Monday, August 30, 2021

The Roaring 20's and the Louisiana 5 Jazz Band By Connie Vines #BWLAuthors Blog #MFRWAAuthor, #RandomThoughtsScatteredAbout # JazzBands #Jass Bands #AncestoryResearch

Weekly Feature #5
Hello, My Lovelies,

This week, as it is the 5th Monday of the month, it's Wild Card Monday 😮

We all have an interesting relative or two in the family tree...

Today I'd like to introduce you to my great-uncle, Anton (Tony) Lada. He was a composer, musician, performer, and one of the founding members of SAG.   

Lousiana Five Jazz Band

While all the promo material stated he was a Chicago native, he was actually from Prague, Czechoslovakia, and immigrated, with his parents and siblings (except my grandmother who was born in Chicago) as a young child. 

His family, though immigrates, opened a small business in Chicago and provided musical training for all of their children six children,  

Family members stated he was classically trained in an orchestra at the age of 14, however, I could not locate documentation to confirm this claim. 

I do know, and have records confirming:

 Drummer and bandleader Anton Lada's 1918 recordings with the Louisiana Five were among the very first commercial releases of music considered to be jazz. Lada had also drummed in an early version of the Original Dixieland Jass Band, nearly four years before it became the first combo in jazz recording history in early 1917

Also of note: with a personal consisting of Alcide "Yellow" Nunez on clarinet, Charlie Panelli on trombone, Karl Burger on banjo, Joe Cawley on piano, and Lada on drums the style of the band were unique to what is now considered the standard "jass" bands of the time. 

Whereas most featured a cornet as the lead voice, the Louisiana Five featured Nunez himself on clarinet leading the tunes. While this comes as a shock to many listeners of this pivotal group, one must remember that at the time there were no official guidelines as to how jazz ensembles should be made up. 

Their records for Edison, Columbia, Emerson, and Okeh are a treat to hear,. While the original combo broke up in the early 1920s Lada continued to record under the Louisiana Five name for a few years after that, even relocating to California, recording there too around 1925. The Sunset label promoted the ensemble as Anton Lada's Louisiana Lads. 

According to discographers, Lada's final recordings were made in the mid-'20s; however, his popular groups continued performing live. In 1941 Lada relocated to Hollywood, scoring motion pictures and developing into a Raymond Scott musical status.

A devout Christian Scientist, Tony Lada, he refused medical aid when he suffered from a ruptured appendix, passing away in his early 50s.

Anton (Tony) Lada,  co-wrote jazz and ragtime numbers with pianist Spencer Williams, notably "Arkansas Blues" and "Barcelona."

From the YouTube video link: Sadly, very little has been written about this important group, and even less reissued, and less than that played in its original style. In fact, the only major recreation that has occurred recently of this group's style was done by Dan Levinson's Roof Garden Jass Orchestra. Now,  for the first time in 98 years, David Jellema, Colin Hancock, Westen Borghesi, Dan Walton, and Ryan Neubauer recreate the sounds and style of the Louisiana Five before the recording horn, in their rendition of the popular period tune which is almost guaranteed the band played, "Ja Da (Ja Da Ja Da Jing Jing Jing)".

Thanks to the members of the band, as well as Jim Cartwright (of Immortal Performances...not Dynamic Systems [sorry, typo]!), John Knox, Benjamin Canaday, Tim Knapp, John Levin, the Hogan Jazz Archive, the Nunez Family, and the Louisiana Five for the fantastic music!

  • The First American Band to tour Europe
  • Preformed at the famed Troubadour
  • SAG card and his friends: Bing Cosby and Jimmy Durante
Hollywood Headshot


The woman on the left (standing in frnt of the car) is my grandmother)

Thank you for stopping by,



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