Friday, August 4, 2017

The Wolverines on Claxtonola

I recently acquired a rare record by Bix Beiderbecke and the Wolverines, that midwestern jazz band that recorded for Gennett in 1924.  When I became interested in jazz as a teenager, the first jazz record I remember buying was a Milestone LP collection which had all of the Wolverines' sides with Bix. Over 40 years later, I still love this music.

Claxtonola was a small Iowa City label that operated from 1922 to 1925 or so. It drew material from Paramount and Gennett, and like many small labels that leased material from larger companies, they often used pseudonyms to disguise the artists. Thus Gennett 5454, with "Riverboat Shuffle" and "Susie" played by the Wolverine Orchestra, has as its equivalent Claxtonola 40339, by The Jazz Harmonizers.

The Ebay seller who listed this record was apparently not aware of its true nature - there was no mention of Bix or the Wolverines - so I was able to buy it for a very reasonable price, considering its rarity. It's a fairly worn record, with lots of surface noise, but the music is still quite audible and enjoyable. I won't post a transfer here, because anyone interested can find the music in much better sound elsewhere on the web. But I'm happy to have this rarity by one of my favorite early jazz musicians.

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