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This is Jazz

Hosted by Jazz critic Rudi Blesh and guests included Jazz greats like Louis Armstrong, Leadbelly, Sidney Bechet, Bertha Chippie Hill, Canada Lee, Blue Lou Lee, Mama Alberta Price

18 old time radio show recordings
(total playtime 8 hours, 11 min)
available in the following formats:

1 MP3 CD
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9 Audio CDs


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Play a sample episode from May 06, 1960:

"Louis Armstrong in This is Jazz, 1960"



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Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2019 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

The Jazz we hear most of the time in Old Time Radio is Swing Jazz. Swing is closely related to Dance Jazz and Big Band Music, the differences, if there are any, are subtle enough that scholars are about the only ones who can tell the difference. Since it is played as dance music, Swing tends to be carefully arranged and directed. Too much improvisation could make the music less danceable, and ruin the mood.

Swing was a progression of New Orleans Jazz, but it would be hard for the casual listener to connect the two. The New Orleans style, also called Riverboat Jazz, Dixieland, or sometimes Early Jazz, is filled with improvisation. Swing Jazz is the music of dance halls and nightclubs, New Orleans Jazz is the music for parties.

Louis ArmstrongThe roots of New Orleans Jazz go back to the end of the Spanish-American War. Many of the units organized for the conflict demobilized in New Orleans. If the outfit had a band (and many of them did), they were likely to abandon their instruments in their hurry to get home. The uneducated musicians who took advantage of this musical windfall developed the unique style we can Dixieland.

The party style of New Orleans Jazz was a good fit for the prohibition era with its boisterous beats and improvisational style. After Prohibition, the speakeasy clubs became nightclubs and the change in atmosphere demanded a change in music. By the 1930’s, Swing was the thing, and many Dixieland musicians were forced into retirement.

Jazz critic Rudi Blesh came from Oklahoma and studied at Dartmouth College. He wrote about jazz for The New York Tribune and The San Francisco Chronicle. Some critics held that his 1946 book, Shining Trumpets, was a flawed and biased history of Jazz, but it gave him enough authority that the next year, WOR New York and the Mutual Network tapped him to host This Is Jazz. The program was to be “radio’s only live, improvised, authentic New Orleans Jazz”. As a scholar, it is natural that Blesh got in a few musical history lessons, but mostly the show is about hot, pure Jazz.

Modern Jazz scholars still refer to recordings of This Is Jazz. Along with comments from Rudi Blesh, the show regularly featured Wild Bill Davidson, Art Hodes, Jimmy Archey, and Pops Foster. Later in the run, the band got their “official” name, “Rudi Blesh’s All-Star Stompers”. Guests included Jazz greats like Louis Armstrong, Leadbelly, Sidney Bechet, Bertha Chippie Hill, Canada Lee, Blue Lou Lee, Mama Alberta Price, and sixteen-year-old Johnny Glazel.

Blesh is also credited with recording and reigniting the careers of Jazz greats like Jelly Roll Morton, Dizzy Gillespie, Joseph Lamb, James P. Johnson, and Eubie Blake. In 1976, Blesh received a Grammy Nomination for the line notes he wrote for Dick Hyman’s Joplin: The Complete Works of Scott Joplin.

Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2019 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

These classic recordings are available in the following formats:

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  • MP3 CDs are delivered by mail. These archival quality MP3 CDs are playable in your computer and many MP3 player devices.



    18 recordings on 1 MP3 CD for just $5.00
    total playtime 8 hours, 11 min
    Add MP3 CD Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      18 shows - total playtime 8 hours 11 minutes
      1. This Is Jazz 470214 Three Tracks.mp3
      2. This Is Jazz 470517 0015 Original Dixiland One Step.mp3
      3. This Is Jazz 470531 0017 Original Ostrich Waltz.mp3
      4. This Is Jazz 470607 0018 Wish Could Shimmy Like Sister Kate.mp3
      5. This Is Jazz 470614 0019 Figgity Feet News Flash At Start.mp3
      6. This is Jazz 470621 0020 Panama Rag (News Flash at Start).mp3
      7. This Is Jazz 470712 0023 Alexanders Ragtime Band.mp3
      8. This Is Jazz 470719 0024 Twelth Street Rag.mp3
      9. This Is Jazz 470726 0025 That Eccentric Rag.mp3
      10. This Is Jazz 470816 0028 Cakewalking Baby Lou Waters Yerba.mp3
      11. This is Jazz 470823 0029 Ballin' the Jack.mp3
      12. This Is Jazz 470830 0030 At Jand Ball Part 1 Only.mp3
      13. This Is Jazz 470906 0031 2nd Ole Man River Part 2 Only.mp3
      14. This Is Jazz 600129 005 Dizzy Gillespie.mp3
      15. This Is Jazz 600219 008 Austin High Gang Afr.mp3
      16. This Is Jazz 600226 009 Duke Ellington Orchestra 12.mp3
      17. This Is Jazz 600408 015 Coleman Hawkins Afr.mp3
      18. This Is Jazz 600506 019 Louis Armstrong Afr.mp3
  • MP3 downloads are available instantly after purchase!



    18 recordings on 1 MP3 Collection Download for just $5.00
    total playtime 8 hours, 11 min
    Add MP3 CD Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      18 shows - total playtime 8 hours 11 minutes
      1. This Is Jazz 470214 Three Tracks.mp3
      2. This Is Jazz 470517 0015 Original Dixiland One Step.mp3
      3. This Is Jazz 470531 0017 Original Ostrich Waltz.mp3
      4. This Is Jazz 470607 0018 Wish Could Shimmy Like Sister Kate.mp3
      5. This Is Jazz 470614 0019 Figgity Feet News Flash At Start.mp3
      6. This is Jazz 470621 0020 Panama Rag (News Flash at Start).mp3
      7. This Is Jazz 470712 0023 Alexanders Ragtime Band.mp3
      8. This Is Jazz 470719 0024 Twelth Street Rag.mp3
      9. This Is Jazz 470726 0025 That Eccentric Rag.mp3
      10. This Is Jazz 470816 0028 Cakewalking Baby Lou Waters Yerba.mp3
      11. This is Jazz 470823 0029 Ballin' the Jack.mp3
      12. This Is Jazz 470830 0030 At Jand Ball Part 1 Only.mp3
      13. This Is Jazz 470906 0031 2nd Ole Man River Part 2 Only.mp3
      14. This Is Jazz 600129 005 Dizzy Gillespie.mp3
      15. This Is Jazz 600219 008 Austin High Gang Afr.mp3
      16. This Is Jazz 600226 009 Duke Ellington Orchestra 12.mp3
      17. This Is Jazz 600408 015 Coleman Hawkins Afr.mp3
      18. This Is Jazz 600506 019 Louis Armstrong Afr.mp3
  • Standard Audio CDs are delivered by mail on archival quality media with up to 60 minutes on each CD and play in all CD players



    18 recordings on 9 Audio CDs
    total playtime 8 hours, 11 min

    This is Jazz Disc A001

    1. This Is Jazz 470214 Three Tracks
    2. This Is Jazz 470517 0015 Original Dixiland One Step

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    This is Jazz Disc A002

    1. This Is Jazz 470531 0017 Original Ostrich Waltz
    2. This Is Jazz 470607 0018 Wish Could Shimmy Like Sister Kate

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    This is Jazz Disc A003

    1. This Is Jazz 470614 0019 Figgity Feet News Flash At Start
    2. This is Jazz 470621 0020 Panama Rag (News Flash at Start)

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    This is Jazz Disc A004

    1. This Is Jazz 470712 0023 Alexanders Ragtime Band
    2. This Is Jazz 470719 0024 Twelth Street Rag

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    This is Jazz Disc A005

    1. This Is Jazz 470726 0025 That Eccentric Rag
    2. This Is Jazz 470816 0028 Cakewalking Baby Lou Waters Yerba

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    This is Jazz Disc A006

    1. This is Jazz 470823 0029 Ballin' the Jack
    2. This Is Jazz 470830 0030 At Jand Ball Part 1 Only
    3. This Is Jazz 470906 0031 2nd Ole Man River Part 2 Only

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    This is Jazz Disc A007

    1. This Is Jazz 600129 005 Dizzy Gillespie
    2. This Is Jazz 600219 008 Austin High Gang Afr

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    This is Jazz Disc A008

    1. This Is Jazz 600226 009 Duke Ellington Orchestra 12
    2. This Is Jazz 600408 015 Coleman Hawkins Afr

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    This is Jazz Disc A009

    1. This Is Jazz 600506 019 Louis Armstrong Afr

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
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