Jazz, as everyone knows, was born in New Orleans early in the last century, and remains a proud part of the heritage of that great city today. What’s not so widely known, however, is that by 1922 the greatest New Orleans virtuosos (including King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, and Jelly Roll Morton) had left their home town in search of fame and fortune “up north,” or on the west coast, or even in Europe. During the bathtub gin era many of them settled in Chicago. But by end of WWII, having weathered the Depression and seen their popularity wane as fans embraced the big Swing Era bands, most of the surviving New Orleans jazzmen moved to New York, making ends meet by playing in organized jam sessions. The music, not surprisingly, had evolved in 25 years—the emphasis was on swing and hot solos rather than the more primitive New Orleans ensemble style.
Jazz educator and reed virtuoso Gregg Gelb pulled together some of the best jazzmen in central North Carolina in late 2012 to form The Second Line Stompers. Stylistically speaking, the band has one foot in early New Orleans and the other firmly planted in the smoky nightclubs of New York in the 1950s: a tale of two cities. One common denominator, however, links these two diverse eras: this is music meant for dancing!
Greg Cagle, May 2014
Produced by Gregg Gelb
THANK YOU to Catrina Godwin and the nice folks at C. Grace, 407 Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh, our “home” since January 2013