Original Memphis Five

The Original Memphis Five was an early jazz quintet founded in 1917 by trumpeter Phil Napoleon and pianist Frank Signorelli. Jimmy Lytell was a member from 1922 to 1925. The group made many recordings between 1921 and 1931, sometimes under different names, including Ladd's Black Aces and The Cotton Pickers. Richard Cook and Brian Morton, writing for The Penguin Guide to Jazz, refer to the group as "one of the key small groups of the '20s."

The group formed around 1917. The name Original Memphis Five was first used in 1920, and applied to various small groups of white musicians throughout the decade. The Ladd's Black Aces name was used from 1921 until 1924. Cook and Morton identify Jimmy Lytell and Miff Mole as standout musicians in the group. Jimmy Durante played piano with Ladd's Black Aces, while both Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey were members of the Original Memphis Five. Occasional vocalists were Anna Meyers, Annette Hanshaw and Vernon Dalhart (as George White).

Both Red Nichols and Miff Mole later led their own groups named Original Memphis Five. Phil Napoleon, however, would continue using the group name until 1990. An example of two of their recordings for Columbia was "Mobile Blues" and "How Come You Do Me Like You Do" on Columbia # 260-D in 1924.

Birth and Death Data: Born 1917

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1922 - 1931

Roles Represented in DAHR: Musical group

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Columbia 81394 10-in. 12/4/1923 Shufflin' Mose Original Memphis Five Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Columbia 81886 10-in. 7/25/1924 Sioux City Sue Joseph A. Griffith ; Original Memphis Five Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Columbia W151889 10-in. 11/24/1931 Anything Original Memphis Five Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Edison 9077 10-in. 7/16/1923 The great white way blues Original Memphis Five Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Edison 9078 10-in. 7/16/1923 Shufflin' Mose Original Memphis Five Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Edison 9253 10-in. 11/20/1923 Back o' town blues Original Memphis Five Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Edison 9254 10-in. 11/20/1923 St. Louis gal Original Memphis Five Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Arto [Arto Cat 9153B] 10-in. 6/14/1922 Pacific coast blues Hollywood Syncopators Jazz/dance band Musical group  
Arto 20170 10-in. 6/14/1922 I wish I could shimmie like my sister Kate Hollywood Syncopators Jazz/dance band Musical group  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Original Memphis Five," accessed July 28, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/100145.

Original Memphis Five. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved July 28, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/100145.

"Original Memphis Five." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 28 July 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/100145

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