Originally from New Orleans, LA, the Original Dixieland Jass Band (ODJB) was recruited to Chicago in 1916 to perform at Schiller’s Cafe. There was interest in bringing a New Orleans-style band to Chicago. After a number of personnel changes, ODJB was booked to perform in New York City. Starting in January 1917, ODJB took up residency providing upbeat dancing music at Reisenweber’s Restaurant in New York City.
At the time, the center of the music recording industry was New York City and New Jersey. ODJB had earned their own following in New York and received invitations to record. In the end of February, the band recorded with Victor Talking Machine Company and recorded two sides of a 78 record under the Victor name. The song here, Dixie Jass Band One-Step, and Livery Stable Blues were the first songs released on this record.
With the release of this record, ODJB gained immense popularity in America. The members dubbed themselves “Creators of Jazz” having given the American people their first taste of jazz with their record release. After a successful first release, the ODJB recorded more songs for a total of 25, 2-song records before the group’s disbandment in 1925.
Dixieland jazz is different than what we think of as “jazz” today. It follows the 12-bar blues model, but instead of having a dominant soloist in the foreground, each of the five players play throughout. It sounds as if each player is playing his own solo throughout the whole song. It gives a different flavor of ensemble than we are used to in today’s instrumental music.
One of the primary uses for this music was dance. The complexity of the music itself and each of the five instruments intertwining with each other parallels that of public dancing. Everyone dances to the same beat, but each person on the dance floor is dancing his or her own way. No one looks or sounds the same. The same applies to Dixieland Jazz.
“Original Dixieland Jazz Band.” The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, 2nd ed.. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, accessed March 2, 2015, http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/J339300..