Tiger Rag

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"Tiger Rag"
Tigerag.jpg
Sheet music for "Tiger Rag" as recorded by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band (1918)
Instrumental by The Original Dixieland Jazz Band
Released1917 (1917)
Recorded1917
Genre jazz
Label Aeolian-Vocalion
Composer(s) Eddie Edwards, Nick LaRocca, Henry Ragas, Tony Sbarbaro
Lyricist(s) Harry DeCosta

"Tiger Rag" is a jazz standard that was recorded and copyrighted by the Original Dixieland Jass Band in 1917. It is one of the most recorded jazz compositions. In 2003, the 1918 recording of "Tiger Rag" was entered into the U.S. Library of Congress National Recording Registry. [1] [2]

Contents

Background

The song was first recorded on August 17, 1917 by the Original Dixieland Jass Band for Aeolian-Vocalion Records. The band did not use the "Jazz" spelling in its name until 1917. [3] The Aeolian-Vocalion sides did not sell well because they were recorded in a vertical format which could not be played successfully on most contemporary phonographs.

The first release of "Tiger Rag" on Aeolian Vocalion in 1917 Odjbtigerrag.jpg
The first release of "Tiger Rag" on Aeolian Vocalion in 1917

But the second recording on March 25, 1918 for Victor was a hit and established it as a jazz standard. [4] The song was copyrighted, published, and credited to band members Eddie Edwards, Nick LaRocca, Henry Ragas, Tony Sbarbaro, and Larry Shields in 1917. [5]

Authorship

"Tiger Rag" was first copyrighted in 1917 with music composed by Nick LaRocca. In subsequent releases, the ODJB members received authorship. Their authorship has never been challenged legally. In other words, their authorship has never been in dispute.

Nevertheless, there have been claims and unfounded allegations not based in any evidence or facts. The allegations have been based on race alone.

"But even before the first recording, several musicians had achieved prominence as leading jazz performers, and several numbers of what was to become the standard repertoire had already been developed. "Tiger Rag" and "Oh Didn't He Ramble" were played long before the first jazz recording, and the names of Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton, Bunk Johnson, Papa Celestin, Sidney Bechet, King Oliver, Freddie Keppard, Kid Ory, and Papa Laine were already well known to the jazz community." [6]

Other New Orleans musicians claimed that the song, or at least portions of it, had been a standard in the city before it was recorded. Others copyrighted the melody or close variations of it, including Ray Lopez under the title "Weary Weasel" and Johnny De Droit under the title "Number Two Blues". Members of Papa Jack Laine's band said song was known in New Orleans as "Number Two" before the Dixieland Jass Band copyrighted it. In one interview, Laine said that the composer was Achille Baquet.

In his book Jazz: A History, Frank Tirro states, "Morton claims credit for transforming a French quadrille that was performed in different meters into "Tiger Rag". [7]

According to writer Samuel Charters, "Tiger Rag" was worked out by the Jack Carey Band, the group which developed many of the standard tunes that were recorded by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. [8] [9]

The song was known as "Jack Carey" by the black musicians of the city. It was compiled when Jack's brother Thomas, 'Papa Mutt', pulled the first strain from a book of quadrilles. The band evolved the second and third strains in order to show off the clarinetist, George Boyd, and the final strain ('Hold that tiger' section) was worked out by Jack, a trombonist, and the cornet player, Punch Miller." [6] :170

Other recordings

Nick LaRocca's house in Uptown New Orleans has the opening notes of "Tiger Rag" in the door screen. UptownLaRoccaHouseFrontDoorTigarRag.jpg
Nick LaRocca's house in Uptown New Orleans has the opening notes of "Tiger Rag" in the door screen.

After the success of the Original Dixieland Jass Band recordings, the song gained national popularity. Dance band and march orchestrations were published. Hundreds of recordings appeared in the late 1910s and through the 1920s. These include the New Orleans Rhythm Kings version with a clarinet solo by Leon Roppolo. Archaeologist Sylvanus Morley played it repeatedly on his wind up phonograph while exploring the ruins of Chichen Itza in the 1920s. With the arrival of sound films, it appeared on soundtracks to movies and cartoons when energetic music was needed.

"Tiger Rag" had over 136 versions by 1942. [10] Musicians who played it included Art Tatum, Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra (in a version with lyrics), Duke Ellington, Bix Beiderbecke, and Louis Armstrong, who released the song at least three times as a 78 single, twice for Okeh in 1930 [11] and 1932, [12] and for the French arm of Brunswick in 1934. [13] A Japanese version was recorded in 1935 by Nakano Tadaharu and the Columbia Rhythm Boys.

The Mills Brothers became a national sensation with their million-selling version in 1931. [14] In the same year the Washboard Rhythm Kings released a version that was cited as an influence on rock and roll. During the early 1930s "Tiger Rag" became a standard showoff piece for big band arrangers and soloists in England, where Bert Ambrose, Jack Hylton, Lew Stone, Billy Cotton, Jack Payne, and Ray Noble recorded it. But the song declined in popularity during the swing era, as it had become something of a cliché. Les Paul and Mary Ford had a hit version in 1952. Charlie Parker recorded a bebop version in 1954, the same year it appeared in the MGM cartoon Dixieland Droopy . In 2002 it was entered into the National Recording Registry at the U.S. Library of Congress.

It is the 32nd most recorded song from 1890 to 1954 based on Joel Whitburn's research for Billboard. [15]

A fight song in sports

"Tiger Rag" is often used as a fight song by American high school and college teams which have a tiger for a mascot. "Tiger Rag" is LSU's pregame song, which was first introduced in 1926. The Louisiana State University Tiger Marching Band performs it on the field before every home game and after the Tigers score a touchdown.

The Auburn University Marching Band also plays "Tiger Rag" as part of its pre-game performance before all home football games. The smaller pep band that plays for basketball games plays it just before the start of each half, timed so that the final note of the song is played as the horn sounds when the "game clock" counts down to triple-zeroes before each half.

The University of Texas at Dallas adopted "Tiger Rag" as its first official fight song in 2008. [16]

The Massillon Tiger Swing Band of Massillon, Ohio began playing "Tiger Rag" at Massillon Washington High School Tigers football games in 1938 when the team was coached by Paul Brown. It has been a Tiger tradition in Massillon ever since. [17]

"Tiger Rag – The Song That Shakes the Southland" is Clemson University's familiar fight song since 1942 and is performed at Tiger sporting events, pep rallies, and parades. A version has been arranged for the carillon on Clemson's campus.

It also has been played by Dixieland bands at Detroit Tigers home games and was popular during the 1934 and 1935 World Series.

Cover versions

Related Research Articles

Original Dixieland Jass Band American jazz band

The Original Dixieland Jass Band (ODJB) was a Dixieland jazz band that made the first jazz recordings in early 1917. Their "Livery Stable Blues" became the first jazz record ever issued. The group composed and recorded many jazz standards, the most famous being "Tiger Rag". In late 1917 the spelling of the band's name was changed to Original Dixieland Jazz Band.

Nick LaRocca American jazz musician

Dominic James "Nick" LaRocca, was an American early jazz cornetist and trumpeter and the leader of the Original Dixieland Jass Band. He is the composer of one of the most recorded jazz classics of all-time, "Tiger Rag". He was part of what is generally regarded as the first recorded jazz band, a band which recorded and released the first jazz recording, "Livery Stable Blues" in 1917.

Emile Christian American musician

Emile Joseph Christian was an early jazz trombonist; he also played cornet and string bass. He also wrote a number of tunes, including "Meet Me At the Green Goose", "Satanic Blues", and "Mardi Gras Parade".

J. Russel Robinson United States ragtime and dixieland jazz pianist and composer

Joseph Russel Robinson was an American ragtime, dixieland, and blues pianist and composer who was a member of the Original Dixieland Jass Band.

Larry Shields American jazz musician

Lawrence James "Larry" Shields was an early American dixieland jazz clarinetist. He was a member of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, the first jazz band to record commercially.

Alcide Nunez Early jazz clarinetist

Alcide Patrick Nunez, also known as Yellow Nunez and Al Nunez, was an American jazz clarinetist. He was one of the first musicians of New Orleans to make audio recordings.

Eddie Edwards (musician) American jazz musician

Edwin Branford "Eddie" Edwards was an early jazz trombonist who was a member of the Original Dixieland Jass Band.

Tom Brown (trombonist) New Orleans dixieland jazz trombonist

Tom Brown, sometimes known by the nickname Red Brown, was an early New Orleans dixieland jazz trombonist. He also played string bass professionally.

Jazz standards are musical compositions that are an important part of the musical repertoire of jazz musicians, in that they are widely known, performed, and recorded by jazz musicians, and widely known by listeners. There is no definitive list of jazz standards, and the list of songs deemed to be standards changes over time. Songs included in major fake book publications and jazz reference works offer a rough guide to which songs are considered standards.

Henry Ragas American jazz musician

Henry W. Ragas was a jazz pianist who was a member of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, the first jazz band to record commercially.

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The music of New Orleans assumes various styles of music which have often borrowed from earlier traditions. New Orleans, Louisiana, is especially known for its strong association with jazz music, universally considered to be the birthplace of the genre. The earliest form was dixieland, which has sometimes been called traditional jazz, 'New Orleans', and 'New Orleans jazz'. However, the tradition of jazz in New Orleans has taken on various forms that have either branched out from original dixieland or taken entirely different paths altogether. New Orleans has also been a prominent center of funk, home to some of the earliest funk bands such as The Meters.

Livery Stable Blues song performed by Original Dixieland Jass Band

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At the Jazz Band Ball song performed by Original Dixieland Jass Band

"At the Jazz Band Ball" is a 1917 jazz instrumental recorded by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. The instrumental is one of the earliest and most recorded jazz compositions. The song is a jazz classic and a standard of the genre.

Clarinet Marmalade song performed by Original Dixieland Jass Band

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"Singin' the Blues" is a 1920 jazz composition by J. Russel Robinson, Con Conrad, Sam M. Lewis, and Joe Young. It was recorded by the Original Dixieland Jass Band in 1920 as an instrumental and released as a Victor 78 as part of a medley with "Margie". The song was released with lyrics by vocalist Aileen Stanley in 1920 on Victor. In 1927, Frank Trumbauer, Bix Beiderbecke, and Eddie Lang recorded and released the song as an Okeh 78. The Trumbauer recording is considered a jazz and pop standard, greatly contributing to Frank Trumbauer and Bix Beiderbecke's reputation and influence. It is not related to the 1956 pop song "Singing the Blues" first recorded and released by Marty Robbins in 1956.

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Ostrich Walk song performed by Original Dixieland Jass Band

Ostrich Walk" is a 1917 jazz composition by the Original Dixieland Jass Band released as an instrumental as an Aeolian Vocalion and a Victor 78. Frankie Trumbauer and Bix Beiderbecke recorded the song in 1927. The song is a jazz milestone as one of the first commercially released "jass" or jazz recordings.

References

  1. Library of Congress. Tiger Rag.
  2. "Tiger Rag" -- The Original Dixieland Jazz Band (1918).
  3. Brunn, H. O. (1977). The Story of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. Da Capo Press. ISBN   0-306-70892-2.
  4. Jack, Stewart (2005). The Original Dixieland Jazz Band's Place in the Development of Jazz. New Orleans International Music Colloquium. New Orleans.
  5. "Original Dixieland Jass Band". Red Hot Jazz Archive.
  6. 1 2 Tirro, Frank (1977). Jazz: A History . New York City: W. W. Norton. p.  157. ISBN   0-393-09078-7.
  7. Blesh, Rudi (1958). Shining Trumpets: A History of Jazz (2 ed.). New York City: Knopf. p.  191.
  8. Charters, Samuel B. (1963). Jazz: New Orleans, 1885–1963 (Revised ed.). New York: Oak Publications. p. 24.
  9. "Jack Carey (1889-1934)". Red Hot Jazz Archive.
  10. "Jazz Standards Songs and Instrumentals (Tiger Rag)". www.jazzstandards.com.
  11. [http://michaelminn.net/armstrong/index.php?section3#19300504 1930 Louis Armstrong recordings.Archived 2011-08-22 at the Wayback Machine
  12. http://michaelminn.net/armstrong/index.php?section3#19320311 Archived 2011-08-22 at the Wayback Machine
  13. http://michaelminn.net/armstrong/index.php?section4#1934101934 Archived 2013-11-07 at the Wayback Machine
  14. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Gioia, Ted (2012). The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire. New York City: Oxford University Press. pp. 434–436. ISBN   978-0-19-993739-4.
  15. 100 Most Recorded Songs, 1890-1954. Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories, 1890-1954.
  16. "Something to Sing About: Comets Get First Fight Song". UT Dallas News Center. 2008-09-29. Retrieved 2015-10-08.
  17. Wenzel, Robert (10 June 2004). "History of the Tiger Swing Band". archive.org. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  18. "Original versions of Tiger Rag written by Nick LaRocca, Eddie Edwards, Henry Ragas, Tony Sbarbaro, Larry Shields". Secondhand Songs.
  19. "Get Back/Let It Be sessions: complete song list". beatlesbible.com. 5 February 2011.
  20. 2015 recording by Asleep At The Wheel. Asleep At The Wheel Official.