From the Record Shelves #182

Oh Me! Oh My!

LP VJM Records VLP 21

Sometimes a collector or a specialist comes up with recorded evidence that jazz was everywhere, thus debating if New Orleans really was the birthplace of jazz. But in any case, the city had more jazz than anyplace else in the beginning, and we are not very surprised if a white band that played for dancing sounds like the present one. The improvisation, the hot style with rhythmical phrasing, had become the “normal” way of interpreting almost any tune by the time a recording team visited Crescent City in the mid-twenties. We can add the blues feeling to that.

Very little is known of The New Orleans Owl’s members, at least by the time of this LP release.

The cornet player who owes his style with a mute to King Oliver is Bill Padron, and the clarinetist who plays alto here is Benjie White. Furthermore, we have Lester Smith on tenor sax; Mose Farrar is at the piano; and the rest of the rhythm section consists of Rene Gelpi, banjo; Dan LeBlanc, tuba; and Earl Crumb on drums. I mention all their names because sometimes people show up in a group on Facebook and say “That was my great-grandfather.”

The tune was also recorded by Mitchell’s Jazz Kings in Paris in 1922.

Since the Owl’s were recorded with electric equipment from a van, the sound is very good for 1925.