Wilbur Sweatman - Episode 1Wilbur Sweatman has been unfairly ignored as a pioneering force in early jazz. In December 1916, Sweatman recorded his own "Down Home Rag.” Some historians consider this recording among the earliest examples of jazz on record. Sweatman can be heard making melodic variations even in this 1916 recording. It might be argued that Sweatman recorded an archaic type of jazz before the Original Dixieland Jass Band. Taking note of the commercial success of the Original Dixieland Jass Band and the Original Creole Orchestra, Sweatman changed his sextet and instrumentation in early 1917. His band now consisted of 4 saxophones and himself on clarinet---unusual for the time.
|Kansas City Blues||Wilbur Sweatman||1919|
|Down Home Rag||Europe's Society Orchestra||1913|
|Down Home Rag||Victor Military Band||1913|
|Down Home Rag||Wilbur Sweatman with The Emerson Trio||1916|
|Original Dixieland One Step||Original Dixieland Jass Band||1917|
|A Bag of Rags||Wilbur Sweatman||1917|
|Joe Turners Blues||Wilbur Sweatman||1917|
Wilbur Sweatman - Episode 2In 1918 Wilbur Sweatman was signed by the Columbia Record Company where he enjoyed great success and better distribution of his records. During his peak years of popularity in 1918 and 1919, Sweatman sold millions of records. His best-selling song was 1919's "Kansas City Blues,” which sold more than180,000 copies. However, by 1920, sales were decreasing, perhaps reflecting the waning interest in his novelty style of jazz, and the growing popularity of syncopated big bands. He continued playing his somewhat dated style through the 1920’s. Several important jazz musicians passed through his band, including Duke Ellington, Coleman Hawkins, and Cozy Cole. Most jazz history books have unfairly ignored Wilbur Sweatman as a pioneering force in early jazz. I believe these recordings shed light on an early 20th century jazz pioneer.
|Indianola||Wilbur Sweatman's Original Jazz Band||1918|
|Darktown Strutters||Original Dixieland Jass Band||1917|
|Darktown Strutters' Ball||Wilber Sweatman’s Original Jazz Band||1918|
|Oh! You La! La!||Wilbur Sweatman's Original Jazz Band||1918|
|Regretful Blues||Wilbur Sweatman's Original Jazz Band||1918|
|Kansas City Blues||Wilbur Sweatman’s Original Jazz Band||1919|
|Slide Kelly Slide||Wilbur Sweatman's Original Jazz Band||1919|