Jazz Oracle: Portal to Antiquity
Manning's musical career started after his military experience in World War I doing "concert party" work. In the 1920s, he gravitated to New York City and convinced a Brooklyn theatre owner to let him rent the premises in order to stage a vaudeville program based on his Caribbean expertise. Manning filled the theatre up with expatriates who knew of his talents in the West Indies and the show was a great success. This solidified his name and reputation as an actor and vaudeville specialist. This particular brand of jazz quickly died out during the Great Depression due to Manning going back to England, and fellow composer Cyril Monrose leaving for Trinidad.
Standout tracks: Amba Cay La, Baby, Mabel (See What You've Done), The Bargee, Lignium Vitae, Sly Mongoose, Hold Him Joe.
New Orleans Jazz Band
Recorded in New York 1924-1925
There is some confusion surrounding the New Orleans Jazz Band. It is not to be confused with a group by the same name that was led by Jimmy Durante on the piano. Little historical information is available about the New Orleans Jazz Band because it was mainly made up of obscure musicians.
In 1923, the band first appeared on record. Trombonist Andy Russo went on to work regularly in the swing era of the 1930s with many, many bandleaders. Clarinetist Sidney Arodin worked with big bands during the swing era, and then he returned to New Orleans. Most people have never heard of Arodin, although they are probably familiar with his most famous melody: "Lazy River." By 1924, so many of the original members left, that drummer Tommy de Rose was the only one who remained. Recordings were released on the Domino label. The very first recordings were musically rough because the band had not had time to gel yet, but it was ambitious and by its next recording date it had added a banjo player. Some personnel changes occurred (including the addition of trumpeter Harry Gluck), because many of the members left to join the newly re-organized version of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, who happened to be appearing at the New York Cinderella Ballroom.
While these recordings are not so valuable for their musicality, they are valuable in that they give the listener insight into an example of white Dixieland jazz through the influence of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. An additional note of importance is that these are the first recorded sides of clarinetists Sidney Arodin and Brad Gowans, who both turned out very fine and respective jazz careers.
Standout tracks: Tin Roof Blues, It Had to Be You, Some of These Days, The Camel Walk.
The Original Indiana Five
For many years the Original Indiana Five have gone neglected as far as historical research goes. It wasn't until February 1999 that Frog Records released the Original Indiana Five's complete Harmony sides on CD. By April 1999, film of the Five with matching sound was found. Through arduous internet research, Jazz Oracle has been able to find friends and family members in order to learn more about the history of the Original Indiana Five, and intends to release everything the band recorded (excluding the Harmony sides of course) in a series of discs. This is merely the first volume.
In 1947, Robert H. Miller wrote about the history of the Original Indiana Five for an Australian magazine, but the problem is he never contacted any of the members. There was no excuse for this as they were all alive at the time. Thus, his article was full of false information claiming that the players all came from Gary, Indiana (perhaps a crystal ball warned him about the Jackson 5?), when they all came from New York City and merely used Indiana in their name as a marketing ploy, a ploy which was very common at the time.
The music on this disc is broken into three separate categories by record label: Olympic, Pathe and Gennett Records. As far as the Olympic sides go, clarinetist Nick Vitalo's playing is exceptionally strong on "Bees Knees," while the group take Johnny Dunn's "Sweet Lovin' Mama" much faster than his recording. These two tracks alongside "Louisville Lou" and " Slow Poke" really demonstrate Johnny Sylvester's trumpet (which is reminiscent of Frank Guarente's trumpet playing in the Georgians). "Two Time Dan" and "Bebe" showcase Vitalo again, but this time on alto saxophone.
The listener can tell when the Five went over to the Pathe label because the band has the addition of a banjo, and as a whole, it sounds more comfortable and relaxed as a unit. "Stavin' Change" and "Mean Mean Mama" show a fire that was only rivaled by the Original Memphis Five. "Tin Roof Blues" displays Pete Pellizzi taking a solo that is based around George Brunie's version for the New Orleans Rhythm Kings.