Some of the earliest performances by the likes of Jelly Roll Morton, the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, and Bix Beiderbecke were preserved on recordings produced at Gennett Studios, an independent company in the small city of Richmond, Indiana. In a primitive studio next to the railroad tracks, many of America's earliest ...
Some of the earliest performances by the likes of Jelly Roll Morton, the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, and Bix Beiderbecke were preserved on recordings produced at Gennett Studios, an independent company in the small city of Richmond, Indiana. In a primitive studio next to the railroad tracks, many of America's earliest jazz, blues, and country musicians were captured on wax discs. It was here that Hoagy Carmichael's timeless "Stardust" debuted as a dance stomp. In 1915, the Gennett family, the enterprising owners of Starr Piano Company, created a small record division to supplement their income. In the early 1920s Gennett's victory in a landmark patent case involving the mighty Victor Records changed the competitive nature of the young record industry. The Gennetts made music history by recording young jazz pioneers in the Midwest and folk musicians from the Appalachian hills at a time when major record labels in the East couldn't be bothered. Gennett featured such country music stars (then known as "old-time" musicians) as Gene Autry, Chubby Parker, and Bradley Kincaid and early blues artists Big Bill Broonzy, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and Roosevelt Sykes. During a period of rigid segregation, Gennett freely recorded black musicians. Ultimately issuing discs with several different labels, Gennett had a major impact, particularly on the emerging jazz movement, both in the United States and abroad. Today these recordings are valued collector's items, and some have been reissued in anthologies on LP and CD. Jelly Roll, Bix, and Hoagy is the first detailed account of the people and events behind this unique company. Personalized by anecdotes from musicians,employees, and family members, it traces the colorful history of this innovative business until its demise during the Great Depression. As Steve Allen predicts in the Foreword, "even those with no special involvement with jazz will be stimulated by the combination of the many cultural an
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