This exciting MMO volume emphasizes collectively improvised ensembles and the succession of individual solos in the freewheeling “Chicago-Style” offshoot of New Orleans Jazz. The rhythmic texture is rooted in the swing feel of the late 1930s, and the instrumentation is typical of the New York groups of this genre. The songs are popular melodies from the 1900s to 1930s as well as multithematic compositions and blues—on this album you’ll find such classics as “’Deed I Do,” “Sugar,” “The Darktown Strutters’ Ball,” “That’s a Plenty” and more.
Sometimes this style is referred to as the New York-Chicago style, sometimes as post-Chicago style. It has also been called “Nicksieland,” a play on “Dixieland” that recognizes a Greenwich Village nightclub called “Nick’s,” where this music was showcased in the 1950s. Chicago-style jazz is named for the city where it first developed. In the 1920s, many New Orleans musicians, including Joe “King” Oliver, Jimmy Noone, Johnny and “Baby” Dodds, Freddie Keppard, “Jelly Roll” Morton, Louis Armstrong, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, and the New Orleans Rhythm Kings actively performed and recorded in Chicago. There are also many younger musicians around Chicago who were profoundly influenced by their music, including Eddie Condon, Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Muggsy Spanier, Bud Freeman and many others. By the 1930s many of these same musicians moved on to New York. Some continued to perform in the New Orleans tradition and others became significant figures of the Swing era. As the Big Band era closed, improvising soloists still found work in New York clubs such as Nick’s, Eddie Condon’s and the Metropole. The texture was distinctly in the New Orleans tradition but the language was Swing and directly reflected the synthesis that took place in Chicago.
The musicians chosen for this session are, in a way, exponents of this tradition. Their personal styles are amalgamations of the greatest stylists who preceded them. You can hear in Hal Smith aural glimpses of Dave Tough and George Wettling. You can hear in Jon-Erik shades of Muggsy Spanier and Wild Bill Davison. Brian Ogilvie’s voice of choice is flavored by the sonorities of Bud Freeman and Eddie Miller, and Evan Christopher owes more than a little bit to Edmond Hall’s style. The other musicians were chosen for these qualities as well, and as a result, this stylistically accurate recording demonstrates the inner workings of collective improvisation in a traditional jazz context.
You’ll be blown away by the quality of these jazz combos—and this album includes both printed solo part and a concert lead sheet, to give you a rare glimpse into the workings of the great bands of the past—and present! Also includes a slow-tempo version of the accompaniments to help you get up to speed.