A pioneering New Orleans trombonist, Kid Ory (1886-1973) made a full comeback and led one of the top trad-jazz bands of the 1950s.
Ory, whose percussive approach to playing trombone was very influential, was leading one of New Orleans’s leading groups as early as 1911. Among his sidemen at various times were cornetist King Oliver and Louis Armstrong, and clarinetists Johnny Dodds, Sidney Bechet, and Jimmie Noone. In 1918, Ory moved to California, helping to introduce jazz to the West Coast, and in 1922 he recorded two numbers that are the earliest recordings by a black New Orleans jazz group. After moving to Chicago in 1925, Ory recorded many classic performances as a sideman with King Oliver, Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five, Johnny Dodds, and Jelly Roll Morton.
Ory was mostly out of music in the 1930s, running a chicken ranch in Los Angeles. He returned to playing in 1942 when his brand of New Orleans jazz was making a comeback. After his pickup group appeared as a feature on Orson Welles’s radio series in 1944, Ory’s band caught on big. He would not lack for work for the next 20 years until he retired in 1966 and moved to Hawaii.
The best recordings by Kid Ory’s Creole Jazz Band were made for the Good Time Jazz label. Kid Ory’s Creole Jazz Band 1944/1945 has his comeback recordings, featuring trumpeter Mutt Carey and either Omer Simeon or Darnell Howard on clarinet. The many heated ensembles and colorful solos resulted in quite a bit of excitement.
Five CDs feature Ory’s band from the 1953-1956 period. This Kid’s the Greatest! showcases both Ory’s group with the powerful trumpeter Teddy Buckner and his definitive lineup with trumpeter Alvin Alcorn. The Alcorn group, which had a knack for building up every performance to an exciting climax, is well featured on Kid Ory’s Creole Jazz Band 1954, Kid Ory’s Creole Jazz Band, The Legendary Kid, and Favorites!.
Kid Ory’s brand of New Orleans jazz is something every jazz fan should experience.