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My edition of Brian Rust's 1897-1942 contains 1,753 pages of cylinders (one
that I found quickly is by Wilbur Sweatman's Band on page 1515, recorded in
Minneapolis circa 1903 - 1904) and disks of various 'speeds'.  I don't know
all of which and how many of those listings precede the Victors by the ODJB.

But a glaring irony are the FIRST two recordings made by the ODJB for
COLUMBIA on January 30, 1917. According to Rust (presumably based on
Columbia recording ledgers) it was issued in the USA on 10" #A2297 & in
England on #2903.  They are Darktown Strutters Ball (master 77086-3-4) and
Indiana (master 77087-2-3)  I recall reading X years ago that the two sides
were not issued until shortly after the high sales of their Victor 18255
became known by Columbia officials.

As already cited, the issue of being first is debatable.  In this case at
least two criteria are contradictory: when recorded versus when issued.
The Jazzwax blog refers to the Victor SESSION
of 02-26-17.  It was self-evidently not the ODJB's first.  The blog is very
interesting and entertaining, but its lack of reference to the Columbia
session is very questionable.

Additionally, there are the criteria of what comprises jazz.  I don't know
a way of searching Rust's
listings for ALL listed recordings made prior to February 26, 1917.  The
posting citing Sweatman's work easily at least, leads to a few.  But what
others are there (in this edition or other compilations)?
Which 'experts' regard which as JASS aka JAZZ?

A respondent to the Jazzwax blog cites (
http://www.loc.gov/jukebox/recordings/detail/id/928/ )
Vess L. Osman's   "St. Louis Tickle" as being the first (Victor 3037-2
single sided 10" disk # 4624 & later issued on two sided 16092 Rust page
1199).  My opinion is that it's NOT jazz
but ragtime.  I'm interested in other opinions, including those who are
musicologists.  Note that the data in the link states that some of the
issues of 16092 were NOT by Ossman, but recorded later.

By Rust's criteria, Ossman previously recorded Jazz. (pages 1197 -
1201....commencing with Berliner 7" #467 Ragtime Medley recorded in NYC on
October 9, 1897).  If a composition containing "Rag" or "Ragtime" ARE jazz
recordings, then might that mean that the terms were at any time synonyms
for Jas or Jazz?   Or, do the two terms in a title preclude the performance
from being Jazz?

Finally, several times I tried the link
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204740904577195080015884786.h=tml?KEYWORDS=3Dgarment+district+is+where+jazz.
It did not access WSJ article.

Art Shifrin