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Review by Scott Yanow: Americans in Britain 1920-1925


Americans In Britain 1920-1925 (Retrieval 79038) has music from seven early bands that helped introduce and popularize jazz in England.

Jazz was introduced to Great Britain (and indirectly to much of Europe) in 1919 when the Original Dixieland Jazz Band began a year of being based in London, creating a sensation. With the end of World War I., Europeans were ready to move ahead and jazz fit the mood of the era. It would be a decade before many of the Europeans musicians were on the same level as the Americans, and for a time they would be five years behind in their musical evolution. But the regular visits of Americans to England helped speed up the process.
The CD Americans In Britain features most of the American bands that visited England during 1920-25. Included are one selection apiece from Billy Arnold’s Novelty Band, the Southern Rag-A-Jazz Band (a group with the unique frontline of trombone, soprano and violin), and the Detroit Melodists, two from the Boston Orchestra and the Kit-Cat Band, five from Hal Kemp’s Carolina Club Orchestra and 11 by the Original Capitol Orchestra.
While some of the music is a bit primitive, when one takes into consideration the time period and the recording quality of those days, the music holds its own with many of the bands then active in the U.S. These rarities will greatly interest jazz historians and collectors of early 1920s jazz.
Scott Yanow

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