Jelly Roll, Bix, and Hoagy, Revised and Expanded Edition: Gennett Records and the Rise of America's Musical Grassroots

Overview

In a piano factory tucked away in Richmond, Indiana, Gennett Records produced thousands of records featuring obscure musicians from hotel orchestras and backwoods fiddlers to the future icons of jazz, blues, country music, and rock 'n' roll. From 1916 to 1934, the company debuted such future stars as Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Bix Beiderbecke, and Hoagy Carmichael, while also capturing classic performances by Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellington, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charley Patton, Uncle Dave Macon, and Gene ...

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Jelly Roll, Bix, and Hoagy, Revised and Expanded Edition: Gennett Records and the Rise of America's Musical Grassroots

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Overview

In a piano factory tucked away in Richmond, Indiana, Gennett Records produced thousands of records featuring obscure musicians from hotel orchestras and backwoods fiddlers to the future icons of jazz, blues, country music, and rock 'n' roll. From 1916 to 1934, the company debuted such future stars as Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Bix Beiderbecke, and Hoagy Carmichael, while also capturing classic performances by Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellington, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charley Patton, Uncle Dave Macon, and Gene Autry. While Gennett Records was overshadowed by competitors such as Victor and Columbia, few record companies documented the birth of America's grassroots music as thoroughly as this small-town label. In this newly revised and expanded edition of Jelly Roll, Bix, and Hoagy, Rick Kennedy shares anecdotes from musicians, employees, and family members to trace the colorful history of one of America's most innovative record companies.

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Charlie B. Dahan

"Kennedy’s passion for and years of in depth research of the Starr Piano / Gennett Record label story shines brightly in the new edition of Jelly Roll, Bix, and Hoagy. Not only is it the definitive account of the company’s history, but of the tipping point in both the birth of the modern record business and the introduction of American culture and music to the world." —Charlie B. Dahan, Associate Professor, Recording Industry Studies, Middle Tennessee State University

author of Hotter Than That: The Trumpet, Jazz, and American Culture - Krin Gabbard

"One spring day in 1923, King Oliver and Louis Armstrong spent six long hours on a train getting to Richmond, Indiana. But once they had arrived at the Gennett studios, Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band made what are now universally regarded as the first great jazz recordings. This is just one of many stories in Rick Kennedy’s exhaustively researched and lovingly detailed history of Gennett. Highly recommended." —Krin Gabbard, author of Hotter Than That: The Trumpet, Jazz, and American Culture

author of Public Cowboy No. 1: The Life & Times of Gene Autry - Holly George-Warren

"In this revised and expanded edition, Rick Kennedy's extensive research and vivid writing bring to life hillbilly fiddler Doc Roberts and WLS star Bradley Kincaid, as well as the label's Alabama recording studio where William Harris's classic blues sides were cut, and the discovery of Charley Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and others who recorded at Gennett's Richmond, Indiana, studio." —Holly George-Warren, author of Public Cowboy No. 1: The Life & Times of Gene Autry

Jazz History Online

"Kennedy’s book comes highly recommended. His writing style is entertaining and informative. By describing the personal characteristics of Gennett’s principal owners, the reader can easily keep all of the various characters straight. Further, Kennedy’s wide-ranging appreciation for American music makes the reader want to hear these recordings. The Gennetts may not have fully appreciated the music they recorded, but Rick Kennedy makes up for that many times over." —Jazz History Online

PopMatters

"Kennedy eloquently and informatively connects all these pieces together to form a clear, informative, and delightfully entertaining read. He breathes new life into the legacy of Gennett Records and fully enmeshes the readers into a world when then unknown musicians rambled to a dusty Midwestern piano factory to record their music. Jelly Roll, Bix, and Hoagy will surely satisfy an audience of jazz buffs, historians, or anyone seeking a revealing account of a greenhorn music industry." —PopMatters

From the Publisher
"Kennedy’s passion for and years of in depth research of the Starr Piano / Gennett Record label story shines brightly in the new edition of Jelly Roll, Bix, and Hoagy. Not only is it the definitive account of the company’s history, but of the tipping point in both the birth of the modern record business and the introduction of American culture and music to the world." —Charlie B. Dahan, Associate Professor, Recording Industry Studies, Middle Tennessee State University
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253007476
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 12/20/2012
  • Edition description: Revised and Expanded Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 467,057
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Rick Kennedy is a veteran communications manager with General Electric Company and a former journalist. A freelance music writer for more than 30 years, he is author (with Randy McNutt) of Little Labels–Big Sound: Small Record Companies and the Rise of American Music (IUP, 2001).

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Ted Gioia
Gennett Records Timeline
Introduction

1. A Music Dynasty in Victorian Indiana
2. A New Wind Is Blowing through Chicago
3. Jazz Hysteria in the Hoosier State
4. Old-Time Music in the New Electronic Era
5. When Gennett Records Gets the Blues
6. Yet the Music Lives On

Suggested Listening: Fifty Classics by Gennett Records
Notes
Selected Bibliography
Index
Index of Songs

Indiana University Press

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