DJSmilesDavis Weblog
Music Transends Time & Space

Blow your horn like a King

b000000xw101lzzzzzzz.jpg Back when technology lacked musicians played their instruments live in a studio for the duration of entire songs to record. Who knew?! Players were forced to be spread about the room by instrument to get a balanced sound. Myth has it that when Louis Armstrong recorded with Joe “King” Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, he was forced to play in the hall way due to his virtuous sound. A myth!! That’s just what that is, whether there is any truth to it no one really knows. Louis was said to have been in the very back of the room during recordings, though so was King Oliver. True or false all I know is the work they did together is masterful. Have a sneak




Gennett Records–Richmond, Indiana– would be the bands first recording home. This pre-war label recorded a plethora of music from jazz to blues, ethnic to sound effects. Their most notable recordings are King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band done in April of 1923. The core Oliver band consisted of Louis Armstrong, Lil Hadin Armstrong (later became Louis’ wife) on piano, Johnny Dodds on clarinet, Baby Dodds on drums, Honore Dutrey on trombone, many of whom went on to have famed solo caries. King Olive would determine his fate by asking for more money than clubs were willing to pay, often losing major gigs like The Cotton Club to a young Duke Ellington.


To be honest most of the jazz I really appreciate is the jazz that sounds most authentic. No one came close to sounding like King Oliver, in my opinion. Those long drown out vibrating stretched out notes, plenty of musically changes all mixed together with a certain sex appeal. You can just visualize couples rhythmically sedated unable to pull away from each other on the dance floor.

one more sneak 03-call-of-the-freaks.mp3


One Response to “Blow your horn like a King”

  1. FYI – The placement of Louis Armstrong at that first King Oliver session in Richmond is not myth. Ezra Wickemeyer, the engineer for recording date, repeatedly discussed placing Armstrong near the studio door. Armstrong and former wife Lillian Armstrong also described the situation. The distance is debatable, but Ezra ran the session, and he knew. I’ve had several chats with Ezra’s nephews (Ezra didn’t have children) and they recall “Uncle Ez’s” story quite well.

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