Friday, April 1, 2016

Jimmie Noone with Kid Ory's Creole Jazz Band, 1944

In the spring of 1944, the great Jimmie Noone joined Kid Ory's Creole Jazz Band for a weekly gig on Orson Welles's Radio Show in Los Angeles. After only a few broadcasts, jazz lost one of its pioneers, and jazz clarinet one of its greatest geniuses of all time, when Noone suffered a massive heart attack and passed away just days short of his 49th birthday. I've listened to Noone for years, and have reviewed the comprehensive JSP Records box of his recordings elswehere on this blog
Until today, though, I'd never heard any of his performances with Kid Ory for Orson Welles, and assumed they just didn't exist. But it turns out some recording were preserved...and they're amazing. They're the only recordings we have of Noone playing the New Orleans standards "Muskrat Ramble" and "High Society" (including Noone's version of the famous 'test solo'). Add to that a blues, where Jimmie plays laid back virtuosic figurations behind the vocalist, and we have a real insight into how this master must have played in front of live audiences. On "High Society", Noone's legendary tone and articulation are there...but you hear him perhaps gasping for breaths at inopportune moments--maybe his heart was giving out even as he was playing this? It's a powerful moment in jazz clarinet history to have recorded and to hear. If anyone knows of any commercially available digital transfers of these performances, I'd be grateful to know about them. Enjoy. 


[UPDATE 1/19/17: I've found a CD remaster of some of these performances, reviewed here.]



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