Jazz 100
Early Styles
The Best Jazz Ever Released Digitally


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Birth Of the Hot
Jelly Roll Morton
1926-27 [Victor/RCA Bluebird]


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Morton was the first great jazz composer. This dream set catalogues his prime on tracks made with the Red Hot Peppers for the Victor label in 1926-27. Other legendary performers here include clarinetist Johnny Dodds and trombonist Kid Ory. Morton controversially (and very wrongly) claimed to have invented jazz in 1902.





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Best of the Hot Five and Hot Seven Recordings
Louis Armstrong
1926-28 [Columbia]


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A veritable treasure-trove of the best tracks Armstrong recorded with The Hot Five and The Hot Seven in the latter half of the 1920s. Armstrong, the most influential figure in jazz history, recorded prolifically in his early years. The 18 tracks on this superb collection are indispensable, although the budget ASV set is preferred.





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At the Jazz Band Ball
Bix Beiderbecke
1924-28 [ASV Living Era]


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The 1920s' other great cornetist was nothing like Louis Armstrong. He was a white rebel without a cause who had a nasty drinking problem. This record has his top jazz tracks and is a good sampling of a range of early styles. We even get cameos from the likes of Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Gene Krupa and Bing Crosby!





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Louis Armstrong and King Oliver
Joe "King" Oliver
1923-24 [Milestone]


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New Orleans cornetist/trumpeter King Oliver is a veritable jazz giant. This set includes 18 classic 1923 Creole Jazz Band recordings featuring protégé Louis Armstrong and Johnny Dodds. When the band broke up a year later things started going downhill. Armstrong features on seven additional tracks from 1924 made with the Red Onion Jazz Babies.





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Carolina Shout
James P Johnson
1917-25 [QRS]


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Johnson's playing in the 1920s earned him a reputation as the king of the stride piano. A mentor to Fats Waller, unfortunately his own work is poorly catalogued. Despite sounding a bit mechanical, these piano roll recordings give some idea of what his early work was like. For pure artistry try the terrific 1942-45 Smithsonian Folkways recordings.





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The Very Best Of Fats Waller
Fats Waller
1926-40 [RCA]


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Topnotch stride pianist noted for showmanship and stage humour. Most of his best recordings were made with his band Fats Waller & His Rhythm for the Victor label. It is slim pickings in the CD stakes, but try and find one that includes the classic original compositions 'Honeysuckle Rose', 'Ain't Misbehavin'' and 'Jitterbug Waltz'.





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The Legendary Sidney Bechet
Sidney Bechet
1932-1941 [RCA Bluebird]


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Bechet's improvisational skill is comparable to Louis Armstrong's. A multi-instrumentalist who made his name on the soprano sax, Bechet's early career playing New Orleans Jazz is poorly catalogued. A brilliant 1932 session with his New Orleans Feetwarmers and his three years at Bluebird up to 1941 are the best of what survives.





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Earl Fatha Hines
Earl 'Fatha' Hines
1928-47 [Classic Jazz Archive] 2CDs


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The first truly great jazz pianist got his start playing in Louis Armstrong's Hot Five from 1927-28. Hines was fully ambidextrous, which gave him a unique range of abilities the envy of all other stride players. Throughout the 1930s Hines' orchestra was the house band at the Grand Terrace Café in Chicago controlled by gangster Al Capone.


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