[Dixielandjazz] Original Dixieland Jazz Band

Anton Crouch a.crouch@unsw.edu.au
Tue, 06 Aug 2002 18:38:21 +1000

Hello all

Some months ago we discussed Brian Rust's finding that the two Columbia
sides made by the ODJB ("Darktown Strutters Ball" and "Indiana") were
recorded on 31 May 1917, not 30 January 1917. The story of the ODJB
recording first for Columbia, but the sides not being issued until after
the Victors of 26 February 1917, is part of the orthodoxy of jazz history.

The response was mixed - some (eg Bill Haesler) agreed with Rust; others
(eg Steve Barbone) had doubts. I was sympathetic to Rust's conclusion but
had some small doubts. I doubt no more - I now agree with Rust.

My doubts have been dispelled after going through the material in Rust's
"Columbia Master Book Discography, volume 2" (Greenwood Press, 1999). 

The matrix numbers for the two sides (77086 and 77087) lie within a block
of numbers for other material not challenged as being recorded on 31 May
1917 (Byron Harlan, Jim Doherty, Lewis James & James Harrod, Prince's
Orchestra, and Riccardo Stracciari) and there is no gap in matrix numbers
for the period 18 January 1917 to 28 February 1917 ( matrix numbers 47298
to 47395). The probability that Columbia assigned two 70000 series matrix
numbers to a date in January 1917 is, for practical purposes, zero.

Rust's findings are not in conflict with the evidence for a visit to the
Columbia studios on or about 30 January 1917. The ODJB probably did play,
ie audition, for the Columbia people, including the recording engineer, but
there was no recording.  

All the best