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Canal Street Blues

King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band


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Joseph Nathan "King" Oliver
(December 19th 1881 - April 10th 1938)


This recording was produced in Richmond, Indiana on April 5th 1923 with King Oliver cornet & leader, Louis Armstrong second cornet, Honore Dutrey trombone, Johnny Dodds clarinet, Stump Evans c-melody saxophone, Lil Hardin Armstrong piano, Johnny St Cyr Banjo, Bill Johnson bass, and Baby Dodds drums.

*"Canal Street Blues" was composed by Joe "King" Oliver and Louis Armstrong.

Born in Aben, Louisiana in December 1881 Joseph Nathan Oliver moved to the city of New Orleans as a young boy and soon became enamored with the music he heard there.

Joseph started out on trombone before transitioning to the cornet and from 1908 to 1917 played with brass bands in Storyville the cities notorious red-light district.

It was during this period that, together with trombonist Kid Ory, Oliver was leading what came to be known as one of the hottest jazz bands in New Orleans earning his lifelong nickname "King".

As a highly influential cornet stylist King Oliver is best remembered today for pioneering the use of horn mutes in jazz and as the composer of numerous standards still played today.

After Storyville was shut down by the United States Military King Oliver relocated to Chicago with his wife Estella and stepdaughter Ruby.

There in The Windy City, King Oliver assembled his "Creole Jazz Band" comprised of other New Orleans musicians and would unwittingly become the man responsible for launching Louis Armstrong's career.

In 1929 the stock market collapse and the onset of The Great Depression caused king Oliver to lose his life savings.

When his "Creole Jazz Band" broke up he continued to cultivate new talent and put together jazz groups, but paying gigs were in very short supply.

He developed a gum disease that made it increasingly difficult for him to perform caused in part by his love of sugar sandwiches and thus the legendary cornetist would have to rely more and more on the younger talents in his band.

Joseph "King" Oliver died of arteriosclerosis in abject poverty in a Savannah rooming house in April of 1938. His devoted sister spent her rent money to have his body brought to New York, where he was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx.

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