Leon Roppolo was a prominent early jazz clarinetist, best known for his playing with the New Orleans Rhythm Kings.The New Orleans Rhythm Kings were one of the hottest jazz bands of the early 1920s, and a strong influence on many later musicians, including Bix Beiderbecke, Muggsy Spanier, Mezz Mezzrow, and Benny Goodman. Best known for their 1923 integrated recording session with Jelly Roll Morton, the NORK’s smooth, swinging style signaled a departure from the raucous novelty sound of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band and its imitators. Another hallmark of the band was its emphasis on solo performances, while traditional New Orleans jazz was still heavily dependent on ensemble playing. The solos of Leon Roppolo on clarinet and George Brunies on trombone are still considered classic, and have often been copied on other bands’ recordings.
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