The Tiger Rag is probably the most known jazz tune ever made. The Original Dixieland Jass Band was the first white band to record it in 1917. In those 90 years the tune was recorded thousand times and became a standard tune in traditional jazz. It must have become one of the most recorded tunes in jazz repertoire, together with the St. Louis Blues.
As the tune is well known and so often played it seems not very interesting to listen to it anymore, so if it's on a record or CD you hear it somewhere in your subconsciousness and maybe you recognize the differents between recording thanks to the breaks.
Last night I listened to an early Blue Note recording of Sidney Bechet when I heard strange noises in the breaks of the Tiger Rag. It looked like an animal in the rutting season. Well, I was used to all kinds of roaring lions or tigers during the performance of this tune, but this sound was new to me.
A little research learned me that the noises were made by Freddie Moore, the drummer man, who uses a broken head which he roars into an old snare drum. He alsways took this head with him.
Isn't that nice?
This Tiger Rag was one of the first segment of tunes that were recorded by Sidney Bechet for Blue Note associated with the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. It became a relaxed version with Sidney Bechet on soprano, Wild Bill Davison on cornet, Art Hodes at the piano, Walter Page at the bass and Fred Moore using the drum sticks and ....... a broken head. ( Recorded 21 Jan. 1949 )
This Bechet version is a full instrumental ones, but there are also vocal versions. If you want to sing along with the Tiger rag find the words here and sing it at the top of your voice.