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Sat, 12.25.1886

Kid Ory, “Tailgate” Trombonist born

Kid Ory

On this date, Kid Ory was born in 1886. He was a Black jazz trombonist and composer.

Edward Ory was born on Woodland Plantation in LaPlace, Louisiana.   He was Creole in a French-speaking, ethnically mixed family and as a child, he began to make music on homemade instruments. By 1911, he was leading one of the best-known bands in New Orleans.

Among its members at various times were several musicians who later were highly influential in jazz development, including Sidney Bechet, Mutt Carey, Jimmy Noone, King Oliver, and Louis Armstrong.  In 1919, Ory moved to California, forming a new band in Los Angeles.  After five years he joined King Oliver in Chicago and by the end of the 1920s had become a prolific jazz recording artist.

He played with King Oliver's Dixie Syncopators, Louis Armstrong, and Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers. In 1930, Ory retired from music to run a successful chicken farm, but on his comeback in 1939, he enjoyed even greater success. He worked with clarinetist Barney Bigard and trumpeter Bunk Johnson (1943), and his motion-picture credits include Crossfire, New Orleans, and The Benny Goodman Story.  Ory was perhaps the first musician to codify, purely by precept, the role of the trombone in classic three-part contrapuntal jazz improvisation.

Ory is often remembered as a "tailgate" trombonist, one whose style of playing fills in, or supports, other band instruments and is reminiscent of the styles of pre-jazz ragtime bands and cakewalk bands. His most outstanding jazz composition was "Muskrat Ramble." Edward Kid Ory died on Jan. 23, 1973, in Honolulu, Hawaii.

A Century of Jazz, by Roy Carr
Da Capo Press, New York
Copyright 1997
ISBN 0-306-80778-5

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