New Orleans Jazz Past & Present
110th Birth Celebration of the late Jazz legend (1889 to 1999)
Dominic James “Nick” LaRocca
April 11, 1889 to February 22, 1961.
This CD is dedicated to a true jazz pioneer, my father Nick LaRocca. The compositions and recordings in the early part of this century as recorded by the band he led, the Original Dixieland Jass (Jazz) Band, changed forever the way music would be interpreted.
The material selected for this recording contains thirteen compositions. Seven of these compositions are by my father, D. J. “Nick” LaRocca. To my knowledge they were never recorded by the ODJB or any other band. These selections were composed between 1958 to 1960 and transcribed to paper by me. One of these recordings was co-written by both my father and me, and the remaining six compositions are my own originals. I hope you enjoy them. A very special song included is “Give Me That Love,” written by my father to my mother, Ruth Petrie LaRocca. The lyrics to this very special tune were written by my sisters Carolyn and Ruth. My mother also blessed this CD with a beautiful narration.
I personally want to give thanks to the other members of the ODJB for their contributions to this new music. As my father stated “without them, it may not have been possible.” They were Larry Shields – Clarinet, Eddie Edwards – Trombone, Henry Ragas – Piano & Tony “Spargo” Sbarbaro – Drums.
Thanks to Victor Records (Victor Talking Machine Company), for having the courage to record and release a new music called “Jass” (Jazz). My father’s band recorded in February and Victor released the recording in March of 1917. This recording sold more than a million copies in that same year of its release. The impact of this recording was felt around the world.
The ODJB was one of the first known bands to apply the word jass within their name. The spelling of “JASS” as applied by the ODJB was changed to “JAZZ” in 1917. As a direct result of this first recording, the word “JAZZ” was established and secured to define this new music, and many other styles to follow, FOREVER!
As an added note … April 11, 1999 would have been my father’s 110th birthday. 1999 is also the 80th Anniversary of jazz being imported to Europe via England. The ODJB sailed to Europe aboard the steamship R.M.S. Adriatic on March 22, 1919. Their first performance was at the hippodrome in London on April 7, 1919. They stayed and performed in England for over a year before returning to the United States.
The present ODJB, of which I am the leader, has performed in Japan and numerous European countries. I am amazed at the reception that this style of jazz receives. Everyone loves this music.
I was born and raised in New Orleans and can understand how such a great style of music, JASS (JAZZ), could have had its roots here. It originated from the rich diversity of cultures that existed then and still exists today in this fabulous city.
J.C. “Jimmy” LaRocca
New Orleans, LA
Sunday, April 11, 1999
I would also like to acknowledge the musicians who helped me make this CD possible.
On four of the selections a guest artist on trombone, Bob Havens, was featured. What a pleasure to work with such a Jazz giant. Bob is well known worldwide in many jazz circles and has performed & recorded with such great artists as Al Hirt, George Girard of the Basin Street Six, The Lawrence Welk Orchestra and many others too numerous to mention.
Also on trombone, Ben Smith, a long time friend of mine performed with his usual enthusiasm, professionalism and great playing.
John Royen & Tom Roberts are the two piano players featured on this CD. They both have great left hands and understand this style of music. What a delight it was to record with these fine artists.
Tim Laughlin, on clarinet, performed in his world-class manner as usual. He is one of the great living clarinetists today.
On Bass, Al Bernard, what can I say!! Fabulous and slapin’ fantastic … solid as usual.
On drums (or percussion as I call it), David Hansen, our manager & booking agent for the ODJB, working partner & friend, is always ready to please and has done his usual great job on the drums. Without his persistence and determination this CD project may not have happened. Thank you David.