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Home » Catalogue » Jazz, Dance & Blues » Wilbur Sweatman's Original Jazz Band: Jazzin' Straight Thru' Paradise   
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Wilbur Sweatman's Original Jazz Band: Jazzin' Straight Thru' Paradise
[ARCH 6004]

$16.49

Wilbur Sweatman's Original Jazz Band: Jazzin' Straight Thru' Paradise
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When he is talked about at all these days, it is mostly as the reflected glory of his association with Scott Joplin, Duke Ellington, or other luminaries of the early jazz pantheon. But now, with the compilation of all of his band's recordings from 1918 through 1920 on Jazzin' Straight Thru' Paradise, Wilbur Sweatman is finally getting the respect he has deserved for decades. Here are 25 tracks that chronicle the shift from ragtime to jazz and demonstrate Sweatman's seminal place in the development of the latter. At the same time, Sweatman's incredible clarinet pyrotechnics are on full display throughout. Jazzin' Straight Thru' Paradise features a 24-page booklet with extensive and illuminating notes by Steve Tracy, the noted scholar of the Harlem Renaissance, and over 74 minutes of the most exciting Dixieland-style music you'll find anywhere.

Beginnings
Wilbur Sweatman was born in Missouri in 1882. By about 1902 he was living in Minneapolis--already a veteran of Professor Clark Smith's Pickaninny Band of Kansas, the P. G. Lowery Band, and W. C. Handy's Musical Spillers--and where, according to legend, Sweatman cut a cylinder around 1904 of Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag." He moved on to Chicago in 1908 and spent time as an orchestra conductor before leaving for New York and the vaudeville stage in 1911. Sweatman gained notoriety as a "flash" act, playing three clarinets at once, but he contributed mightily to the popularity of ragtime during its "second wave" via his compositions of "Down Home Rag" and "Old Folks Rag." Then Sweatman and his band recorded a series of discs for Emerson and Pathé.

From Ragtime to Jazz
Our collection begins just after this point. Picking up where the Original Dixieland Jazz Band and Earl Fuller's Band had begun, Sweatman's Original Jazz Band played the new, wild type of music that had its feet still in the ragtime idiom, playing their charts fairly closely and flourishing with a little improvisation. You can hear the transition from ragtime to jazz on "I Ain't Gonna Give Nobody None O'This Jellyroll," with its traditional ragtime figures morphing into a looser, jazzier style of playing. Similarly, "Ringtail Blues" shows Sweatman moving in and out of the melody and giving it his unique individualistic stamp.

Infectious, Hard-Driving Songs
"Regretful Blues," the first song on the disc, is an apt template for the rest of the CD. As Steve Tracy writes in the accompanying notes, it is "highly spirited music, often hard-driving, leaping, cascading music played with a verve, especially by Sweatman, that is truly infectious." "Oh! You La! La!" is another example of the propulsive character of these songs. The players are going at breakneck speed, and the drummer won't quit. On "Has Anybody Seen My Corinne" (which intepolates "Down on Frog's Isle" and "Livery Stable Blues"--the latter being the ODJB's first record), it is Sweatman himself who is in charge, his clarinet forceful, ringing, driving.

Experimentations
Sweatman's band experimented with different sounds and a variety of arrangements. On many of the songs, such as the war-themed "Good-Bye Alexander" and "Indianola," Sweatman interpolates one or more other songs into the middle of the main melody. Additionally, Sweatman's Band gives the first recording of Hart Wand's "Dallas Blues," and they did several other "blues," such as "Those Draftin' Blues," "Bluin' the Blues," "Rainy Day Blues," and "Kansas City Blues." On "Ja-Da" and "A Good Man Is Hard to Find," the band introduces violin into the mix, and on "Lucille" and "I'll Say She Does," guitar and banjolines are added to the ensemble for a very interesting effect.

Re-evaluating Sweatman
Wilbur Sweatman has been unfairly ignored as a pioneering force in early jazz, and this CD will help in putting him and his band in their rightful position. But aside of that, lovers of great dance music and consummate playing will want this collection of hot, upbeat historic performances.

CD Details

  • Catalogue number: ARCH 6004
  • UPC: 777215107045
  • Original release date: December 14, 2004
  • Running length: 74:04 / 25 tracks
  • Booklet: 24-page
  • Tracks recorded: 1918-1920
  • In Archeophone's Jazz, Dance and Blues series.

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Track Listing and Sound Samples

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1. Regretful Blues (1918) Listen Listen Listen Listen
2. Ev’rybody’s Crazy ‘Bout the Doggone Blues But I’m Happy (1918) Listen Listen Listen Listen
3. The Darktown Strutters’ Ball (1918) Listen Listen Listen Listen
4. Good-bye Alexander (Goodbye Honey Boy) (1918) Listen Listen Listen Listen
5. Indianola (1918) Listen Listen Listen Listen
6. Oh! You La! La! (1918) Listen Listen Listen Listen
7. Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody (1918) Listen Listen Listen Listen
8. Those Draftin’ Blues (1918) Listen Listen Listen Listen
9. Has Anybody Seen My Corinne (1918) Listen Listen Listen Listen
10. Dallas Blues (1918) Listen Listen Listen Listen
11. Ringtail Blues (1918) Listen Listen Listen Listen
12. Bluin’ the Blues (1918) Listen Listen Listen Listen
13. Rainy Day Blues (1919) Listen Listen Listen Listen
14. Ja-Da! (Ja-Da, Ja-Da, Jing, Jing, Jing) (1919) Listen Listen Listen Listen
15. A Good Man Is Hard to Find (1919) Listen Listen Listen Listen
16. Lonesome Road (1919) Listen Listen Listen Listen
17. That’s Got ’Em (1919) Listen Listen Listen Listen
18. Kansas City Blues (1919) Listen Listen Listen Listen
19. Slide, Kelly, Slide (1919) Listen Listen Listen Listen
20. I’ll Say She Does (1919) Listen Listen Listen Listen
21. Lucille (1919) Listen Listen Listen Listen
22. Hello, Hello! (1919) Listen Listen Listen Listen
23. I Ain’t Gonna Give Nobody None O’This Jellyroll (1919) Listen Listen Listen Listen
24. But (1920) Listen Listen Listen Listen
25. Think of Me Little Daddy (1920) Listen Listen Listen Listen

All selections performed by Wilbur Sweatman's Original Jazz Band.

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