The New Orleans Rhythm Kings (nicknamed NORK) were one of the most influential jazz bands of the early-to-mid 1920s. The band was a combination of New Orleans and Chicago musicians who helped shape Chicago Jazz and influenced many younger jazz musicians. In 1919, New Orleans-born cornetist Paul Mares travelled to Chicago and played with, among other performers, childhood friend and trombonist George Brunies. The pair got a job performing on a Mississippi riverboat, the S.S. Capitol. It was there that they were reunited with clarinetist Leon Roppolo, another childhood friend from New Orleans.