Nick LaRocca – Creator of Jazz

Nick LaRoccaNick LaRocca Bust

Dominic James “Nick” LaRocca of New Orleans, Creator of Jazz
with the Original Dixieland Jazz Band
by Victor P. Musso

Under the leadership of Nick LaRocca, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band has earned its place in history having made the very first “jass” recording in 1917, Livery Stable Blues. It sold an amazing unheard of one million copies of the new recording and securing the word “jazz” as a musical genre (class or category of artistic endeavor having a particular form, content, or technique). Nick LaRocca was the composer of many jazz classics including one of the most recorded jazz classics of all-time “Tiger Rag”. The success of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band recordings was immense and musicians worldwide changed their instrumentation to emulate the sound and style the Original Dixieland Jazz Band made famous.

Nick LaRocca and the Original Dixieland Jazz Band became famous in the United States and in the civilized countries of the world in 1917 and for years after. Many years later the national new “political” media in the United States totally ignored what Nick LaRocca accomplished in favor only of others who learned to play jazz. His contribution to musical history was overlooked and almost forgotten. The question will always be why was this energetic intelligent talented Italian American later insulted in this manner? Sadly there are no airports or performing theaters or schools named after Dominic James “Nick” LaRocca in New Orleans, the city that jazz brought so much fame and recognition to.

A few of the many Original Nick LaRocca compositions performed by his Son, Jimmy LaRocca and the Original Dixieland Jazz Band includes those shown below:

Livery Stable Blues
Tiger Rag
St. Louis Blues
When It’s Sleepy Time Down South

Click below for a most impressive write up on:

Nick LaRocca
By Linda Serio published in 2007
Written in cooperation with the American Italian Renaissance Foundation Research Library

Note: Linda Serio traveled to and was vital in the establishment of a New Orleans sister city connection to the Isola del Liri Blues Festival. Isola del Liri is an Italian town in the Province of Frosinone that continues to give recognition to New Orleans Jazz.

Original Dixieland Jazz Band Selected Photos

Salaparuta and the Nick LaRocca Cultural Arts Center

Other Italian American Jazz Greats Of New Orleans

5 thoughts on “Nick LaRocca – Creator of Jazz

  1. Brava, Nick and Jimmy!!! I’m so proud to be part of the La Rocca clan (maternal side) and so happy to see that Jimmy and his Dad are being given the credit that they deserve.

  2. Jim Lo Rocca is a good friend. He of his father’s story several years ago and that the Tulane Uniersity had the full true history mant years ago.

    In his own right Jim is one of the finnest coronet players ali e today.

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