|Country Of origin:||United States of America|
By the mid-'20s, the Edison phonograph record company had long since abandoned its founder's curmudgeonly policy regarding jazzy entertainment, and the label's catalog was peppered with titles by Mal Hallett, Joe Herlihy, B.A. Rolfe, Frank Winegar, the Piccadilly Players, Oreste & His Queensland Orchestra, and the Georgia Melodians, a sturdy little Southern unit that left about 27 titles for posterity. Unlike several dance bands of the 20s, such as the California Ramblers and the Original Memphis Five, this group actually hailed from the geographical region whose name they bore. Formed in Savannah in early 1923 by saxophonist Clarence Hill Hutchins and trumpeter Ernie Intelhouse, the group took on clarinetist Merritt Kenworthy at Lynchburg, Virginia in the spring, played ballrooms and seaside resorts in North Carolina throughout the summer, worked its way northward performing for collegiate audiences during the autumn, and made its New York debut in February 1924.
During its three-year existence, the band's lineup included trumpeter Mickey Bloom; cornetist Red Nichols; trombonists George Troupe, Herb Winfield, Charlie Butterfield, Al Philburn, and Abe Lincoln; an unidentified tuba handler; banjoist Elmer "Merry" Morris; pianist Oscar Young (who in 1911 had come to New York from Ohio with vaudevillian Ted Lewis); and drummer Carl Gerrold. Though really led by Hutchins and Intelhouse, the band operated under the nominal leadership of violinist Charles Boulanger, who would become Jack Teagarden's band manager during the early '40s. It was while holding down a regular engagement at the Cinderella Ballroom at 48th and Broadway that the Melodians began recording for Edison thanks to the efforts of their agent, Verdi Fuller. Within a few months they had become one of several groups operating under the auspices of bandleader Paul Specht.
In September 1924, they opened at the Strand Roof Garden, and their last public appearance as the Georgia Melodians was at a New Year's celebration at the Hotel Alamac at Broadway and West 71st Street. As a studio band, the Georgia Melodians continued to record for Edison through April 1926. According to jazz historian Joe Moore, after December 1925 the Melodians absorbed personnel from the recently dissolved W.C. Polla orchestra, and serenaded the public as the Mountaineers at the Rosemont in Brooklyn under the leadership of Boulanger and bassist Rex Gavitte. Edison stopped making records altogether in 1929, and the Georgia Melodians were largely forgotten for 70 years until 20 of their recordings were reissued by Timeless Historical in 1996. ~ arwulf arwulf~ Rovi