Monday, October 15, 2007

Phil Zito and his New Orleans International City Dixielanders - Dixieland Express - Columbia Records

Phil Zito and his New Orleans International City Dixielanders
Dixieland Express

1949 Columbia Records CL-6110 10" LP

Side A:
1. Bob Cats
2. Shine
3. Bye and Bye
4. Original Dixieland One Step

Side B:
1. She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain
2. Zito's Zag (2 Up and 2 own Beat)
3. Clarinet Marmalade
4. Tulane Swing

Liner Notes:

Dixieland Express by Phil Zito and his New Orleans International City Dixielanders - Recorded in New Orleans in 1949

Phil Zito drums
Emile Christian bass
Roy Zimmerman piano
Pete Fountain clarinet
Joe Rotis trombone
George Girard trumpet

The upswing in Dixieland music that began to gather momentum during the last months of 1919 is happily serving a dual purpose. Not only is it introducing this "happy-making" music to generations almost entirely unfamiliar with it and bringing back fond acquaintance to older enthusiasts, it is bringing recognition to a number of small groups that served faithfully and unceasingly during the Dixieland drought. Many of these groups, playing in nightclubs and theaters around the country, suddenly found that they were not, after all, playing mostly for their own amusement. They found that somehow the lively two-beat of their music had been taken up by a public weary of modernism and wary of over-experimentation.

This record introduces such a group: Phil Zito and his New Orleans International City Dixielanders. Long-time favorites of New Orleans citizens, Zito and his organization have been heard at almost every musical event in that fascinating city. They have played in nightclubs, at jazz concerts and battles, at dances. in theaters, in parks and at all sorts of celebrations. Zito's first group, organized in the late Thirties. built up a considerable reputation with local fans, but was disrupted by the war. When Zito returned from the Navy, he again began building up a small combination, emphasizing Dixieland music, and swiftly became one of the leaders of the jazz movement in New Orleans.

As currently constituted, the New Orleans International City Dixielanders consist of comparative old-timers in the rhythm section, with representatives of the younger musical generation in other spots. Zito himself is at the drums, Emile Christian plays bass, Roy Zimmerman piano, Pete Fountain clarinet, Joe Rotis trombone and George Girard trumpet. This is a festive outfit in the good old-fashioned New Orleans tradition. They put in plenty of time playing the usual round of engagements, but it is not uncommon to find them whooping it up at the opening of a new factory or spreading their music through the streets of the city to signal the premiere of a new film. If this is not precisely the clientele of the old jazz bands, it is at least the closest equivalent that these less rowdy days permit, and it carries their music directly into the daily existence of the lucky residents.

Eight samples of that vigorous brand are contained in this collection, some of them standard jazz exercises, some of them originals. In them is the happy compromise between high-flying solo work and closely-knit ensemble playing that distinguishes the New Orleans International City Dixielanders. Although their title may be a trifle cumbersome, there is nothing unwieldy about their music. Recorded in New Orleans, it has the special flavor of that city's contribution to popular music, bright, inventive and splendidly uncomplicated.

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