The Mystery of “New Orleans Heritage — Jazz: 1956-1966”

Sometimes your own possessions can be enigmas on some level. Doing the listen-back on vinyl, I picked out this set of LPs, which has turned out to be a cool keepsake. It’s described in The New Orleans Jazz Scene by Thomas W. Jacobsen:

Another significant product in the modern idiom was the four-LP boxed anthology put together by New Orleans saxophonist Harold Battiste: New Orleans Heritage: Jazz 1956-1966 on the Opus 43 label. It was the product of a local African-American musical experiment known as “All For One” (AFO) formed by Battiste. The anthology features early recordings by some of those modern pathfinders in the city, including Battiste himself, along with others who ultimately gained national reputations: pianist Ellis Marsalis, drummers [Ed] Blackwell and [James] Black, clarinetist Alvin Batiste, and cornetist Melvin Lastie (1930-1972), to name only a few.

The frustrating part is that I cannot to save my neck remember where I picked up these albums. Seems like it might have been NOLA (where things never seem to go out of print — the copyright is 1976 and I remember it was vintage when I grabbed it back in the ’80s), but Newport Jazz also seems like a possibility.

Anyway, all these cats were obscure when I first heard this. Post-trad jazz from New Orleans was way, way off the standard narrative at the time. I loved the jams (only complaint: just five cuts per side) and wondered if the players would ever become better known. Includes Battiste’s very lively and informative booklet with rare photos.

New Orleans Heritage

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