Lotta folks have spent a lot of years doing this in depth to great effect and, as i said, I'm just dabbling. But recently I can across three artifacts that made a lot of great connections: Danny
You read Barker's books, or Louis Armstrong's "Satchmo: My Life In New Orleaans," Al Rose's "Storyville, New Orleans" and now the liner notes to Sony's wonderful 4CD Preservation Hall retrospective and the same names keep popping up - Freddie Keppard, Papa Celestin, Kid Ory, Fate Marable... who were the pre-eminent musicians and band leaders that inspired and helped train more widely known players like Armstrong, King Oliver... You go looking for the music...and there's NOT a lot, and much of what's out there is of - reputedly dubious provenance; tracks that have been repackaged multiple times in myriad ways, misleadingly labelled, sometimes including recordings that the featured musician may not even appear on. It's very frustrating, very tantalizing.
"Breaking Out of New Orleans 1922-1929" CD box set compiles 4 CDs' worth of this crucial material - Keppard with his Jazz Cardinals as well as with outfits led by others, Marable, Celestin leading multiple outfits, the earliest recordings of the great trombonist and band leader Kid Ory, etc.
This is a JSP release so -- INEXPENSIVE. Probably about 20 dollars (I got my set as an Xmas present - thanks Sis!)
As per the impact of the music -- well, "Hot jazz" tends to sound initially hokey to 21st century neophyte ears - Jazz developed into more polished, then more cerebral and abstract forms for decades and then slipstreams of the music mutated into R&B, then its sub-genre "rock 'n' roll" (a simple description of a certain sensual activity involving two people - get close to someone ya love and try one action and then the next), and so on. But even a rock-bred dummy can learn to appreciate what these folks were putting down - near telepathic group improvisation that was still danceable, hummable pop. More problematic - to a degree - is that some of these players, Keppard for instance, was already past his physical prime and was performing with a somewhat degraded embouchure (it's said)...nothing much to be done about that. The recording industry, in those days, largely revolved around the relatively scarce facilities, some of them technically classed as electronics laboratories that'd been set up in places like Chicago, Camden, NJ, New York. New Orleans musicians - by and large - didn't have access to recording studios until they'd relocated to these other towns. Moreover, there was a standing tradition not to publish your music or make recordings lest other musicians be able to imitate your repertoire and playing style and better compete with you for live work -- which is where the money was in those days.
ALL THAT BEING SAID - I'm finding this an invaluable rsource that brings a lot of the stories and references I've come across in my reading to life. In addition, there's repertoire and stylistic traditions presented here, recorded in the 1920's that STILL appear on some of my favorite NOLA releases from recent times.