I bought the Rust Jazz, Dance Band, and Historical discographies about 30
years ago. Because they contain 'circa' recording dates, I since assumed
that specific citations were based upon ledgers and accurate.
The following entry is from
"There is no doubt about it: in February 1917 the ODJB members were the
first jazz musicians to make records (they were also the first musicians,
it seems, to identify themselves as "jass" musicians). Some books claim
that the ODJB had cut two titles for Columbia weeks earlier, on January 30
or 31, 1917, with Columbia then delaying the release. However, this is a
myth. Jazz discographer Brian Rust wrote in the publication Needle Time
(July 1987) about evidence suggesting that the ODJB recorded for Columbia
later than what Rust had erroneously reported in his own jazz discography.
The ODJB made the Columbia record months later than the reported January
date. Columbia's own recording logs indicate that the ODJB did not record
for the company until long after the Victor recording session. Additional
evidence has come to light, notably a document in the hands of a descendant
of ODJB member Eddie Edwards. It establishes that the ODJB visited
Columbia's A & R man A. E. Donovan on January 30 (not 31, as usually
reported) only to *audition*, not to make a record. Months later, the ODJB
returned to Columbia to make a record. The band by this time was in a legal
dispute with Victor, so the band members were happy to visit Victor's chief
competitor to make a record."
I've just dutifully notated this in my printed version.
A searchable version of Rust's Jazz recordings 1897 - 1942 IS available
from Mainspring Press. recordings 1897 - 1942.
So, unless some musicologist can successfully justify a claim that some
other recording made earlier than the ODJB Victor session of 2-26-17 is
Jazz, then Victor #18255 has the distinction of being the first
commercially issued Jazz disk. But assuming that the two Columbia test
sides were in the style of that first Victor, then by at least about two
weeks, the two sides are NOT the first Jazz recordings.
It's nice that the anniversary has been brought to the attention of the
general public, however 'general'
readers of the Wall Street Journal might be.
Thanks to those respondents who led me to the updated knowledge!