band members and friends were basically avocational musicians, with little or no professional training. The trombonist and his bass-playing younger brother Ted (known to friends as Steve) were tinsmiths. Clarinetist Gus Mueller (1890-1965) made much of his income as a plumber; drummer Bill Lambert (1893-1969) tended bar. They were young, unmarried, and footloose, children of a new century. New Orleans in the years just before America's entry into the European "Great War" was coming face to face at last with reality. The boom economy built on cotton and other trade, which had made the Louisiana city a focus of world attention in the nineteenth century, had long since peaked. The port was losing out to Biloxi, Mississippi, and even up-and-coming Miami, Florida, jobs dwindling almost by the day. For thousands of laborers, the industrial cities of the North were the new Meccas, offering myriad opportunities for both skilled and unskilled work. When, in 1917, the black weekly Chicago Defender instituted its "Great Northern Drive," to attract southern blacks to the city, a mass exodus began in earnest .     Ray Lopez was the only one in his immediate circle who depended on music for a livelihood. As he explained it, he'd made a dollar a day as a shop worker for the Southern Pacific Railroad and found he could earn up to three times that for much shorter hours playing the cornet. As Steve Brown (1890-1965) later put it, not unkindly, Lopez became a professional musician because "he wanted to sleep in the daytime."     Colleagues remembered Ray as forever hustling work, and photos of him in these years indeed show a young man on the go: handsome and alert, hair carefully slicked, he faces the camera with a confidence bordering on defiance. His enthusiasm and ambition would make him naturally curious about the wide world beyond the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. A job in Chicago? A miracle, no less.     As Lopez recalled it, the band was doing a "ballyhoo" job, riding around downtown New Orleans on the back of a wagon, advertising a prizefight. "We'd stop at different corners in the heart of town and start playing," he said in a memoir published in 1976. "People would start dancing. I would pass out cards. That would go on for about three hours. Then we'd go to the club where the fights were being held and play between fights and get five dollars for the ballyhooing and fight, which wasn't bad in those days."     At the corner of Canal and Royal streets, at the edge of the French Quarter, they ran smack into fate, in the form of vaudeville performers Johnny Swor and Charlie Mack. "Boys, y'all got steppin' music, y'hear me?" Mack called out to the band. "What do you boys call this music?" "New Orleans music," Lopez replied, unable to think of anything more original. Swor piped up: "This music has got to travel, man! How about coming north with us?"     For the moment, at least, that seemed pretty far-fetched. A trip north would have to be based on more than just vague hopes and would have to be discussed, planned, worked out. But these two big-timers were a potential contact: Lopez gave them his card, cementing a friendship which was shortly to bear considerable fruit. (Until recently, most reminiscences of New Orleans musical life in the century's first two decades have been highly romanticized. Emphasis was on black and Creole musicians, with whites assigned a secondary, carbon-copy role. A growing body of research has now begun to place early accounts by all parties in an accurate temporal and factual matrix. One effect has been a shift in balance: Storyville, long thought a jazz seedbed, is now seen as far less important than, for example, the turn-of-the-century brass band movement. Such figures as the cornetist Buddy Bolden, once imbued with almost superhuman powers, have been gradually stripped of their veneer of legend. It is in the work of such scholars as Karl Koenig, the late Henry Kmen, S. Frederick Starr, Don Marquis, Bruce Raeburn, Lawrence Gushee, Curtis Jerde, and Jack Stewart that the true history of New Orleans jazz has begun to emerge.)     Someone else had heard Lopez and Brown on what was fast turning out to be their lucky day. His name was Joe Gorham, and he was in town as manager for another vaudeville attraction, exotic dancer (actually more of a stripteaser) Myrtle Howard. Intrigued, he alerted his friend Smiley Corbett, manager of Lamb's Café in Chicago and a man always on the lookout for new and different talent. Swor and Mack, in their turn, also got in touch with Corbett, and with his boss, John Wilmes.     ARE YOU SURE BROWN BAND RIGHT FOR OUR PLACE? a puzzled Wilmes wired Gorham on March 27. ANSWER ME IF YOU CAN HAVE THEM COME ON. They signed in early April, back-dating the contract to March 1; on or about May 12, Lopez, Tom Brown, Gus Mueller, Bill Lambert, and pianist Edward "Mose" Ferrer, filling in temporarily for Arnold "Deacon" Loyocano (1889-1962), boarded the Chicago-bound Panama Limited with five round-trip tickets, bought with money sent by Corbett.     Their decision, though prescient, was not without cause. By this time, work for musicians of both races in New Orleans was beginning to dwindle with the economy. Dance orchestras still played for picnics, outings, and parades, and for balls and other social events in the large houses lining tree-shaded St. Charles Avenue, heart of the city's affluent Garden District. But there seemed no growth, little expansion of opportunity. For a while, both black and white bands had found plenty of seasonal employment at the beachfront restaurants, pavilions, and cabarets lining the south shore of 635-square-mile Lake Pontchartrain, less than five miles north of the city. Tom Brown's band was even one of the few that got to play on the excursion steamers that took tourists to the more exclusive north shore. But Pontchartrain's heyday ran in cycles, subject to sometimes violent weather and changing fashion. It ended forever when, in the mid-1920s, construction began on a seawall to extend the existing shoreline out several hundred feet, protecting it from storms and flooding--and leaving the former resort area stranded inland. Chicago by 1915 had become the nation's second-largest city, with a population edging toward two million. The transcontinental railway system, completed in the mid-nineteenth century, had helped make it a major transport center and focus for industry. Its rapid growth, particularly after the disastrous fire of 1871, had attracted vast numbers of black and white laborers.     After the Civil War, according to one summation, "Chicago settled down to packing meat, shipping wheat, and making a fortune for Armour, Swift, Pullman, McCormick, William B. Ogden, and Marshall Field ... its diverse manufacturing, shipping and export sales constituted a formidable economic base, and between 1860 and 1890 Chicago business flourished."     In historian Charles Nanry's phrase, Chicago was "a city of violence and unrest, a city of action." Even before Prohibition turned bootleg liquor into a growth industry and spurred the rise of organized crime, Chicago was a "toddlin' town," a city--as native son Nelson Algren later put it--"on the make."     In those days, too, it still had something of the frontier about it, as if a post-Industrial Revolution urban landscape had been superimposed on a far simpler, more rural, image. That was the image seen and recorded by Jessie Binford, colleague of social activist Jane Addams, arriving from Marshalltown, Iowa, on a steamy July day in 1906. "Every other place was a saloon," she told oral historian Studs Terkel. "The streets were dirty. The air was heavy."     Noisy, rough, teeming with energy and promise, it was--in the words of S. Frederick Starr-- not only an economic center but also the most popular entertainment center in the Midwest. The many musicians who moved there from New Orleans to seek their fortunes found a fast life, a "sporting life" ... Here musicians could live not as semipros, working at a "day job" to support themselves, but as full professional musicians.     But to the five newcomers from New Orleans on that chill spring day in 1915 it seemed harsh, forbidding. "We felt scared, sober and alone," said Lopez. "When we hit Chicago we went directly to the Commercial Hotel at Wabash and Harrison. It was a dump! The `el' made a turn right past our window ... Lordy, it was cold. The damnyankee air cut through our thin suits ... Everything was rush, rush, rush.     The five "ragtime lugs," as Lopez affectionately remembered them, showed up at Lamb's, nervous but natty in silk suits and matching dark caps. They introduced themselves to Corbett, whom Lopez described as "big, fat and happy."     Not for long: "Where's your sheet music?" the manager asked. "In our heads," the cornetist answered with a grin. He wanted to hear a sample ... We played "Memphis Blues." We kicked off, and twisted that number every way but loose. We worked it up to the pitch that used to kill the folks back home--and found our way back as smooth as glass. We were right in there. It sounded fine.     But Corbett was white as a ghost. He roared: "What kind of noise is that! You guys crazy--or drunk?" Well, we played our novelty tune, "Livery Stable Blues." The cashier made faces and held her ears.     Corbett seemed to like that one. "Okay, men," he said. "You open tomorrow night. How do you want to be billed on the sign out front?" Brown's Band From Dixieland , they said. The sign, when it appeared, read only "DANCING HERE." By that time, the terms "Dixie" and "Dixieland" had long been understood as synonyms for the South. Whether taking its origins from the Mason-Dixon Line or, as various scholars have maintained, from a French-derived slang name for an old Louisiana ten-dollar bill, "Dixie" was in use well before the Civil War. The idea of "Dixieland," especially antebellum, as a lyrical paradise was central to the songs of Stephen Collins Foster, a key feature of late nineteenth-century minstrelsy, and persisted as a current in early twentieth-century popular songs. In wide public consciousness it was long a way of identifying things southern, related to a mythical Elysium--and it included various kinds of characteristic music. (This is discussed further in chapter 12.)     The Lamb's Café engagement started out dismally. The expected crowds didn't materialize. A string orchestra (which included a young French-born pianist named Jean Goldkette, of whom more in good time) quit in protest at the new band's raucous sounds, hurling at it the pejorative word "jazz." Loyocano recalled that "Smiley Corbett wouldn't even speak to us, he was so mad."     An outdoor photo probably taken that summer shows Loyocano on string bass, plus Brown, New Orleans clarinetist Larry Shields, Lopez, and Lambert, with vaudeville dancer-comedian Joe Frisco out front. They're smiling broadly, but the smiles are deceptive. The situation at Lamb's had been close to ruin only a short time earlier.     Hearing that Swor and Mack were back in town, Lopez lost no time in getting over to the Palace Theater and telling his benefactors how badly things were going. The vaudevillians ("all you need is somebody to break the ice; that's the way it goes in this business") took quick remedial action, renting the entire restaurant one night after a performance of their Shubert show, Maid in America , bringing along its entire seventy-five-member road company cast. According to Loyocano, Charlie Mack also made a point of talking again to café owner Wilmes, urging patience and reassuring him that Brown's band represented something new, different--and bankable.     After that, at last, the word started to get around. Show people talked up Lamb's and the band, and the public, ever curious, came to investigate. The management obliged by adding a ten-cent cover charge and finally changing the sign outside to read BROWN'S BAND FROM DIXIELAND--DANCING.     What happened next, Lopez said in letters home to Steve Brown, was amazing: customers lined up for nearly two blocks every night, clamoring for a chance to get in; guest celebrities dropped by, making sure they were seen. The five boys from New Orleans were suddenly on the map in a big way.     Loyocano remembered Lamb's as "a beautiful place, with tile floor and marble all around the sides; every note you'd hit would reverberate back about six times." It was a place for drinking and dancing: guests included dance innovators Vernon and Irene Castle, who spent an evening happily on the dance floor. "She had a live monkey on her shoulder," said Loyocano. "They danced a couple of times to the music, and said it was great: we could have gone with them, but who wanted to go?" Around this time the word "jazz" made its first official Chicago appearance as applied to the music dispensed nightly by Brown's band. Not surprisingly, accounts vary as to exactly how it came about--and even when it came into use among black musicians. A September 30, 1916, Chicago Defender article refers to a "jass band" led by black pianist-songwriter H. Benton Overstreet ("There'll Be Some Changes Made"), accompanying vaudeville singer Estella Harris. There is evidence of a black "Original Jazz Band," so billed, at the Dreamland Café the following year. Various musicians, among them whites Lopez, Brown, Loyocano, and their New Orleans colleague cornetist Dominick James "Nick" LaRocca (1889-1961), have offered different--sometimes contrasting--accounts of the word's use in billings.     Historian Dick Holbrook spent years researching the origins of the word, publishing his findings in Storyville magazine and other specialist periodicals. Among his conclusions: * The word "jazz" seems to have been used, with or without explicit sexual connotations, in the San Francisco area well before the end of the nineteenth century. Actor William Demarest, growing up as a young musician, heard it there around 1908 as an exhortation to play with more energy. It was from Demarest, appearing in a New Orleans vaudeville theater in 1913, that Ray Lopez said he first heard it. * A March 3, 1906, sports item in the San Francisco Bulletin refers to a promising baseball player as "very much to the `jazz.'" Its meaning, as explained by the author, is somewhere between "pep" and "enthusiasm," and it turns up increasingly in such sports feature stories. Bert Kelly, Chicago banjoist, bandleader, and later club owner, also reported hearing it in turn-of-the-century San Francisco. * An April 5, 1913, Bulletin article by Ernest J. Hopkins, under the headline "In Praise of Jazz," devoted nineteen column inches to this "futurist word which has just joined the language." By that time, according to many of Holbrook's sources, "jazz" was in common use throughout California, Arizona, and New Mexico and as far east as New England. * Young white toughs in the notorious "Irish Channel" section of New Orleans were using the word early in the century as an undisguised synonym for sexual intercourse. Some brothels in that city were referred to as "jays'n houses." * S. Frederick Starr states categorically that the word sprang from the Old Testament "jezebel," used in the late nineteenth century as a synonym for "prostitute." New Orleans usage soon shortened it to "jazzbel" or "jazzbelle," identifying pimps and other related males as "jazzbo" or "jazzbeau." * The word surfaced in Chicago in late 1914 or early `15 and was widely documented at that time. Clarinetist Bud Jacobson later said he recalled seeing it advertising Art Arseth's local band at the Arsonia Café in 1914.     What emerges from the various accounts and Holbrook's research is that (a) the new music, black and white, generated strong response, some of it of a decidedly sexual nature, in many who heard it; (b) the term "jass" (or "jazz"), whether as noun or transitive verb, was in wide common use by 1915; and (c) at least some of the time it was applied to various forms of dance music, alternately as an expression of enthusiasm and of disparagement. Sometime in July clarinetist Gus Mueller got an offer to join Bert Kelly's six-piece band, playing for roller-skating and dancing over at White City amusement park. Kelly, from San Francisco, is now remembered mostly as owner-proprietor of Kelly's Stable, where clarinetist Johnny Dodds played a memorable engagement during the '20s. But in those days he was a new force in Chicago dance band circles.     Kelly wanted Mueller, and "Gussie," lured by the prospect of making more than three times what he was earning with Brown and Lopez, wanted to go. Finally, after much negotiation, Kelly sent to New Orleans for clarinetist Larry Shields (1893-1953), who impressed his new boss with his bright tone and fluid execution. But, in common with many early musicians of both races, he was a "faker," who couldn't read a note. Kelly, perhaps feeling he'd been had, was about to send the clarinetist home when someone suggested a compromise: why not simply swap reedmen? Mueller agreed, joining Kelly at White City while Shields came to work at Lamb's.     The idyll didn't last long. On August 28, Corbett closed the café for renovations and enlargement, leaving the band scratching for work. Billing themselves "the Ragtime Rubes" (Al Williams replacing Bill Lambert on drums), they played some vaudeville houses with Joe Frisco, then accepted agent Harry Fitzgerald's offer to book them in New York as part of Dancing Around , a Broadway revue scheduled to feature Al Jolson.     The show never opened--but the "Rubes" picked up some New York casuals: two weeks in the foyer of the Century Theater, on Central Park West just north of Columbus Circle; a party at the Astor Hotel thrown by the legendary railroad mogul and bon vivant Diamond Jim Brady; a smattering of vaudeville dates. In the end, even these ran out, and "Brown's Band From Dixieland" officially split up.     Loyocano told New Orleans jazz historian Dr. Edmond Souchon in 1956 that the proprietors of Reisenweber's Restaurant, just down the street from the Century, were prepared at that point to hire the band. But all they could offer was twenty-five dollars per man per week, half of what the five musicians had been earning at the theatre, and far below what they'd wound up making after Lamb's had hit the jackpot in Chicago.     After some discussion they turned the offer down. Little more than a year later, the more practical Nick LaRocca took the Reisenweber's job; as will shortly be recounted, it made the Original Dixieland Jazz Band the talk of New York City. "We could have had all the gravy that the Dixieland Band got, because we were there before them," said Arnold Loyocano, with more than a hint of reproach at his colleagues' failure to recognize opportunity when they saw it.     Black musicians, playing ragtime music, are known to have been active in Chicago as early as the first decade of the twentieth century. Novelty clarinetist Wilbur Sweatman, who later claimed to have made the first "jazz records" in 1912, is mentioned in print there in 1906. Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton was working on the South Side in 1914-15. Perhaps most significant, the "Original Creole Orchestra," a transitional ragtime-based group whose members included cornetist Freddie Keppard and, at various times, clarinetists George Baquet and Jimmie Noone, is known to have played the Grand Theatre, on the South Side, in February of 1915. The flamboyant cornetist did well enough, in fact, to make Chicago his new home. New Orleans trombonist George Filhe had played at various South Side cabarets, and sometime between 1915 and 1917 Creole cornetist Manuel Perez reportedly led a band at the DeLuxe Café which included the respected New Orleans clarinet teacher Lorenzo Tio Jr.     Chicago, burgeoning almost by the day, offered a better, freer life than had been available--especially to non-whites--down south. Clarinetist Johnny Dodds, who had married into a comfortable Baton Rouge Creole family, invested in Chicago real estate soon after his arrival at the start of the 1920s. Trombonist Honore Dutrey, his bandmate in King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band, was among several others who also owned property.     But up north, perhaps even more than in New Orleans, the races inhabited two different worlds: Chicago, like New Orleans, had segregated musicians' union locals (no. 10 for whites, no. 208 for blacks), and its jazz development followed similarly separate paths. Black cultural and social events covered generously in the weekly Defender seldom turned up in the white press.     Still, by 1916 the Original Creole Orchestra was sufficiently well known to have been approached--or so it was later claimed--by the Victor Talking Machine Co. to make records. Freddie Keppard, reportedly skeptical of the newfangled industry, turned the offer down.     Tom Brown's success at Lamb's alerted white Chicagoans to what was, in content and effect (if not in exact performance style), the same kind of syncopated dance music as that dispensed by the Creole Orchestra. The sound of it, the ragtimey rhythm, was new, dynamic, and eminently marketable.     Chicago promoters and proprietors rushed to find their own "bands from Dixie." One of them, Harry James, remembered another little group he'd heard on a New Orleans visit; he got in touch with its drummer, Johnny Stein ( ne John Philip Hountha), offering ten weeks at the popular Booster's Club. Stein, well known at home as an organizer, brought a quintet to Chicago. On clarinet was Alcide "Yellow" Nunez (1884-1934), descendant of islenos (Canary Island immigrants), who had worked in early groups with Papa Jack Laine (of whom more presently), among others. On trombone was Eddie "Daddy" Edwards (1891-1963), another Laine alumnus; the pianist was Henry Ragas (1897-1919), with whom Stein had played jobs around town. On cornet was the aggressive and garrulous Dominick James "Nick" LaRocca.     By the time they arrived, in March of 1916, police had closed down the Booster's. But James, resourceful and persuasive, got them into the New Schiller Café, 318 East 31st Street on the South Side, only a block or two from what was shortly to become the Lincoln Gardens, headquarters of King Oliver's incomparable Creole Jazz Band.     According to most reports it was little more than a dive; in the words of Ray Lopez "strictly a sawdust joint catering to a lot of pimps and whores." But if anything, that only added to the raffish charm of the whole enterprise, and Harry James's timing couldn't have been better. The perceived excesses of Chicago nightlife (later described in sometimes harrowing detail by journalists and social reformers) had loosed great indignation among guardians of public morals, among them the powerful Anti-Saloon League. By 1916, their campaign--which culminated four years later in the Eighteenth Amendment--was gathering steam.     On Saturday evening, April 29, a strike force of sixty upstanding Chicago ladies descended on café after South Side café, determined to beard the devil in his lair. One such den was Schiller's, by then featuring "Stein's Band From Dixie." "A line of taxi cabs radiated from the Schiller to the east, west, north, and south," one report said. "In front of the doors, a crowd of people fought for admission. A perspiring doorman held them back. `Can't come in,' he shouted. `We're crowded to capacity. Wait 'til some of the others come out.'" The ladies' "findings" duly appeared in the Chicago Herald , under the headline SIXTY WOMEN RIP MASK FROM VICE:     It was impossible for anyone to be heard. The shriek of women's drunken laughter rivaled the blatant scream of the imported New Orleans Jass Band, which never seemed to stop playing. Men and woman sat, arms about each other, singing, shouting, making the night hideous, while their unfortunate brethren and sisters fought in vain to join them.     For Stein, LaRocca, and company, this was advertising no money could buy. They were news , and such notoriety was sure to keep the customers coming. "After the sensation we created," said LaRocca, "other café owners sent to New Orleans for men who were supposed to play our kind of music. They imported anybody that could blow an instrument, and they all had `New Orleans Jass Band' in front of their places."     To an extent that was so--though it's remarkable how easily he "forgot" that Brown, Lopez, and three other guys had been there first and actually set the craze in motion. H. O. Brunn's dedicated but credulous The Story of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band mentions the Brown engagement at Lamb's as "a textbook of failures," which it clearly was not. It was, however, a story of opportunities not grasped because not recognized. Nick LaRocca, by contrast, knew the main chance when he saw it: and that, in turn, leads into a chain of events culminating in the sweeping popular success of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band.     Personality conflicts, reportedly between LaRocca and Stein, split the quintet up in May, shortly after the Herald vice-raid article appeared. LaRocca, Nunez, Edwards, Ragas, and newly arrived drummer Anthony Sbarbaro (1889-1969) went off to work elsewhere for Harry James. Stein reorganized with more New Orleans men: Larry Shields on clarinet, Jules Cassard (best remembered as composer of the pop song "Angry") on trombone, multi-instrumentalist Sigmund "Doc" Behrenson on cornet, and pianist-songwriter Ernie Erdman ("Toot Toot Tootsie, Goodbye"), who had been playing intermissions at Schiller's.     All were part of a broad pool of white ragtime musicians active in New Orleans before 1920; at its social and musical center was the drummer and musical contractor Jack "Papa" Laine. Born George Vital Laine in 1873, he realized early that anyone organizing a social event that needed music would have to turn to someone who could supply musicians to order, in groups large and small. He would be that "someone"--and some of the best white musicians in the city gravitated into his orbit. A few among very many: cornetists Johnny Lala, Manuel Mello, Pete Dietrans, Gus Zimmermann, Abbie Brunies, and Emile Christian (who later toured on trombone with the Original Dixieland Jazz Band); brothers George and Henry Brunies on trombones, clarinetists Shields, Nunez, and Nunzio Scaglione, and the Brown brothers, Tom (trombone) and Steve (tuba).     While Laine's were not the only good white bands in the city, they were among the most prominent. Laine even, tantalizingly, claimed to have sent a band to play at the great St. Louis Exposition of 1904. His "Reliance" bands were particularly active in the seasonal social life of the Lake Pontchartrain south shore. At one point, Arnold Loyocano reported, Laine ran a "kiddies' band" made up entirely of teenagers, which rehearsed in his front room while "Mama" Laine made certain they got enough to eat and drink.     In later life, until his death in 1966, Laine claimed to have had one of the only two bands in New Orleans to play in the ragtimey, cusp-of-jazz style. Similarly, he was loath to admit that black musicians had had any effect on his music--an attitude paralleling the claims of some black musicians that whites had no influence on them. To suggest that either group worked in isolation from the other contravenes an overwhelming body of scholarly and anecdotal documentation about New Orleans life, musical and social.     In this connection it is significant that several light-skinned blacks and Creoles, among them the admired trombonist and utility brass man Dave Perkins, worked regularly for Laine even while also playing in "colored" ensembles. Nor was he an isolated case: the clarinet-playing brothers George and Achille Baquet were among others who worked both sides of the racial street.     Laine's prominence as a contractor and organizer should not obscure his considerable abilities as a percussionist. A skilled bass drummer, he is also said by some to have developed the first bass drum pedal, a baseball on a stick attached to a rocker arm, and pioneered the use of wire brushes with a trap set. Further Chicago engagements, at such spots as the Del'Abe Café, in the Hotel Normandy (Clark and Randolph streets) and the Casino Gardens (Kinzie and North Clark), reinforced both the group's cohesion and LaRocca's ambition. Nunez, apparently no paragon of personal reliability, clashed with the cornetist and left; his replacement was Larry Shields.     According to Brunn, Nunez returned briefly to New Orleans, only to reappear in Chicago with a band including Stein, Behrenson--on trombone this time--Emile Christian on cornet, and Eddie Shields, clarinetist Larry's kid brother, at the piano. It appears to have been typical of New Orleans bands that many players were skilled on several instruments: Behrenson, for example, was also an excellent clarinetist, who recorded in New York with trumpeter Phil Napoleon and others.     The Casino Gardens ("The Theatrical Profession's Most Popular Rendezvous") drew good crowds and more than a few celebrities, among them Ziegfeld Follies headliners Fanny Brice, Will Rogers, and Bert Williams. Word about the new quintet was getting around, and among those who stopped in to hear what all the fuss was about was a fast-rising star named Al Jolson. Back in New York, he sang their praises to theatrical agent Max Hart--who promptly traveled to Chicago to hear them.     Or at least that's the way Brunn tells it in The Story of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band . Whatever the exact circumstances, January 1917 found LaRocca, Shields, Edwards, Henry Ragas, and Tony Sbarbaro in New York working a two-week tryout at Reisenweber's, the very deal that Tom Brown had spurned.     Therefore, and not without a certain irony, it was they, not Brown, who were the first to record the emergent New Orleans music. What, meanwhile, did Brown's "Band From Dixieland" sound like? It can't have been much different in substance from (though perhaps smoother in execution than) the jagged ensemble textures and nervous drive heard on the 1917-18 Original Dixieland Jazz Band records.     In a letter to Dick Holbrook, Ray Lopez's son Bert quoted his father as saying Brown's band differed from many others in that its musicians "tried to support each other and produce something melodic and rhythmical, instead of trying to drown each other out and make a lot of noise. Someone would come up with an improvised passage and they would work it into a sort of harmonious counterpoint behind the lead, who would be improvising off the melody." (Accurate description of jazz band ensemble textures presents some potential semantic confusions. The interweaving of cornet, clarinet, and trombone can be termed "counterpoint" only if the word is understood in its more modern sense, as "the horizontal aspect of music." This definition is found in Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, which goes on to say that the word is used "more precisely ... to describe music in which the chief interest lies in the various strands that make up the texture, and particularly in the combination of these strands and their relationship to each other and to the texture as a whole. It is the antithesis and at the same time the complement of harmony." For scholars who prefer to use "counterpoint" in its more historical sense--i.e., the idea of a cantus firmus embellished by secondary lines--an alternative for jazz band use might be "polylinearity"; as a neologism, it has the singular advantage of being free of all historical baggage.)     Some recorded evidence of Brown and his musicians does in fact exist. The trombonist, for example, made records beginning in 1920, with Ray Miller's Black and White Melody Boys. His ensemble figures on their "Beale Street Blues," recorded for OKeh, are delivered in a broad manner very like that of Eddie Edwards on the Original Dixieland Jazz Band Victor records. "Beale Street Blues" also has that rarity, at least for 1921, a solo chorus. As the other horns provide a tango-like background figure, Brown plays an expansive twelve bars, as evocative of (the later-recorded) Kid Ory as of Edwards.     He is also with other bands on such slightly later records as Johnny Bayersdorffer's 1924 "The Waffle Man's Call" and Norman Brownlee's "Dirty Rag," made the following year. His marching-band conception of trombone as a kind of ground bass remained much the same for the rest of his life, as can be heard on records made in 1950 by a band led by New Orleans historian-guitarist Dr. Edmond Souchon and cornetist Johnny Wiggs, so it's reasonable to assume it hadn't changed much between 1915 and 1924.     Lopez, too, made records. In contrast to Brown, he seems to have been an improvising player from the start, with a full tone, sound melodic conception, and relatively smooth rhythmic delivery. His recording career is discussed later in this chapter. But it was Nick LaRocca who understood, from early in his career until the end of his life, the golden rule of promotion, advertising, and public relations: anything, repeated often and pervasively enough, will be believed, regardless of accuracy. Again and again he told his story in magazine and newspaper articles, in interviews, in countless letters to journals in and outside the music business, and finally to the all-too-believing ear of H. O. Brunn.     Accordingly, and because they were good, it was LaRocca and this band--the ODJB, as it has come to be known--that caught the public ear. This was the band that musicians came from near and far to hear and, because they'd never heard anything like it, admire and emulate. This was the band that prompted the brother musicians Jim and Fred Moynahan and their pal, jack-of-all-instruments Brad Gowans, to drive from Boston to Manhattan in a blizzard to catch them at Busoni's Balconnades. This was the band that would inspire Phil Napoleon, Miff Mole, and other young players to try the new ways with bands of their own; it would prompt countless "Fives," white and black (as well as white advertised as black in record catalogues), to emulate their recorded example; and that would so captivate young Leon Beiderbecke, growing up in Davenport, Iowa, that he had to go out, find a cornet, and teach himself to play LaRocca's kind of thrusting, inspiriting middle-register ensemble lead.     The influence of the ODJB on New Orleans musicians of both races has been extensively documented. "Dink" Johnson, drummer with the Original Creole Orchestra, confessed in a 1950 interview that he "had always wanted to play the clarinet since hearing Larry Shields." Joe Oliver and Kid Ory, still at home, fired the respected multi-instrumentalist and teacher Manuel "Fess" Manetta because, said Manetta, "they wanted to follow the format of the Dixieland Jazz Band and use only five pieces." Various other accounts tell similar stories.     The irony is that LaRocca almost hadn't come north at all. Johnny Stein had assigned Eddie Edwards to find a cornetist for the Booster's Club engagement. The trombonist's first choice, he said in a 1959 interview, was capable, versatile Emile Christian. But Christian had taken a parade job and couldn't back out. Others were similarly indisposed or disinclined. So, said Edwards, they turned to brash, fiery LaRocca. "He was willing to go, [we] couldn't get anyone else who would go in a hurry, and we had to have him. But Nick was a good worker: never complained about working, never took the instrument down."     Ray Lopez corroborated that account, adding some detail of his own: "I asked Edwards why he brought Nick along, when there were so many good hot cornet players he could have gotten, like Emile Christian, his brother Frank, Pete Dientrans, Joe Lala or Harry Shannon. Why Nick? He told me that Nick furnished the transportation, and Edwards guaranteed he would pay it back. It cost $125 for the five-man railroad fare to Chicago."     LaRocca had begun his apprenticeship in New Orleans music, Steve Brown recalled, by sitting alongside Lopez on jobs and watching him play, then imitating him. Like Lopez, he even held the cornet in his right hand, fingering it with his left, instead of the more common reverse.     For a time, at least, Ray seemed to regard this hot-headed son of a Sicilian shoemaker as something of a protege--though LaRocca, in fact, was his elder by several months. Only later did relations between them go sour--and prompt, one suspects, the dismissive tone so apparent in some Lopez remarks about the ODJB cornetist.     But it can truly be said that Edwards and Stein scarcely realized--at least at first--the value of their choice. LaRocca may or may not have been the best cornetist white New Orleans circles could offer, but he had something else, something every bit as valuable: a driving ambition, coupled with an instinctive understanding of carpe diem . None of the others seemed to grasp the potential of the situation in which they found themselves. And no other band ultimately benefited so much from the timing of events outside its compass.     Chicago was still wide open to southern hot musicians, with restaurants and cafés clamoring for New Orleans (or at least New Orleans style ) bands. With this in mind, Tom Brown, Larry Shields, and Ray Lopez headed straight back to Chicago after the "Band from Dixieland" folded in Manhattan. "Deacon" Loyocano went home--only to return later in 1916 with yet another band, this one led by trombonist George "Happy" Schilling.     Before 1920, white musicians from the Louisiana city regularly joined the columns of blacks marching northward. Merritt Brunies (cornet) and Emile Christian (on trombone this time) were in the "Original New Orleans Jazz Band" that played Chicago in 1916-17. Christian's cornetist brother Frank was one of the "Five Southern Jazzers," which also included pianist-songwriter Ernie Erdman. "Yellow" Nunez stayed awhile before heading for New York, where he organized his cornet-less "Louisiana Five"; Tom Brown himself was in a five-piece band led by banjoist Clint Brush, which played Chicago in 1919. All used the cornet-clarinet-trombone-piano-drums instrumentation popularized by Brown's original band, and by now widely imitated by both black and white ensembles.     Yet the reputation and preeminence of the ODJB persist, and with them a decided ambivalence in the way history seems to view its members. To their partisans, particularly those who heard the band in person in those first, heady days, they'll always be heroes. Listen to "Livery Stable Blues" and "Dixie Jazz Band One-Step," Rudi Blesh wrote in 1967, and "try--I dare you!--to really believe that it happened fifty years ago. I heard the Original Dixieland Jazz Band at Reisenweber's in 1917, and let me tell you--fifty years later I still don't believe it!"     Whether in Blesh or in such musicians as Jim and Fred Moynahan, Phil Napoleon, Miff Mole, Brad Gowans (who remained a lifelong fan), or even the young Beiderbecke, this kind of breathless nostalgia is easy to understand. The epiphany--the moment of discovery, when it all comes together and makes sense--is deep and lasting, becoming more sharply etched in memory as years pass.     With LaRocca leading the way, the ODJB capitalized on its momentum. No one, if he had anything to do with it, would ever be allowed to forget that these five musicians were the first to put genuine hot music on records. His playing, like that of Shields and Edwards, was nimble and energetic. Even after more than three-quarters of a century, listening to the fierce drive he generates in the ensembles can be a heady experience.     Would that he had left it at that. In later years, after the band's reputation had faded (and a late-1930s reunion tour with comedian Ken Murray had flopped), he took another tack. In a flood of letters, magazine articles, and personal interviews he accused younger, more prominent musicians of trying to "cash in on this jazz craze started by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band." He also expressed contempt for anyone who tried to credit black jazzmen with any part in the creative process.     Later outbursts became even more intemperate, as age, disappointment, and jealousy made their inroads. In growing rage, LaRocca watched as, led by Louis Armstrong, black musicians garnered increasing prominence as pioneers and innovators. Without doubt, memories of his own youth, saturated with the pain of growing up in New Orleans as part of the hated Sicilian underclass, came back ever more sharply in these years to haunt him and fuel his bitterness.     LaRocca kept up a drumfire of calumny until his death in early 1961. His personal papers, on file at Tulane's William Ransom Hogan Jazz Archive, are full of splenetic outbursts, dismissals of and attacks on blacks, and progressively fantastic claims for the Original Dixieland Jazz Band as the originators of jazz.     Popular views of jazz history in recent years, fueled by shifts in racial attitudes, have made it easy to disparage LaRocca's testimony as less the cri de coeur of a bitter and disillusioned man than simple racialist bluster. From there it's only a short step to discrediting the ODJB altogether as a noisy, unmusical novelty band which became famous and successful by little more than hustling and being white.     Such an interpretation, however widely held, is no more reflective of historical truth than LaRocca's more outrageous assertions. The Original Dixieland Jazz Band was important--and not only because it was the first to record.     Any attempts at assessment must begin with contemplation of the degree to which its first records are representative of the situation in which the musicians found themselves at their moment of initial popularity. Such performances as "Dixie Jass Band One-Step," "Livery Stable Blues," "Tiger Rag," and the rest are routined party pieces, delivered with a manic intensity which reflects the postwar times, the experience of having played to rapturous audiences in Chicago and New York--and, if Rudi Blesh is to be credited, a matter of recording-studio technical realities.     Talking with Blesh about his visit to Reisenweber's, fellow-writer James T. Maher asked why the band had taken its tempos so fast. "Rudi looked at me and said, simply, `They didn't,'" Maher told the author. "`When they went in the studio, they were given a choice: cut one chorus or play the whole thing faster.' He told me they didn't play as fast at Reisenweber's as they did on those first recordings."     Or did they? The role of dancing in determining tempo is one of the factors least often considered in assessments of this band--and of much hot music recorded during subsequent years. As long as records were to be used "for dancing," as many labels announced, form was bound to follow function.     From myriad sources we know that dance steps popular at any given time influence the tempos at which orchestras played on records. But to what extent, if any, did the time restrictions on records influence the tempos at which bands played? And did this, in turn, influence what happened on the dance floor?     Jazz chroniclers have been singularly unhelpful, preferring to treat the music as something intended chiefly for listening--which it demonstrably was not. The interests of variety alone--not to mention the limits of dancers' physical endurance--would suggest that an average dance-floor number cannot have lasted much longer than three and a half or four minutes. (Broadcast airchecks of the 1930s, presenting bands on the job at ballrooms, dance pavilions, and restaurants, seem to confirm this. Rather than being a limiting influence, the time restrictions seem often to have compelled ensembles and soloists to condense and distill arrangements and to edit potentially discursive solo performances.)     One factor which could not transfer from dance floor to recording studio was, of course, that of pure inspiration: with things going well, and the crowd's intensity level mounting, a band's tendency would be to keep playing, cranking the excitement to fever pitch. This was of course not possible on records until the advent of tape, and with it the long-playing record, in the 1950s.     Far from an incidental consideration, the matter of tempo and performance length is central to retrospective assessment of early jazz. If records constitute the only index--and apart from anecdotal material that is often the case--and the records do not represent a band's night-to-night performances, inaccuracy and misinterpretation are inevitable.     Within this context it is imperative that we listen well to Eddie Edwards as he tries to make an interviewer understand that the Dixielanders "often played soft: the clarinet would remain in the lower register, the drums would take to wood blocks and bass drums, the trumpet used a `shell,' while I used a homemade mute on trombone." The band, he said, "often played soft and ratty--pronounced by the boys `raddy'--so that the shuffle of [the] dancers' feet could be heard."     None of this sounds like the band which careens and whoops its way through the 1917-18 Victor records. Similarly, the records yield little evidence of the beauty of Shields's clarinet playing, praised so rhapsodically by Gowans, Moynahan, clarinetist Rosy McHargue, and others. Overall, little about these records squares with the superlatives heaped on the band by those who heard it in the flesh.     Bruce Boyd Raeburn introduces yet another possible variable when he suggests that New Orleans bands away from home were removed from the context which had nurtured the style and changed accordingly to suit their new audiences [emphasis added]. Whether in live performances or on record, then, these bands were no longer tied to the functional imperatives of their hometown, and in seeking new functions in new places, they made numerous stylistic concessions.     The daemonic energy of the ODJB's Victor records is consonant with the public mood of the World War I years. Again, Raeburn: Indeed, the band had caught the doughboys coming and going, first as the hottest ticket in New York City 1917-18 when the city served as a major port of embarkation, and later in London in 1919 at the Hippodrome and the Armistice Ball, where they played for the returning servicemen and their generals.     The "Great War" left a new generation of disillusioned, worldly-wise Americans, determined to enjoy the pleasures of youth, and damn the consequences. As John F. Carter's oft-quoted declaration in the September 1920 Atlantic Monthly so eloquently put it: The older generation had certainly pretty well ruined this world before passing it on to us. They gave us this thing, knocked to pieces, leaky, red-hot, threatening to blow up; and then they are surprised that we don't accept it with the same attitude of pretty, decorous enthusiasm with which they received it, `way back in the eighties.     What better vehicle to express the indignation and sense of independence those words implied than five musical roughnecks from down south, making such a racket that Mom and Pop, and just about everyone else over twenty-five, retreated in horror and dismay? Rock and roll, 1918 style.     Seventeen titles recorded by the band during its 1919-20 British tour reinforce Blesh's remarks about the differences between the band he'd heard at Reisenweber's and its Victor records, as well as Edwards's memories of dynamics and mood. The trombonist himself, called up for military service, couldn't go. In his place the band took Emile Christian, the same Emile who'd been asked to come north as cornetist back in 1916. He proved to be just as good on the deeper horn, filling in ensemble parts with verve and accuracy.     The English Columbia records, twelve-inch discs with a playing time of between four and five minutes, have been available only intermittently in this country and are therefore worth considering in detail for the performance clues they provide.     On "I Lost My Heart in Dixieland," for example, the band drops to a nicely executed pianissimo , with LaRocca leading, Shields bubbling along merrily under his volume level, and Christian providing staccato punctuations in a manner immediately recognizable to anyone familiar with George Brunis's later work.     They handle the quasi-oriental accents of "The Sphinx" (Shields, stating the verse, seems to prefigure "Lament for Javanette," which Billy Strayhorn wrote and New Orleans-born Ellington clarinetist Barney Bigard recorded more than two decades later) with considerable polish and an unexpected variety of colors.     "Tiger Rag" and "Sensation Rag" are set pieces, performed with little variation; but other numbers, including several pop songs, offer more latitude. "Satanic Blues" rolls along at an easy medium tempo ([half note] = 90), making good use of ensemble dynamics. Shields's tone is broad and pure, his connection to such slightly later players as Sidney Arodin and Rosy McHargue easy to spot.     The ODJB addresses two waltzes, "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" and "Alice Blue Gown," with surprising delicacy: it never stops being a jazz band, the three-horn front line interacting exactly as on a 4/4 number, but the musicians work together here quite gracefully, a reminder that such skills were part of playing for dancing in these years. The testimonies of those who remembered King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band at the Lincoln Gardens not for its hot specialties, but for genteel renderings in 3/4 time, come readily to mind. There are some lovely moments, including Shields's low-register solo on "Bubbles" and a rather affectionate cornet lead on "Alice." How different, the atmosphere of these two numbers, from the clangor of the early Victor records!     The band's sixteen months in Britain witnessed the signing, on June 28, 1919, of the Treaty of Versailles. It was engaged to provide dance music for the Victory Ball, held at the Savoy Hotel and attended by such dignitaries as Marshal Ferdinand Foch, General Henri Petain, American commander General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing, King George V and the rest of the British royal family, and many other crowned heads of Europe.     Brunn's account is particularly charming: "While the teddy bear atop Tony Sbarbaro's huge bass drum waved a miniature American flag, the New Orleans musicians opened the dance program with `The Star-Spangled Banner,' astounding the multitude of guests by playing nearly as loud as the much larger [150-piece] Marine Band. When they stopped playing, cries of `Bully!' and `Viva!' echoed from the gaily decorated rafters of the hall."     Back in New York, the band began recording again for Victor late in November 1920, with Bennie Krueger added on alto sax. This concession to current fashion, and the decision to record "Margie," a new popular song by the band's Indianapolis-born pianist, J. Russel Robinson (who had replaced Henry Ragas after the original pianist's sudden death), seem to have originated with the influential Victor executive and recording manager Eddie King. Though respected by industry colleagues for his market acumen, King has become something of a bete noire in the reminiscences of jazz musicians. No fan of jazz in general, he apparently nursed a special dislike of "hot" trumpet (and cornet) players--a distaste which was to have profound consequences in his mid-1910s relations with Bix Beiderbecke and others.     King's influence is readily discernible on "Margie" (which also, in traditional medley fashion, introduces Robinson's "Singin' the Blues"). LaRocca stands back from the recording horns (is he also muted?), playing the melody in near-unison with Krueger's much more prominent alto (or C-melody) sax. On the B side of the issued disc was another Robinson composition, the faux -Near Eastern "Palesteena." Together they added up to a hit record--and a formula soon duplicated in the unison melody passages of "Broadway Rose."     "Jazz Me Blues," recorded the following May, marks a return to a more straightforward format. LaRocca's lead is clear-toned, without growls, buzzes, or other tricks; just chime-like attacks, phrases placed neatly and economically on the beat, prefiguring Beiderbecke's OKeh record of seven years later. Even his second-chorus break has an almost Bix-like quality.     In the third chorus, Shields weaves a light-toned, supple obbligato around Krueger's straight alto lead, in familiar New Orleans fashion. No less interesting is his two-chorus clarinet solo on "St. Louis Blues," recorded three weeks later. No squawks or "laughing" glisses here: it's straightforward blues playing. "As far as I'm concerned," kid brother Harry Shields--also a clarinetist--told an interviewer in 1961, "there never has been a chorus played like that, before or since. I play it identically, note for note, even now: to me, it's one of the greatest [clarinet] choruses in jazz music."     Most striking about this, as about "Royal Garden Blues" and the other late titles, is their relaxed, even elegant rhythm. The basic unit of measure is now unmistakably the quarter note, and Sbarbaro's full drum kit is clearly audible, laying down the broad four-to-the-bar which within the decade became associated, via records, with such New Orleans drummers as Paul Barbarin, Zutty Singleton, and Baby Dodds.     It's even more pronounced on the titles recorded for OKeh in 1922-23. There are passages--particularly in the closing choruses of a medium-tempo, swaggering "Tiger Rag"--when the ensemble achieves a rolling momentum comparable to that of the King Oliver band on its Gennett and OKeh records of the same years. Instead of the cut-time ([half note] = 127) feel of 1918, the tempo of this "Tiger Rag" is now better expressed as ([quarter note] = 220). Such changes had occurred not only for internal musical reasons but because fashions in dancing had changed. Among the most neglected of all ODJB records are the six Victor big band titles of November 10, 1936. LaRocca was long since back in New Orleans, working in the construction business, when he got a call from New York agent William Morris: would he be interested in reorganizing the old band for a guest appearance in a Hollywood musical, to be called The Big Broadcast of 1937 ?     He turned it down. But the call got him thinking: perhaps, contrary to what he'd come to believe, the public hadn't quite forgotten the Dixieland Band and its postwar popularity. They were all still relatively young men, well under fifty. Why not give it a try?     He rounded up Shields, Edwards, and Robinson; all three had by now stopped playing music professionally. Only Sbarbaro, now known as Tony Spargo, was still working as a musician, playing with Phil Napoleon in New York.     They rehearsed, LaRocca put out the word, and on the evening of July 28, 1936, a reunited Original Dixieland Jazz Band made its debut on Ed Wynn's NBC radio show, winding up with a rousing "Tiger Rag." The fan mail poured in. According to H. O. Brunn, the band had "pulled more listeners for the Ed Wynn show than guest stars on fourteen previous programs." A comeback just might be in the offing.     At first, though, they'd have to adjust to changing times. Big swing bands were the rage, so LaRocca augmented his personnel with some young musicians and unveiled a fourteen-piece "Original Dixieland Band," of three trumpets (plus the leader), two trombones (Edwards not included), three saxes (plus Shields), and a four-man rhythm section.     An anomaly, yes, but a surprisingly listenable one. Shields embellishes and solos in a manner sometimes reminiscent of Benny Goodman--who, as a kid growing up in Chicago, had taken inspiration from him . His chorus on "Clarinet Marmalade," for example, is almost "modern." (The clarinetist is even better on six quintet titles, all remakes of the band's original "hits," issued around the same time under the name "Original Dixieland Five." On a small-band "Marmalade," he sets his solo entirely in his instrument's dark, handsome low register; his chorus on the 1936 "One-Step" employs an attack and gritty tone reminiscent of fellow New Orleanian Edmond Hall.)     LaRocca is another matter. The word most often used to describe his playing on the early records is "ragtimey": it's usually meant as a synonym for stiff or stilted in the manner of marching-band players, typified (in its most extreme form) by Freddie Keppard on such records as the 1926 "Messin' Around," by Cookie's Gingersnaps, or "Stock Yards Strut," by his own Jazz Cardinals.     Though not adapting entirely, LaRocca has managed to smooth out the marching-band conception. The first eight bars of his "Clarinet Marmalade" solo, on the big band version, are almost Bix-like (or perhaps simply reflect that aspect of Beiderbecke's playing that was most LaRocca-like): [Music Illustration Omitted] Nick LaRocca solo, "Clarinet Marmalade," 1936. Consideration of the ODJB's entire recorded output is indispensable to understanding its historical role. A rather more versatile group than its detractors would have us believe, it handles a variety of material with musicality and even charm. The London records, and quite a few of the later Victors and OKehs, lead one seriously to question Gunther Schuller's assertion that "unlike jazz in general and many Negro musicians in particular, the ODJB was not able to absorb into its style the new popular songs coming out of Tin Pan Alley en masse in the early '20s."     How, otherwise, to explain the grace of "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" or the restrained, careful dynamics of "I Lost My Heart in Dixieland"? Here, as in so many other instances, it is as if Schuller and other writers had only heard the first Victor records and were allowing the flummery and hype of marketplace promotion to take up the slack.     Responsibility for much of this can be laid squarely at LaRocca's door. The very absurdity of some of his later claims (inventors of jazz, originators of swing), coupled with his vitriolic racial pronouncements, has made him an easy target in a way far beyond anything generated by that other (and in some ways quite similar) master of rodomontade, Jelly Roll Morton.     (Not surprisingly, two of the most scornful dismissals of the ODJB came from Mister Jelly and Sidney Bechet, both men of Brobdingnagian egos and even larger assessments of their own roles in jazz history. Both, too, were New Orleans Creoles, who may well have grown up with the contempt for Sicilian-Americans so common in early twentieth-century Crescent City life. Furthermore, as British trumpeter-commentator Humphrey Lyttelton has observed, "it must always be borne in mind that black musicians who watched white contemporaries collect the richest rewards ... are not exactly disinterested witnesses.")     The testimony of such veterans as trumpeter Adolphus "Doc" Cheatham seems closer to the mark. "That stuff about black musicians being envious of the whites because of money and such, that's been kind of exaggerated," he said. "Some players might have felt that way, but most musicians I knew and worked with just accepted that society was that way [emphasis added]. If musicians were good, we learned from them, and they learned from us."     There's also the matter of Bix Beiderbecke. Visiting Bix in 1931, his old friend Dick Turner found him bitter and disillusioned, complaining that life had passed him by, that there was no one on whom he could depend--and that hot music held no further charms for him. "Hell," he told Turner, "there are only two musicians I'd go across a street to hear now, that's Louis and LaRocca."     Why LaRocca? Clearly, there had to be enough to the ODJB to engage a musical mind as demanding and questing as Beiderbecke's. One of the most colorful, if comic, episodes linking the Original Dixieland Jazz band to Tom Brown and Ray Lopez before them concerns authorship of the "Livery Stable Blues."     In 1917 "Yellow" Nunez, who had played clarinet with the band in its Johnny Stein days before going on to form his own Louisiana Five, had the piece, with its characteristic barnyard effects, published in Chicago, listing himself and Lopez as co-composers. LaRocca countered by having Leo Feist, in New York, publish the piece (as "Barnyard Blues") with him as composer; he also filed suit against Chicago music publisher Roger Graham, who had published the Nunez version.     The hearing was held in U.S. Federal Court, Northern District of Illinois. Accusation, distortion and contradiction, charge and countercharge, saturated the entire ten days, all in a tone of unremitting venom. At times the heated exchanges veered close to farce. "Expert" witnesses produced learned analyses of the squawks and horse-whinnies used in the number. One critic took the stand to suggest that all "blues numbers" were alike anyway and could be played simultaneously with "perfect harmony."     Chicago newspapers had a wonderful time with it. DISCOVERER OF JAZZ ELUCIDATES IN COURT, proclaimed the Daily News , gleefully describing everything from a Nunez declaration that "Jedge, blues is blues" to LaRocca's purple-striped shirt and green jacket.     In the end federal judge George A. Carpenter, weary of such antics, threw the whole matter out, unresolved. Perhaps the most lasting effect of the furor, in fact, was a lifelong, unstinting hatred between Ray Lopez and Dominick James LaRocca.     Who wrote the "Livery Stable Blues"? Who, in the end, cared? The piece, like the brouhaha surrounding it, quickly sank from view. It surfaced briefly again in 1924, when Paul Whiteman opened his February 12 Experiment in Modern Music at Aeolian Hall with "Livery Stable Blues." Whiteman clearly intended it as illustration of how "primitive" jazz had been before he and his orchestra came along to civilize it--but right away he was worried.     "The audience listened attentively to everything and applauded wholeheartedly from the first moment," he wrote. "When they laughed and seemed pleased with `Livery Stable Blues,' the crude jazz of the past, I had for a moment the panicky feeling that they hadn't realized the attempt at burlesque--that they were ignorantly applauding the thing on its merits." Back in Chicago in 1917 after his New York adventures with the "Ragtime Rubes," Ray Lopez called on old pals Gus Mueller and Bert Kelly and soon found himself working for Kelly at Al Tierney's Auto Inn, at 338 East 35th Street, near Calumet, on the South Side.     (Contrary to widely held impression, the South Side in those pre-1920 years was not a black ghetto. Some of the most elegant white homes were to be found on Prairie Avenue and Grand Boulevard, only two blocks east of the predominantly black neighborhoods of State Street and Indiana Avenue. The checkerboard pattern held, too, in the dance halls and clubs along State Street. Some, like the Auto Inn, featured white entertainment, while others, such as the Royal (later Lincoln) Gardens, at 459 East 31st Street nearby, offered black bands. A bit later, the Grand Terrace ballroom booked black bands, but its clientele remained white.)     When, late in 1916, Tierney announced he was temporarily closing the Grand Auto Inn, Lopez, as usual, had an ace in the hole: he'd met and become friends with vaudeville star Benny Fields, who now steered him into a job at the WynClif Inn, the rathskeller of the Windsor Clifton Hotel in the Loop. "The WynClif Inn became a ball of fire, same as the Lambs [ sic ] had been," he told Dick Holbrook. "All the show people that were in town would come down and keep the joint `jumping with joy.'" They backed the trio of Fields, Jack Salisbury, and Benny Davis and had plenty of featured spots as well.     Before long, the whole troupe began doubling down the street at the prestigious Keith's Majestic Theatre. In letters to Holbrook, Lopez described their opening night, with himself featured with the pit orchestra during the Fields-Salisbury-Davis specialty numbers.     Blossom Seeley, the headliner, was in her dressing room when they went into their routine, he said, and it wasn't long before the cheering and applause reached her ears. She came running to see who we were, and hearing the band playing like they never played before or since. They were doing their last number, which was Darktown Strutters' Ball ... a big hoo-rah jam number where I stood up on a chair in the pit and waved a derby hat over the bell of my cornet, producing a weird effect (so I've been told) ... I had transformed that staid pit band into a really hot jazz band--me and my little old cornet ... she signed us up then and there and said she would send for us as soon as she got back to New York and arranged for a new act to open in the fall. This she did.     That association carried Lopez far afield in the next four years as a member of Blossom Seeley's traveling act. It's clear from the billing that he was being presented not as an accompanist but as "Mister Jazz Himself," an attraction in his own right. An advertisement in the New York Clipper for August 22, 1917, announcing their appearance at the New Brighton Theater in Brooklyn, identified the Seeley troupe as "a distinct combination comprising class, originality and the highest extreme in musical and vocal ability. Not a jazz band [emphasis added], but a Group of Talented Artists. Every one a Star."     Not a jazz band. By this time, the craze set in motion by Brown's band in Chicago (and subsequently taken to unprecedented heights by LaRocca and the ODJB in New York and London) had already become sufficiently widespread--and, presumably, sufficiently noisy--to prompt Miss Seeley and her handlers to distance themselves from it.     Five-piece instrumental groups had blossomed from Bangor to Bakersfield, many among them blatant attempts to emulate the bells-and-whistles "nut" side of the ODJB, and an even more boisterous quintet led by New York drummer Earl Fuller at Rector's, on Broadway. Most, judging from numerous records of this type made by both white and black groups between 1919 and 1922, seemed to have little to commend them save exuberance.     Blossom Seeley didn't record until 1921, said Lopez, and [i]n the meantime, all the other gals were grinding out hit after hit and established themselves as recording artists. Furthermore, the Trio had offers to make some records without Seeley, but she stopped that, which brought on a lot of dissension. The act was a hell of a hit from coast to coast and no doubt the Trio would have been a big hit on records, but they never had a chance to show.     In receiving featured billing, "Mister Jazz Himself" may have been the very first jazz star --that is, the first hot player accorded a featured role in vaudeville outside an organized band, and singled out as such by the press. The ODJB certainly generated more attention, but largely as an ensemble. LaRocca, Shields, and the rest never got the kind of individual billing accorded Lopez.     In 1920, after three years on the road in vaudeville, "Mister Jazz Himself" returned to Chicago, joining banjoist Clint Brush, for whom Gus Mueller had worked before quitting to join Paul Whiteman that spring. Lopez had done well in Chicago, and it had done well by him. But once a southerner, always a southerner: he'd never really adjusted to either the weather or the ways of the North. And one snowy evening in December 1920, destiny reached out again--as it had with Swor and Mack, and again with Benny Fields--to change his life.     "I had fought my way to an El station in the middle of a blizzard," he told Holbrook, "when I heard a fellow calling me. I looked around. I didn't know him. He called me over and we went into a Thompson open-all-night restaurant and he told me who he was and asked me if I would like to be in California on a night like this."     The stranger turned out to be Mike Lyman, whose brother Abe, a drummer, had contracted to lead a band at the Sunset Inn in Santa Monica. They needed a cornetist, and if "Mister Jazz Himself" was interested the job was his, at a handsome $150 a week plus tips. If Lopez hesitated it wasn't for long; the cold, and his doctor's advice to seek a warmer climate or risk chronic pneumonia, quickly overcame any doubt. A week later he boarded a train for Los Angeles, sunshine, and the next phase of a career that continued well into the 1930s.     Though never a strong reader, Lopez seems to have been technically proficient enough to become a favorite of both Lyman and, later, Gus Arnheim. He was professional, likable, and capable of graceful, even elegant, "hot" playing.     He is on Lyman records made between 1922 and 1926, soloing often and well. On "Those Longing for You Blues," done for the rare Nordskog label in mid-1922, Lopez works his derby hat in what is surely his "Mister Jazz" fashion, delivering his figures with a ragtimey even-eighth-note syncopation redolent of early LaRocca. His best moment is a descending break in the final ensemble, notable for its articulation and drive.     Given the rancor and low comedy of the "Livery Stable Blues" dispute with LaRocca, it's perhaps gently ironic that Lopez gets composer credit on the label of "Weary Weasel," an obvious "Tiger Rag" spinoff made by Lyman for Brunswick on July 27, 1923. His break and plunger solo are rhythmically "hot," in the dotted-eighth-and-sixteenth manner of the early '20s, with little trace of the stiff execution of the 1922 date.     Lopez himself cited Lyman's February 1, 1926, "Shake That Thing" as one of his best records. Both he and the band play with surprising abandon, the new technology of electrical recording bringing his tone across with enhanced clarity. On "Twelfth Street Rag," something of a hit for Lyman, he tears off a half-chorus similar in concept to that of fellow New Orleans cornetist Natty Dominique.     But perhaps Ray Lopez's most tantalizing record is "New St. Louis Blues," done the same day. If his solo is a bag of period mute tricks, redolent of what Louis Panico had been doing with Isham Jones, his counterlines in the beginning and closing ensembles are quite another matter; played open, they leap and dart around Howard Fenimore's lead with grace and agility.     The contrast between these two sides of Lopez's playing suggests that the various devices and muted tricks were conventions, expected and appreciated by audiences which, after all, paid the salaries of such bands. Panico, discussed fully elsewhere, presents a parallel: a fine and accomplished trumpet player, widely respected by fellow-musicians, whose main contribution to the Jones orchestra usually involved growls, smacks, whinnying laughter, and other novelty trappings.     As with the ODJB, the funny-hat stuff came with the job, part of the function of a dance band as an entertainment unit. Panico and Lopez, good journeyman professionals both, understood their roles. The jazz cultist's idea of the hot musician as a being apart, an uncompromising specialist who viewed the idea of entertainment with ill-disguised scorn, lay far ahead.     The departure of Ray Lopez brought to an end the first flowering of hot music in Chicago, at least as played by whites. Whatever the nature of their music, the men of "Brown's Band From Dixieland" and of the ODJB had helped open a roadway between New Orleans and the sprawling, disorderly metropolis on the Lake Michigan shore. As work opportunities down south dwindled, ever more musicians of both races came to view the "toddlin' town" as a place of virtually limitless promise. They came and kept on coming, and promise soon enough became reality--a reality beyond Ray Lopez's wildest imaginings.