ACJO 2015

Hot Jazz - The Jazz Age

ACJO 20th Anniversary with Benny Waters
A History of the ACJO/WCJO
Best of Original WCJO (1973 - 1979) - Volume 1
Best of Original WCJO (1974 - 1982) - Volume 2
Best of Original WCJO (1973 - 1979) - Jazz-influenced Classical
Early WCJO Bootleg 5 CD Box Set
Hot Jazz - The Jazz Age
CJO/CJE Blasts From The Past - You Tube Videos
WCJO Memorabilia
Ted Unseth, Composer/Arranger

The Jazz Age - Hot Jazz


Typical thinking on this era of American History (the 1920’s)

would have us conjuring up “23 skiddoo”, Speakeasies and

Flappers wriggling the Charleston.  From an overall cultural

aspect, these were definitely part of this era.


However, this Period (extended to include the late 1910’s –

early 1930’s) was also one of high musical integrity.  It

 should be noted that this was Peacetime America (after

WWI and before WW2); and Musically, it’s a great and

wonderful Story.


The best book ever written on the nusic phenomena of this

period is called “Really The Blues” by Milton ‘Mezz’

 Mezzrow.  The sections dealing with the Chicago Years (mid

 – late 1920’s; the pinnacle of the Hot Jazz period) are filled

 with amazing stories of camaraderie, pursuit of excellence

 and great humor.  This book was a major catalyst for my

 pursuit of authentic re-creations of some of the finest Jazz

 Orchestra performances ever recorded—bring them back to

 life in full stereo Live! performance. 


Here are four quotes worth noting.  They, too, are reasons

 why I continue to pursue this musical route (34 years and

 counting).  There’s something about the Integrity of the

 people who created this music that is truly inspiring and

 their music is eminently worthy of contemporary review:


“The demand for old recordings of music in the Hot Style is

persistent.  And if the Jazz band which really finds in this

music an element of Art to which it feels a definite response

can be looked to for moral support, then we can anticipate

the evolution of an even finer Jazz, brought about by

composers, arrangers and musicians fired with a new


Fletcher Henderson, 1939



“Those guys shouldn’t be forgotten because if they hadn’t

scuffled Jazz wouldn’t be known today.  It hurts me to see

guys,  fine musicians, walking the streets or working as

porters or in men’s rooms.  And these young kids...  I

overheard one of them listening to Henry ‘Red’ Allen a little

while ago and saying, “Man, why doesn’t that cat give up?”

 Seems to me they want us to die out…  It shouldn’t be.”

Louis Metcalf, 1969
“Hear Me Talkin’ To Ya”



The Great Depression of 1929 killed a lot of things, among

them Hot Jazz.  The big orchestras shrank or broke up, club

patronage was down and musicians joined the millions of

unemployed.  By 1935 the original meaning and sound of

Hot Jazz had all but disappeared and the sound of Swing,

which replaced it, was largely concocted by Tin Pan Alley

and played by highly-drilled but mechanical orchestras.  It

had been seventeen years—great years—of creativity and


Joel Vance, 1974
“Stereo Review”



“I know of no group apart from Jazz musicians which has

such direction in work.  They aim at excellence and

apparently at nothing else.  They are hard to buy and, if

bought, they either backslide into honesty or lose the respect

of their peers.  And this is a loss that terrifies them.  In any

other field of American life, great rewards can be used to

cover a loss of honesty, but not with Jazz players—a slip is

known and recognized instantly.  And further, they do not

compare with those in other professions.  Let a filthy kid,

unknown, unheard of and un-backed sit in—and if he can do

it—he is recognized and accepted instantly.  Do you know of

any other field where this is true?  And this curious search

for and treasuring of excellence is the one thing that has not

been said of them often enough.”

John Steinbeck, 1973  




Black Jazz - White Jazz
Hot Jazz