Edward "Kid" Ory was born in Laplace, Louisiana on Christmas Day (December 25th) in 1886. As a child, he often played many homemade instruments, so it was plainly seen that this kid had the desire to pursue music. However, he did not start playing on the trombone originally. He started as a banjo player, and then switched to the trombone.
However, Mr. Ory's early experience with the banjo really influenced his style on the trombone. He has been thought of as one of the originals in the "tailgate" style of playing the trombone. To tailgate means to play a line of rhythm that actually sounds like it is underneath the trumpets and coronets of the orchestra. What Mr. Ory brought to jazz in this stage of his life was almost like a throwback to old ragtime and cakewalk bands, before jazz really took shape.
Between the years 1912 and 1919, Mr. Ory led one of the greatest bands in the New Orleans area. His band was composed of many future jazz greats, such as King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Johnny Dodds, Sidney Bechet, and Jimmie Noone. These future greats really shaped the the Hot Jazz style in the coming years.
After 1919, however, Mr. Ory 's health failed him. He was advised by his doctors to move to a place where the climate was a lot dryer than New Orleans. He moved to Los Angeles, California, where he put together a new group of musicians that he recruited from New Orleans. Here in California, he formed the Original Creole Jazz Band (a.k.a. Kid Ory's Brown-Skinned Babies, Spike's Seven Pods of Pepper Orchestra, and the Sunshine Band). Through 1922, this band played in California. The band released in this time the first jazz recordings made by an African-American band! Two of the more famous recordings are "Ory's Creole Trombone" and "Society Blues."
In 1925, Mr. Ory moved again, this time to Chicago. Here, he played quite a bit with King Oliver, Louis Armstrong's Hot Five (and later Hot Seven), and Jelly Roll Morton. However, during the Great Depression (1930-1939), he retired for the first time. He actually ran a chicken ranch with his brother during this time!
However, in the 1940's, the dixieland style of jazz went through a revival period. He started up the Kid Ory Creole Orchestra once again in 1943, and Mr. Ory played until 1966 when he retired. During this period of his life, he worked with Barney Bigard (clarinet) and Bunk Johnson (trumpet). He even worked in movies at this time ("Crossfire," "New Orleans," and "The Benny Goodman Story")!
After retirement, Mr. Ory died in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1973, at the age of 87. He left behind a great legacy! He will always be known as a great innovator on the trombone as well as one of the most powerful musicians in jazz!