The Emerald City Jazz Kings were organized to investigate an important but somewhat overlooked period of transition in American music, the late ‘20s and early ‘30s transition from New Orleans jazz to swing, from vaudeville to motion pictures, from Broadway revues to musical comedy—all of these ac-companied by startling electronic developments which changed the nature of performance and audience perception radio, sound motion pictures, the microphone and new recording techniques.
Our base of operations is the 10 year period from 1925 to 1935 when these electronic developments came into common use and when the dance bands of the day were generally of the size we utilize--three brass, three saxophones and four rhythm. But we do allow ourselves the privilege of going both forward and backward in time to investigate particular styles and repertory. American popular music is a continuum, not a series of discrete styles.
We also have four singers as a part of the ensemble. A key decision of the Jazz Kings has been one of conscious compromise. A group such as ours would not have been found in 1930, except possibly in some related form in the aggregations of Paul Whitemen or Fred Waring. Singers were a late and often reluctant addition to dance bands, but we wanted to explore more than jazz and dance band repertory. Microphones came into use in the early '30s, but were initially not a major consideration, and certainly not the factor in presentation that they are today. We found out early on that sound amplification is something modern ears expect. Styles of singing and playing are compromises as well. One writer has remarked that if you want a singer who sounds '20s authentic, go out and find the worst possible male voice.
One final important consideration was that we would enjoy ourselves and have a good time! There is a strong element of humor in much of the music of this period sadly lacking in much of more recent popular music and jazz. So, we pick our programs with both authenticity and audience appeal in mind, and hope our audiences enjoy them as much as we do.
, reedsFrank Kenney
James Phillips, reeds
Brian McWhorter, trumpetTim Clarke
, trumpetCaleb Standafer
, tromboneVicki Brabham
Alan Phillips, guitar, banjoNathan Waddell
, bassAlan Tarpinian
|SET I - 1930: What Depression?|
| ||Big City Blues|
(1929) Fox Movietone Follies of 1929 Con Conrad, Sidney Mitchell, Archie Gottler (w/m)
| ||That's A-Plenty|
(1914) Ray Gilbert (w) Lew Pollack (m)
|SET II - Rhythm Is Our Business: The Cotton Club, etc.|
| ||Creole Love Call|
(1927) Rhyth-mania Duke Ellington, Bubber Miley, Rudy Jackson (m)
| ||I'm Crazy 'Bout My Baby|