From the Record Shelves #154

Showboat Shuffle

LP Ace of Hearts AH 34

About twenty years ago, I had the chance to go to Chicago and play with my band. In one of the places where we played, a rather unpretentious concert, I was told at the intermission that the band of King Oliver had played at the same stage back in the 1920s. I was mildly shocked.

The awe for King Oliver’s Dixie Syncopators goes back a long time. Even before I had saved up money and bought myself a record player I looked at my sister’s EP with Jackass Blues, Dead Man Blues and two other titles, maybe this one, and dreamed about the music. Before even hearing it.

The LP is from a time in the 1960s when the recordings of Oliver, except for the Creole Jazz Band sides were scarcely known to the jazz fans, at least in England where the record was produced.

A word to describe King Oliver’s cornet playing on this tune would be “majestic”. He plays solo, a duet with “Tick” Gray and again solo fill ins before leading the last chorus. Omer Simeon is the clarinet soloist and behind Kid Ory’s trombone solo the band plays a kind of stop time rhythm that was often applied by the Dixie Syncopators at the time in 1927. Paul Barbarin is their drummer, with good cymbal work.