Volume 1: 1920-1921

Volume 1: 1920-1921

by Benson Orchestra of Chicago


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Volume 1: 1920-1921

The Archeophone label is the premiere record company in reissuing pre-1920 music on CDs. While its releases have included ragtime, vaudeville, Bert Williams, pop songs, and novelties, this CD by the Benson Orchestra of Chicago was its first full-length jazz set. Actually, the 26 performances on this complete set (the earliest recordings by this group) are as much dance music as they are jazz. Edgar A. Benson, a top booking agent, had quite a few bands working in Chicago area hotels during the first half of the 1920s. The main purpose of his orchestras was to satisfy dancers, so the tempos were always steady, the emphasis was on ensembles, and the melody was a prominent part of the music. His main band, the Benson Orchestra of Chicago, was a nonet with pianist/arranger Roy Bargy, four horns, violinist Joe Baum, banjo, bass sax, and a drummer who was probably the one doubling on xylophone. There are some short solos during the performances, but those tend to stick close to the melody. The musicianship is excellent for the period, the arrangements have subtle surprises, and "Na-Jo" is considered to be the first recording ever to use stop-time rhythm. Some of the tunes ("San," "Ain't We Got Fun," "Wabash Blues," and "Ma, He's Making Eyes at Me") are still known today, but the majority of these songs have long been forgotten. Since these recordings are quite early (two years before King Oliver and Jelly Roll Morton made their debut), the jazz content is more of a slight influence than a dominant part of the music, mostly felt in the syncopated rhythms. The recording quality is top-notch for the era, the 28-page booklet is very detailed and informative, and very few of these performances have been reissued since they were first recorded. Collectors of early American music will want this set.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/30/2004
Label: Archeophone Records
UPC: 0777215105508
catalogNumber: 6001

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Benson Orchestra of Chicago   Primary Artist
Roy Bargy   Piano
Guy Carey   Trombone
Charley Straight   Piano,Group Member
Joe Baum   Violin
Rick Adkins   Trumpet
Thomas Thatcher   Tenor Saxophone
Matthew Amaturo   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone

Technical Credits

Fred E. Ahlert   Composer
Gus Arnheim   Composer
Con Conrad   Composer
Walter Donaldson   Composer
Gus Kahn   Composer
Bert Kalmar   Composer
Fred Rose   Composer
Vincent Rose   Composer
Herman Ruby   Composer
Sam M. Lewis   Composer
Roy Bargy   Arranger,Composer,Director
Paul Biese   Composer
Earl Burtnett & His Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel Orchestra   Composer
Ted Fio Rito   Composer
Frank Westphal   Composer
Ray Perkins   Composer
Rudy Wiedoeft   Composer
Joe Young   Composer
Richard A. Whiting   Composer
Frank Magine   Composer
Dave Ringle   Composer
Mary Earl   Composer
Albert Von Tilzer   Composer
George W. Meyer   Composer
Charley Straight   Composer
Fred Meinken   Composer
Meagan Hennessey   Producer,Liner Notes

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