By William Howland Kenney
The atmosphere is the Royal Gardens Cafe. It's darkish, smoky. The odor of gin permeates the room. everyone is leaning over the balcony, their beverages spilling at the clients under. On degree, King Oliver and Louis Armstrong roll on and on, piling up choruses, the rhythm part construction the beat till tables, chairs, partitions, humans, movement with the rhythm. The time is the Nineteen Twenties. where is South facet Chicago, a city of dance halls and cabarets, Prohibition and segregation, a city the place jazz could flourish into the musical assertion of an era.
In Chicago Jazz, William Howland Kenney bargains a wide-ranging examine jazz within the Windy urban, revealing how Chicago grew to become the foremost heart of jazz within the Nineteen Twenties, probably the most important sessions within the heritage of the track. He describes how the migration of blacks from the South to Chicago in the course of and after global warfare I set the degree for the advance of jazz in Chicago; and the way the nightclubs and cabarets catering to either black and white buyers supplied the social atmosphere for jazz performances. Kenney discusses the coming of King Oliver and different greats in Chicago within the overdue teenagers and the early Nineteen Twenties, particularly Louis Armstrong, who may develop into the main influential jazz participant of the interval. And he travels past South facet Chicago to examine the evolution of white jazz, concentrating on the impact of the South part tuition on such younger white gamers as Mezz Mezzrow (who followed the mannerisms of black express enterprise performers, an urbanized southern black accessory, and black slang); and Max Kaminsky, deeply motivated by way of Armstrong's "electrifying tone, his remarkable process, his strength and simplicity, his hotness and depth, his entire mastery of the horn." the non-public memories of many others--including Milt Hinton, Wild invoice Davison, Bud Freeman, and Jimmy McPartland--bring alive this intriguing interval in jazz history.
here's a new interpretation of Chicago jazz that unearths the position of race, tradition, and politics within the improvement of this bold musical kind. From black-and-tan cabarets and the Savoy Ballroom, to the Friars lodge and Austin excessive, Chicago Jazz brings to existence the hustle and bustle of the sounds and types of musical leisure within the recognized toddlin' city.
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Extra info for Chicago Jazz: A Cultural History, 1904-1930
The Plantation Cafe went into business in 1924 without a license and quickly established itself as a wide open, all night black-and-tan, allegedly controlled by the Capone syndicate. Variety, reflecting continued reform pressures, emphasized the prevalence of "undesirable characters" at the Plantation Cafe, inside and out; it said that "white women" were not safe in the club, due presumably to gangsters, since most of the blacks were out in the street selling pints of gin (asking price $3) and "bonded" bourbon (asking $8).
The club hired Percy Venable, one of the two leading black floor show directors, to design and stage its floor shows; and Glaser consistently featured black bands—those of Art Sims, Sammy Stewart, and Carroll Dickerson among them—and helped Louis Armstrong further his career as an entertainer of white audiences. The Sunset, later the New Grand Terrace, was the most widely known black-and-tan to which crowds of slumming whites ventured when the uptown theaters closed. *2 The second leading white-owned black-and-tan cabaret on Chicago's South Side was the Plantation Cafe, located at 338 East 35th Street near Calumet Avenue, diagonally across the street from the Sunset Cafe.
The New Orleans Jazz Band hits the rail[s] all the time at a high rate of speed ... " In 1919, Bottoms hired Joseph "King" Oliver and his band away from the DeLuxe Cafe. ^s Bottoms enjoyed the sort of admiration and neighborhood support which the ghetto community had extended to Robert Motts and Teenan Jones. Although Bottoms is nowhere mentioned as a leading politician, he may have used his club the way Motts and Jones used theirs. But whenever any black entertainment entrepreneur invested his money on the South Side, hired neighborhood men and women to work in his establishment, and featured black entertainers on a regular basis, he championed the racial ambitions of South Side Chicago even when many of his customers were white.
Chicago Jazz: A Cultural History, 1904-1930 by William Howland Kenney