Kid OryKid Ory led his Original Creole Jazz Band from New Orleans to Los Angeles and from there to Chicago in the years after WWI. He released his earliest records on his is very own Sunshine label (the first Blues music to be made on the West-coast ) and distribited his products through a single store in LA. Kid later went on to play trombone on Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith‘s hit records, and he also had a great talent for picking up musicians who could improvise, giving many future stars a place in his band. This pioneer of Jazz and Blues was still playing a residency at the age 80.

Edward Ory was born on a Louisiana plantation in 1886, and his first instruments were home-made until he got a banjo. He moved to New Orleans and acquired a trombone, and soon came to the attention of the pioneering clarinet player Buddy Bolden, but the Kid’s sister thought he was too young to join a band. Ten years later Kid was leading his own band, popularising the ‘tailgate’ style of trombone playing where his instrument would put a rhythmic line under the cornets and clarinets. Kid had a good ear for musicians too, hiring horn players Joe ‘King’ Oliver and Louis Armstrong and ace clarinettists Johnny Dodds and Jimmie Noone when they were all ‘young guns’.

‘Tin Roof Blues’ from the Kid Ory Creole Orchestra;

Advised by doctors to seek a more healthy environment, he relocated to Los Angeles in 1919 and made the first jazz ever recorded on the West-coast, as demand for the new ‘race music‘ grew. Kid’s early efforts included some vocal tracks by Blues Divas, Roberta Dudley and Ruth Lee in 1922. Kid had the records pressed and issued them under his own Sunshine label, selling them through a single outlet, Spike’s Record Store on Central Avenue. Kid moved his operations to Chicago in 1925, where the prohibition era clubs and speakeasies were hungry for good live music. His talented and disciplined musicians were in demand for studio sessions too, backing Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith on many hit records. He also gave a chance to young players like Benny Goodman and later to the bass player Charlie Mingus.

Kid and his band play a gig in Paris in 1959;

Kid Ory Discography
Recorded in 1955, Kid’s accomplished band give classics like ‘Make Me a Pallet’ the New Orleans treatment.


The thirties were a lean time for a lot of musicians, but there was a revival of interest in New Orleans Jazz in the early 40s. Kid’s band made many radio broadcasts during WWII, including a history of that revolutionary music, and his recording career revived too as he released discs under the title ‘Kid Ory’s Original Creole Orchestra’. After the War, Kid moved back to Los Angeles and settled into a long residency at The Beverley Cavern. In the mid-60s, Kid retired from music and spent his late years in Hawaii, where he passed away in 1973.