Gennett is a record company and label. The company was owned by the Starr
Piano Company of Richmond, Indiana, and was named after the latter's three most
important managers, Harry, Fred, and Clarence Gennett. Issue began in 1917, with
the first discs being vertically cut; these included three items by the pianist
Earl Fuller. Laterally cut discs were released from mid-1919, among them a
recording by the New Orleans Jazz Band. The company made its first forays into
the race-record market with material by white bands, and issued a long series of
discs recorded in 1921 by the Original Memphis Five (under the pseudonym Ladd's
Black Aces) and a more important sequence made in 1922–3 by the New
Orleans Rhythm Kings (as the Friars Society Orchestra). Sessions by a few
vaudeville blues singers were organized, but extensive recording of race
material did not begin until 1923, when King Oliver and Jelly Roll Morton both
recorded for the label. These tracks formed the start of a series of recordings
now held to be classics. Gennett never had a designated race series: instead,
from 1924, it printed the relevant labels with the legend "race record," and was
the only company to adopt this policy. The discs were generally issued in
batches as part of the general sequence, especially after December 1926, when
the catalogue reached 6000; at this point the company started to produce
electrically made recordings, the Electrobeams.
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