Biography
One of the great bands to have never recorded, the Original Creole Band was an important early group, one that helped introduce jazz to Los Angeles and Chicago. Bassist Bill Johnson founded the band as a trio in 1908 and after it added cornetist Ernest Coycault and a trombonist, it left New Orleans to tour the Southwest. The group settled in Los Angeles for a time and for a while its pianist was Dink Johnson. By 1914 the band had become quite popular in L.A. so Johnson sent to New Orleans for cornetist Freddie Keppard, clarinetist George Bacquet and trombonist Eddie Vincent. From 1914-17 The Original Creole Band played theatres and had long stints in Chicago and New York. The group broke up in Boston in the spring of 1917 but Johnson formed another group with the same name six months later that lasted until April 1918 and included Big Eye Louis Nelson and Jimmie Noone. Johnson recorded one number (Tack 'Em Down) with his Creole Jass Band on December 2, 1918 for Victor, but unfortunately it was never issued. One can only speculate how The Original Creole Band sounded, but from all reports it was one of the first (and best) New Orleans jazz groups to be heard outside of the Crescent City during the pre-1920 period. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi



 
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