[Dixielandjazz] Nick LaRocca & Bix

D and R Hardie darnhard at ozemail.com.au
Mon Oct 9 21:25:28 PDT 2006

  Hi Everyone,
There is nothing new in the rather one sided  document at the web site 
Bill referred to, though it is very interesting to hear Nick La Rocca’s 
  La Rocca's claims  to have invented jazz are well known and supported 
over the years by a number of researchers including the celebrated 
discographer Brian Rust.
More recently New Orleans researcher and musician  Dr Jack Stewart has 
devoted time and energy to analysing  La Rocca’s contribution to jazz 
as described in articles published in the Jazz Archivist - the Journal 
of the Hogan Jazz Archive at New Orleans Tulane University.
In the latest issue he deals with the La Rocca claim in an objective 
fashion, free of any prejudgement as to the primacy of black or white 
              In a previous article, Stewart pointed out many 
similarities between Nick La Rocca  and  another claimant to the title 
of inventor of jazz, Jelly Roll Morton,  who he called ‘The strangest 
of bedfellows’.
             It’s hard to support the statement  on the web site that La 
Rocca’s claim to have transformed  Tiger Rag is somehow more credible 
that that of Morton since Morton demonstrated the source of his 
transformation on the Alan Lomax  Library of Congress  disk.
   Jelly Roll (1902) and Nick La Rocca (1917) were not the only ones who 
claimed to have invented Tiger Rag. White band leader Alex King Watzke 
(ca 1905) claimed the honour and called it No 2. Black bandleader Jack 
Carey (ca 1913) also claimed to have invented it calling it Play Jack 
Carey. Other witnesses said it had been around a long time and often 
referred to it as Nigger No 2.
Stalebread Lacoume also claimed to have invented jazz.
Interestingly both Morton and La Rocca used the same argument to 
dispose of the claims of earlier performers. Morton said Buddy Bolden 
did not play jazz, but was a ragtime player. La Rocca said all the New 
Orleans musicians before his Original Dixieland Jazz Band played only 
ragtime. Numerous other witnesses disagreed stating that Buddy Bolden, 
or Jack Laine or Lacoume’s Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band were performing what 
we now call jazz well before 1900.
Perhaps Morton and La Rocca both honestly thought they invented jazz, 
but my researches suggest the story goes back at least as early as 1893 
and possibly earlier. Jack Stewart argues persuasively that it evolved 
over a period of thirty years and I’m inclined to agree.

Dan Hardie
Check out the web site: 

On Monday, October 9, 2006, at 08:10  PM, Bill Haesler wrote:

> Dear friends,
> This lot (new to me) via my mate Denis King (Australian Dance Band 
> list).
>    http://www.kazoolips.com/NICK_LaROCCA.html
> and this new CD site.
>   http://www.kazoolips.com/
> Kind regards,
> Bill.
> _______________________________________________
> Dixielandjazz mailing list
> Dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com
> http://ml.islandnet.com/mailman/listinfo/dixielandjazz

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