Jelly Roll, Bix, and Hoagy: Gennett Studios and the Birth of Recorded Jazz

Rick Kennedy, Author, Steve Allen, Foreword by Indiana University Press $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-253-33136-6
In this well-researched, behind-the-scenes account, Kennedy, a media relations manager at General Electric, tells the story of Gennett Studios, a small company in the 1920s that produced the first recordings of many of our nation's great jazz, country and blues performers. The Gennett family of Richmond, Ind., owners of the Starr Piano Company, opened a recording studio in 1915 to make records to sell in their showrooms across the country. Taking advantage of a court decision that placed recording processes in the public domain, the Gennetts entered the business as jazz captured the population's fancy. They would record anyone who approached them and thus captured, often quite primitively, the original sounds of such artists as Jelly Roll Morton, Joe ``King'' Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Earl ``Fatha'' Hines, Bix Beiderbecke, Hoagy Carmichael, Bradley Kincaid and Charlie Patton. Unable to ride out the Depression and family bickering, the Gennetts stopped producing records in 1934. Kennedy's account adds a significant footnote to the history of recorded music. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-253-21315-0
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!