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MUSA 24—Sam Morgan's Jazz Band: Complete Recorded Works in Transcription

Edited by John J. Joyce, Jr., Bruce Boyd Raeburn, and Anthony M. Cummings 

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This edition consists of musical transcriptions of all eight recordings of Sam Morgan's Jazz Band, made in New Orleans in 1927. These are among the first recordings of black New Orleans jazz bands made in their home city and, as the band consisted of musicians who stayed on in New Orleans after the Great Exodus to Chicago and New York in the early 1920s, the recordings preserve a purer form of the collectively improvised ensemble of the earliest black jazz bands. It is a loosely integrated, purely linear ensemble mass, a collective projecting of melodic lines close to the unassimilated heterophonic singing of the Black Primitive Baptist and Sanctified Churches. This proto jazz style was being rapidly eclipsed in the 1920s by more flamboyant and technically brilliant forms of New Orleans jazz being recorded by Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, and Jelly Roll Morton. The scores contained in this volume are the first complete transcriptions of this rare and distinctive music to appear in print.


Barry Kernfeld. Review of Sam Morgan's Jazz Band. Complete Recorded Works in Transcription. Edited by John J. Joyce Jr., Bruce Boyd Raeburn, and Anthony M. Cummings. Notes 70, no. 3 (2014): 529-533.