Saturday, June 14, 2014

Saturday Jazz Performance - Midlife Dixieland Jazzband - "Tiger Rag"

Here is a staged music video of the Midlife Dixieland Jazzband playing that old traditional jazz chestnut Tiger Rag.

Midlife Dixieland Jazzband performs Tiger Rag in 2010.

There is a myriad of people who claimed to have written or developed Tiger Rag. Some, like Jelly Roll Morton and the Original Dixieland Jazz Band are of legendary status. Others all almost totally unknown accept to jazz historians and real die hard fans.

The first group to copyright and record the tune was the Original Dixieland Jazz Band on August 17, 1917 for Aeolian-Vocalion Records and then again on March 25, 1918 for Victor.

Original Dixieland Jazz Band - March 25, 1918.

Some New Orleans musicians claimed that the tune was being played in New Orleans years before ODJB recorded it. Some named musician Jack Carey as the composer, others named saxophonist Achille Baquet. A Ray Lopez copyrighted a similar tune under the name Weary Weasel another person Johnny DeDroit copyrighted it as Number Two Blues.

On the Library of Congress recordings of Jelly Roll Morton that Alan Lomax made one can hear the master pianist explaining how he used the melody of an old quadrille, made some additions and developed the tune.

Whatever the actual truth is it would appear that it did develop from a French quadrille and additions added by various musicians over the years. The arrangement played and copyrighted by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band became the predominate versions in the years following their record releases.

Tiger Rag has become one of the mainstays of Dixieland jazz. The predominance of performances and recordings of Tiger Rag proves it to be one of the most played jazz standards.

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