The Year 1997 commemorates the eightieth anniversary of the very first jazz recording, made by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band and released by Victor Records in 1917. Founded by Nick LaRocca in 1916, the ODJB was a five piece New Orleans band with an outstanding history reaching back to the roots of New Orleans music. Having recorded the very first ever jazz record in 1917, they were one of the most famous jazz bands. Selling over 1.5 million Victrola records soon after the records release, this group was historically famous for initially introducing jazz to many people worldwide. This group was responsible for the name change of “jass” to “jazz”. After noticing the defacing of the “J” in several record stores record producers had the name changed. This was the first jazz group to perform for US troops in WWI. The ODJB was also the first jazz band to appear in a motion picture, the 1917 film “The Good For Nothing”, and the first jazz band to perform in Europe in 1919. The ODJB is truly a unique part of America’s jazz Heritage.
Today’s band, assembled by Jimmy LaRocca, contains the original instrumentation with the addition of string bass. All members of the band have years of experience with such artists as Santo Peccora, the Dukes of Dixieland, Pete Fountain, Al Hirt and many others. The sound they create is true to the original sounds of jazz, yet taken to new heights with the modern artistry of experienced, talented musicians. Though many have attempted to copy the sound of the ODJB, no one has ever or will ever come as close as the band assembled by the original founder’s son. “Going backwards is going forwards”’ says Jimmy LaRocca. Only through honoring the past can the face of music truly progress.
Today, eighty years after the very first jazz recording, the unique sound of Nick LaRocca’s “Original Dixieland Jazz Band” has come alive once again. With Nick’s eldest son Jimmy playing the trumpet and overseeing the band, making certain that the sound of the new ODJB truly honors its roots, the tradition lives on. The sound of that first extraordinary group is not only preserved, but progresses with artistry and taste.
This CD is dedicated to the memory of my father, D.J. “Nick” LaRocca, and the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. Thanks to my mother Ruth, and my wife Joyce, for their support, and to all the musicians on this project. Jimmy LaRocca
"The Band is absolutely superb ... and is a projection of what the ODJB might be sounding like, had they been playing today. ... In short, your band is one of the best I've heard since the Dixieland Renaissance of 1949-50." H.O. Brunn, Official Historian of the ODJB, Author of “The Story of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band”