Editor, Webmaster: Phil Cartwright Editor@earlyjas.org
|In Tune -- by Bill Fuller
Additions, comments, corrections,
contributions to Bill Fuller %Earlyjas, or
Edward “Kid” Ory was born on Christmas Day, 1886, in LaPlace, Louisiana. Musically he
began on banjo but switched to trombone and, in his teens, led a popular band in and
around his hometown.
When he turned 21, he took his band to New Orleans. He developed the “tailgate” style of
playing trombone in which the trombone carried the rhythm under the lead instrument(s).
During the 19-teens, his band was one of the most popular in New Orleans. At this time he
employed such stellar figures-to-be as King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Johnny Dodds, and
In 1919, for health reasons, his doctor suggested that Ory seek a drier climate so he relocated
to Los Angeles and formed Kid Ory’s Creole Orchestra. In July of 1922, this group recorded
“Ory’s Creole Trombone” for the Sunshine Label in L.A under the name of Spike’s Seven
Pods of Pepper. This is reputed to be the first jazz recording by an all black band, nearly five
years after the Original Dixieland Jazz Band’s recordings.
In 1925, Ory moved to Chicago and played regulalrly with King Oliver, Louis Armstrong,
and Jelly Roll Morton.
During The Depression Ory ran a chicken ranch and didn’t play very much. But during the
traditional jazz revival of the 40’s and on into the 60’s Ory led one of the top New Orleans-
style bands in the country playing concert appearances, radio broadcasts, and making
He retired from music for good in 1966 and lived the rest of his life in Hawaii. (Editor’s note:
Ory played in the top floor lounge of the Ilikai hotel, Waikiki Beach. I lived across the street
and saw him play several times. P.C.)
ORY’S CREOLE TROMBONE - (1922) written by Kid Ory and recorded in Los Angeles for
the Sunshine label under the band name of Spike’s Seven Pods of Pepper.. Ory both wrote
and played on this alleged “first” recording by an all black band. Mutt Carey was on cornet.
On the other side of this seminal recording the band did a number called “Society Blues.”
SAVOY BLUES – One story goes that Kid Ory wrote this tune in 1927, while playing with
King Oliver’s Dixie Syncopators at the Savoy Ballroom. Another story says that Louis
Armstrong called Ory two days before an important OKEH recording session and told him he
was short one tune. Ory wrote this tune in the two days before that session.
MUSKRAT RAMBLE - usually credited to Kid Ory in 1926, this piece may have been written
by Louis Armstrong during his apprenticeship with Ory. Others say that Alfonse Picou may
have written it. The great New Orleans reed player, Sidney Bechet, swore that the melody
was an old Creole theme named “The Old Cow Died.”
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