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Blakeview: "Livery Stable Blues" turns 100

The first commercial jazz recording was made in 1917


The Original Dixieland Jazz Band was not the First Group to play jazz, but historians agree its members were the first to record it commercially, with their landmark recording session 100 years ago this week. The band, led by cornetist Nick LaRocca, recorded "Livery Stable Blues," the first-ever commercial jazz recording, on Feb. 26, 1917. It was released on March 5 of that same year. Though the band was made up of New Orlean- ians (LaRocca, clarinetist Larry Shields, trombonist Eddie Edwards, pianist Henry Ragas and drummer Tony Sbarbaro), it found fame in Chicago and recorded in New York. "Livery Stable Blues," recorded on the Victor label with its flipside "Dixieland Jass Band One-Step," sold more than 1 million copies. The group made more recordings, including the well-known "Tiger Rag," which LaRocca wrote. The band's place in history continues to be debated, especially because of LaRocca's claims that his band never got the credit it deserved for pioneering jazz and being the first to record it. The group broke up in 1939 and LaRocca retired from music. He died in 1961. His son Jimmy continues to perform in a band bearing the original group's name.

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