Tin Roof Blues
|"Tin Roof Blues"|
|Music by||George Brunies, Paul Mares, Ben Pollack, Leon Roppolo, Mel Stitzel|
|Original artist||New Orleans Rhythm Kings|
"Tin Roof Blues" is a jazz composition first recorded by the New Orleans Rhythm Kings in 1923. It was written by band members Paul Mares, Ben Pollack, Mel Stitzel, George Brunies and Leon Roppolo. The tune has become a jazz standard and is one of the most often played early New Orleans jazz pieces.
The sheet music was published by Melrose music, with an illustration of a dance hall on Washington Avenue in New Orleans.
The origin of the composition has caused some controversy. It has been claimed that the tune was based on New Orleans pianist Richard M. Jones's earlier composition "Jazzin' Babies Blues", specifically Joe "King" Oliver's rendition of it. Oliver recorded Jones's tune in June 1923, two months after NORK's "Tin Roof Blues" was released. Listeners claimed that the NORK had already been playing the tune several months before recording it. Jazz critic Martin Williams argues in his book that "the only real similarity [he] hear[s] between them is that they are both 12-bar blues."
The simple melody which is shared as a strain in "Tin Roof" and "Jazzin' Babies Blues" was known to earlier New Orleans musicians under various titles; the white musicians being more familiar with it under the title "Pee Hole Blues" and the "colored" musicians as "Don't Get Funky 'Cause Your Water's On".
The Rhythm Kings first recorded the number on 13 March 1923 for Gennett Records. There are three surviving alternative takes of the number from this session. The alternative takes were created as part of the phonograph recording and manufacture process; the musicians did not expect there to be different versions released which would be compared later. The Solos on the original records contained less improvisation than much of later jazz, and more than earlier jazz. Brunies's and Roppolo's solos were played similar but noticeably different on each of the three takes. Brunies continued to play the solo from the most famous take of the NORK recording for the rest of his career.
- Charters, Samuel Barclay (2008). A Trumpet Around the Corner: The Story of New Orleans Jazz. Univ. Press of Mississippi. ISBN 1-57806-898-3.
- Kennedy, Rick (1994). Jelly Roll, Bix, and Hoagy: Gennett Studios and the Birth of Recorded Jazz. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-21315-0.
- Kernfeld, Barry Dean (1995). The Blackwell Guide to Recorded Jazz. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-19552-1.
- Williams, Martin (1991). Jazz in Its Time. Oxford University Press US. ISBN 0-19-506904-8.