Yet another American musical innovation? Bully! It's Jass Music, the newest sound to emerge from the south!
Welcome again, my friendly (and growing) listenership! Today the Record Cabaret visits the Jewel of the Delta, New Orleans, Louisiana, where a whole new sound is emerging, the sound of Jass. My friends in Chicago may have heard this new sound from the same pace I did, the Original Dixieland Jass Band. This quintet, led by New Orleans natives clarinetist Alcide Nunez and drummer Johnny Stein, has introduced us all to this exciting new sound. Let's hear them now:
Wasn't that just the best? Like most of the emerging Jass players, they got their start with "Papa" Jack Laine's Reliance Brass Band, a high-stepping marching band that's doing things with the march that Mr. Sousa would never have expected. It seems our recent war with the Spanish has left many a marching band instrument behind here in the army's disembarkation port of New Orleans, and the locals have gone wild with them!
And yes, sir, you've undoubtedly by now assumed the Original Jass Band to be, well, the Originals to deliver that sound. But they're not. It seems a creative young man named "Jelly Roll" Morton beat them to it. How, you might ask, did he aquire such a strange name as Jelly Roll? Well, he got his start in the...erm..."sporting houses" of the Storyville district of New Orleans, where Jelly Roll is slang for a...part of a woman...look, you figure it out. I refuse to smut up my record, thank you very much! Anyway, here's Jelly Roll:
Fantastic, yes? That's gotta be the original sound of Jass, yes? Mr. Morton claims as much. Claims he invented Ragtime too! But it appears that it's older than even him. That man he mentions in the song, cornet player Buddy Bolden, on the other hand...it seems he's the one the locals here credit most [pictured above: his band - image from wikimedia]. They say he took the simple habanera beat and added a twist: four beats, then a loose couple beats on the end where you kind of just...do whatever you please. Free form improvisation! That, it seems, is the beating heart of Jass! And it appears to have begun there!
Poor Mr. Bolden, it seems, was never recorded and gave up music completely as his personal demons drove him into the sanitarium, so we will likely never hear him play. But let us raise a toast to him and enjoy this new Dixieland sound...this new Jass.
And now, for our drink we offer you a nice Brandy Flip, courtesy of Jerry Thomas's 1862 How to Mix Drinks; or, The Bon-Vivant's Companion. Like this emerging Jass sound, it can be enjoyed Hot or Cool!
Hot Brandy Flip:
[image from tastespotting.com]
Disolve sugar in a little hot water into a shaker. Add brandy and egg yolk. Shake well. Pour into a pre-heated bar glass. Top off with hot water. Garnish with fresh-grated nutmeg.
Cool Brandy Flip:
Same as above, but add ice cubes to shaken mixture.