From the Record Shelves #132

Farewell Blues

CD Timeless Historical CBC 1-067

There are many similarities between this 1923 recording and the one that King Oliver’s Dixie Syncopators made a couple of years later, especially in the attitude of the hot final choruses.

Isham Jones played tenor sax and his orchestra became the leading dance band of Chicago. Here we have their early recordings that has more of a jazz flavor than later.

The star of the orchestra is trumpet player Louis Panico who obviously, like another one of Italian breed Frank Guarente, took strong impression from King Oliver. I have a copy of the book The Novelty Cornetist by Panico from 1923, and it’s a very detailed and good instruction manual of how to play the effects that King Oliver reportedly invented. We get chapters on “The Baby Cry”, “The Horse Neigh” and “The Laugh”. The book also includes transcriptions of some of his solos, unless it was the other way around, that he composed them and played them from the score.

Eddie Condon worked with Panico later in the twenties when he had started an orchestra of his own and describes him as a very generous bandleader and person and also says: Nothing had bothered Louis since he learned to play the cornet in Italy. His instructor held needles against his cheeks; if they puffed out as Louis blew, the needles went into them. —Those needles hurt like hell, he told me once. — Naturally I learned to blow the right way.