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Hot Dance Bands from OKeh 1923-1931


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Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Dick McDonough, Sonny Howard Ernie Anderson (guitar); Phillip Cole (banjo, violin, clarinet, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, bass saxophone, drums); Fred Brohez (banjo, cornet); Arthur Schutt (banjo, piano, drums); Tommy Fellini, Mark Fisher, Earl Wright, Harry Reser, Bill Barford, Tony Colucci, Stanley Thompson (banjo); Larry Abbott (violin, clarinet, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone); Tom Stacks (violin, drums); Henry Jaworski, Irwin Abrams, Milton Shaw, Dan Yates, Gene Fogarty, Emerson Gill, Les Reis, Joe Venuti, Russ Columbo, Artie Dunn, Smith Ballew, Vernon Dalhart, Xavier Cugat (violin); Arnold Brillhardt (flute, clarinet, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone); Nick Cortez (accordion, flugelhorn); Cornell Smelser (accordion); Harry Countmann (clarinet, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, trombone); Clarence Heidke, Alfie Evans, Bobby Davis (clarinet, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone); Lyle Bowen, Jimmy Lord, Aaron Voloshin, Cliff Gamet, Ace Brigode, Louis Martin , Sid Trucker, Damon Dickson, Jimmy Dorsey (clarinet, alto saxophone); Jimmy Harry (clarinet, tenor saxophone, piano); Eddie Allen, Morris Dixon, Hymie Wolfson, Jimmy Grier & His Orchestra (clarinet, tenor saxophone); Alex Hyatt (clarinet); Les Crumbacher (reeds); George Napoleon, Maurice Harris, Fletcher Hereford (alto saxophone); Sam Ruby, Jim Crossan, Norman Yorke (tenor saxophone); Jimmy Johnston, Adrian Rollini (bass saxophone); Manny Klein, Chelsea Quealey, Hymie Farberman, Henry Levine, Leo McConville, Bob Effros, Lucien Criner, Vic DIpollito, Roy Johnston, Joe Lindwurm, Nat Natoli, Tommy Gott, Ruby Weinstein, Frank Cush, Frankie Quartell, Jules Levy, Jr., John Poston, Red Nichols, Roy Fox, Johnny McGhee, Earl Oliver (trumpet); Nate Bold, Frankie Trumbauer, Leni Reed Riley (cornet); Al Delaneyt (flugelhorn, trombone); Abe Lincoln, Al Philburn, Louis Harmin, Jimmy Freshour, Mike Durso, Hub Henning, Mickey Guy & His Rose Tree Cafe Orchestra, Norman Taylor, George Troup, Sammy Lewis , Herbert Winfield, Charlie Butterfield, Jim Cassidy, Jack Teagarden, Miff Mole, Russ Morgan & His Orchestra , Tommy Dorsey (trombone); Jack Russin, Itzy Riskin, Harry Perrella, Arnold Frank, Penn Fay, Vincent Lopez & His Casa Lopez Orchestra, Frank Signorelli, Mike Markel, Dippy DIppollito, Gus Arnheim, Elliott Jacoby, William Wirges, Irving Brodsky, Joey Gold, Rube Bloom, Bill Miller (piano); Herb Weil, Will Simerall, Danny Alvin, Irving Farbermann, Andy Picard, Freddy Bauer, Vic Berton, Ward Archer, Bob Berry, Stan King (drums).
  • Audio Remasterer: Harry Coster.
  • Liner Note Author: Mark Berresford.
  • Recording information: Chicago, IL (11/26/1923-02/18/1931); George Vanderbilt Hotel, Asheville, NC (11/26/1923-02/18/1931); Los Angeles, CA (11/26/1923-02/18/1931); New Orleans, LA (11/26/1923-02/18/1931); New York, NY (11/26/1923-02/18/1931); Radison Hotel, Minneapolis, MN (11/26/1923-02/18/1931); St. Louis, MO (11/26/1923-02/18/1931).
  • Author: Chris Ellis.
  • Directors: Cornell Smelser; Irwin Abrams; Arnold Frank; Ed Kirkeby; Fred Rich; Mike Markel; Gus Arnheim; Harry Reser; Joe Frasetto; Emerson Gill; Sam Lanin; Ben Selvin.
  • Photographer: Chris Ellis.
  • Arrangers: Mickey Guy & His Rose Tree Cafe Orchestra; The Bill Perry Blues Band.
  • In 2007 the Retrieval historic reissue label brought out a chronologically arranged double-CD anthology of obscure hot dance band recordings made between November 1923 and February 1931 and released on 78-rpm platters bearing wine-red labels imprinted with the OKeh logo. Back then it was standard practice for phonograph record companies to maintain racially segregated catalogs. This compilation focuses upon 24 Caucasian OKeh dance bands, most of them quite obscure from the retrospective vantage point of the 21st century. Individuals who are lucky enough to own a copy of this amazing collection will have ready access to the sounds of the Scranton Sirens (from Pennsylvania), the Palledo Orchestra of St. Louis; Harold Leonard & His Red Jackets; trumpeter Frankie Quartell & His Little Club Orchestra; violinist Ace Brigode & His Fourteen Virginians; and bands led by violinist Irwin Abrams and pianists Mike Markel and Fred Rich. Ensembles named after landmark businesses include Vincent Lopez & His Hotel Pennsylvania Orchestra; trombonist Mickey Guy & His Rose Tree Caf? Orchestra; Gus Arnheim & His Ambassador Hotel Orchestra (with "Whispering Cornetist" Roy Fox and violinist Russ Columbo); Jack Glassner & His Colonial Inn Orchestra; and pianist Arnold Frank & His Roger's Caf? Orchestra, whose OKeh record was cut on site at the Radisson Hotel in Minneapolis in September 1927. Although the exact identity of the Carolina Club Orchestra is surprisingly difficult to ascertain, it was likely led by Hal Kemp. When he wasn't operating a dance band under his own name, Sam Lanin fronted the Arkansas Travelers (with trombonist Miff Mole, C-melody saxophonist Frankie Trumbauer, pianist Rube Bloom, and vocalist Vernon Dalhart) as well as the Melody Sheiks (with trumpeter Red Nichols, tuba titan Joe Tarto, and legendary early jazz drummer Vic Berton). Other supreme but nearly forgotten delights include music by Milt Shaw & His Detroiters, the Jazz Pilots (one of many novelty groups led by banjoist Harry Reser), a band directed by Cleveland violinist Emerson Gill, and another by pianist Sol S. Wagner with incidental vocals by the Brown Sisters & Green. Ed Kirkeby, later famous for being Fats Waller's manager, steered two of the bands on this collection; the "Ted Wallace" orchestra and the Goofus Five. Both were quite similar to Kirkeby's main group, a prolific recording ensemble known as the California Ramblers. In addition to the handful of authentic early jazz heroes already mentioned, trombonist Jack Teagarden, saxophonists Jimmy Dorsey and Adrian Rollini, and guitarist Dick McDonough show up as members of a dance band led by pianist/accordionist Cornell Smelser. Retrieval's Hot Dance Bands from OKeh 1923-1931 is a unique and fascinating archive of historical treasures that are guaranteed to amuse, amaze, and entertain. ~ arwulf arwulf
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