Traditional Jazz records for “Victor” owner, and some better sounding alternatives

The early Jazz played in New Orleans is nowadays often labelled “Dixieland”, however also “Hot Jazz”, “New Orleans Jazz” and “Traditional Jazz” are terms frequently used. While often used pretty interchangeably, it seems that the meaning is not exactly the same. I leave it to a later time to find out the differencies.

It seems astonishing, but even the first Jazz records made by the “Original Dixieland Jass Band” from 1917 are still available, even on the web, i.e. you don’t actually need to own a “Victor Talking Machine” to play wax cylinders. However a RealAudio player comes in handy as RedHotJazz (www.redhotjazz.com) has an amazing archive of Jazz songs with most of the files being in RealAudio format.
But also on Youtube you can find lots of the old stuff, I have posted some examples in the “Links” section of this blog.
And for the ones really digging into Traditional Jazz (although, they probably do not read my blog anyway), “Jazz Oracle” (http://www.jazzoracle.com) and “Mosaic Records” (http://www.mosaicrecords.com) specialize in records from the 1920/30es.

After the first wave of Jazz recordings 1917/18, there were few remarkable recordings for some years until Jazz had arrived in Chicago and New York. Around 1923, Joe King Oliver with his “Creole Jazz Band” made some very important recordings. Not only, but also because Louis Armstrong was then playing with his idol and mentor.

Around 1925 Louis Armstrong started recording with his “Hot 5” and “Hot 7” and he was followed soon by Jelly Roll Morton with the “Red Hot Peppers”, Bix Beiderbecke and “The Woverines” and Henry Red Allen, amongst many others. This marked the start of a new era of very popular Jazz recordings.

Even though those recordings certainly have been remastered, they still require quite some tolerance when it comes to audio quality. Nothing for the SACD and HiRes listeners out there, but even for my level of HiFi sophistication not really fun to listen to. Therefore, I have been looking for contemporary Traditional Jazz recordings to listen to and to dive into the genre.

While initially, I feared that “contemporary Traditional Jazz” was a quite uninhabited island in the Jazz ocean, soon I discovered that a quite healthy and active tribe is living there. Not only with US American folks, but also with bands from places like Germany (“Barrelhouse Jazzband”) and Switzerland (“Wolverines Jazz Band of Bern”).
Of course, in the birthplace of Jazz, New Orleans, there are some bands active. Most importantly probably the “Preservation Hall Jazz Band”, which can look back on a long history and an extensive discography. Or the “New Orleans Swamp Donkeys Traditional “Jass” Band”.
But if you happen to live in NY you might actually have the largest choice of active bands playing at the moment. “Mona’s Hot Four”

and “The Hot Sardines”

are just two of the young new bands, which play also often live. For some true live feeling of another one, Emily Asher’s Garden Party, go to Jazz Lives. But the most well known NY group is probably “Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks”.

I am sure I will come across more in the future, but leave it with those for the moment.

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