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Old 08-24-2013, 01:02 AM   #21 (permalink)
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That is indeed a great info on Jazz and swing music..i really appreciate you posting it out here. Thanks for doing that.
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Old 08-28-2013, 11:43 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Great thread Lord L. Really cool to see Lunceford mentioned. Can't wait until you get to the sixties, cheers.
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Old 09-03-2013, 05:40 PM   #23 (permalink)
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One of the first jazz big bands to form outside New York was in Detroit during the Paradise Valley days. This band was McKinney’s Cotton Pickers. They were formed in Ohio by drummer William McKinney as the Synco Septet in 1922. Four years later, they were in Detroit where McKinney expanded the band to 10 pieces and brought in a new drummer, Cuba Austin, so he could concentrate on managing the band. As McKinney’s Cotton Pickers, they were signed to Victor (to become RCA-Victor in 1929) and were very popular from 1927 through 1931. McKinney envisioned his band rivaling anything in New York but to achieve this, he knew he would have to get someone from New York to train up the band so he contacted Don Redman. Redman gladly came to Detroit and began writing the band’s arrangements with the help of the band’s brilliant trumpeter, John Nesbitt. Redman also played sax and clarinet in the band as well as singing some of the numbers. In addition to Redman, Austin and Nesbitt, the other members were Prince Robinson, George Thomas, Dave Wilborn, Todd Rhodes, Ralph Escudero, Claude Jones, Milton Senior and Langston Curl.

When Redman took over the band, there was an influx of impressive New York jazzmen joining the band in Detroit including Benny Carter, James P. Johnson (pianist who wrote “Charleston”), Fats Waller, Coleman Hawkins, Sydney de Paris, Quentin Jackson, Doc Cheatham, Rex Stewart and many others. The Cotton Pickers are largely the reason there was a Paradise Valley in Detroit with one jazz club after another lined along Hastings Street. The king of the Detroit jazz clubs was the Paradise Theatre. Every black jazz and blues talent either lived in Detroit or spent great amounts of time there. The Gotham Hotel was the favorite spot for this talent. Sammy Davis, Jr. used to rent out an entire floor when he came through. Duke Ellington spent a great deal of his off-time in Detroit and always stayed in the same room at the Gotham. The switchboard operator of the hotel was Marla Gibbs later known as Florence the maid on the TV series The Jeffersons. Gibbs’ father, Chester Rentie, was the honorary mayor of Paradise Valley. B. B. King married in Detroit and Charlie Parker’s wife was from Inkster, a suburb just outside Detroit. Bluesman John Lee Hooker moved to Detroit and started his recording career there in the late 40s. Paradise Valley gave birth to Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, the oldest operating jazz club in the world which is still going.

McKinney’s Cotton Pickers from a 1930 recording on RCA-Victor:

McKinney's Cotton Pickers "BABY WON'T YOU PLEASE COME HOME" (1930) - YouTube

Another Redman-Nesbitt arrangement from 1928:

McKinney's Cotton Pickers(USA)It's a precious thing called love..1928 - YouTube

Redman stayed with the band until 1931 and then Benny Carter took over as arranger. The Depression hit Detroit harder than anywhere else in the country (Detroit was, in fact, known as “the epicenter of the Depression”) and the orchestra was hard put to survive. By 1934, McKinney’s Cotton Pickers were no more (another source states that they stayed together until 1945). There was also a band called the Chocolate Dandies who used many of the same personnel as McKinney’s band but they were strictly a studio band and never toured. Again, Redman did their original arrangements but was then taken over by Benny Carter. The Dandies recorded in New York.


The Chocolate Dandies - Star Dust - New York, 13.10. 1928 - YouTube

A new McKinney’s orchestra was formed in the 1970s that used Redman’s original arrangements. While the Cotton Pickers did not have the arsenal of soloists found in Fletcher Henderson’s orchestra, their numbers demonstrated the prowess of Don Redman and Benny Carter as arrangers. We are fortunate to have their recordings because they represented a regional band that existed in every part of the United States at that time but most of whom evaporated without a trace after the Depression. Only those that had recording contracts with major labels have left something behind for posterity. The Cotton Pickers are one of those very few bands.

Pianist Todd Rhodes would go onto found Todd Rhodes and His Toddlers in the Detroit area. Rhodes also gave us bassist James Jamerson who played bass on 95% of the Detroit-era Motown hits as one of the Funk Brothers and whose bass playing was a huge influence on Paul McCartney, Jack Bruce, Victor Wooten, Flea and others (Jamerson continued to play in a small combo with Rhodes even after becoming a Funk Brother). Rhodes and the Toddlers also gave us “Blues for the Red Boy” in 1949, recognized as an early rock and roll classic and which Alan Freed used as the theme music for his legendary Moon Dog rock and roll radio program. Rhodes worked with Detroit rocker Hank “The Twist” Ballard and made the career of Chicago blues singer LaVern Baker when she moved to Detroit to front the band. Although Rhodes brought up a number of musicians heard on Motown recordings, he never appeared on a Motown song himself (contrary to some assertions) and died in 1965.


Todd Rhodes - Blues For The Red Boy - YouTube
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Old 09-03-2013, 05:50 PM   #24 (permalink)
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After the Depression, swing underwent the changes that most people today recognize as swing music. This was due in no small part to the role played by white bands that are not as well known today as they should be. These bands pushed the envelope among the white audience before Goodman arrived on the scene.

Jean Goldkette was an example. Born in France in 1893 but spending his childhood in both Greece and Russia, John Jean Goldkette emigrated to the U.S. in 1911. Although a classical pianist, Goldkette usually didn’t actually play in his own band preferring to be behind the scenes. He put together some of the greatest jazz musicians of his time in one band including Bix Beiderbecke, Frankie Trumbauer, Eddie Lang, Joe Venuti, Pee Wee Russell, Hoagy Carmichael, Miff Mole, Red Nichols, the Dorseys and arranger Bill Challis. Vocals by the Keller Sisters & Lynch. When Goldkette’s band took up residence in Detroit in the early 20s—in Paradise Valley—he never left and signed a contract with Victor. Fletcher Henderson’s/McKinney’s Cotton Picker trumpeter, Rex Stewart, wrote that Goldkette put together “the first original white swing band in history.” He further wrote of Henderson’s band going up against Goldkette’s: “The facts were that we simply could not compete with Jean Goldkette’s Victor Recording Orchestra. Their arrangements were too imaginative, their rhythm too strong.”

Being in Detroit, Goldkette, in fact, had a hand in helping to organize McKinney’s Cotton Pickers. He was also musical director of the Detroit Athletic Club for over two decades and co-owned the Graystone Ballroom (which I’ve been to many times). He recorded mostly in Detroit and operated out of the Book-Cadillac Hotel (still standing).


The Book-Cadillac Hotel as it looks today showing the Book Tower on the left.


The Jean Goldkette Orchestra


Jean Goldkette


Jean Goldkette - Proud Of A Baby Like You, 1927 - YouTube
The Goldkette band featuring Bix Beiderbecke on trumpet.

In 1927, Goldkette formed the Orange Blossoms in Detroit. In 1929, the Orange Blossoms reformed as a cooperative and elected a bandleader which turned out to be the tall, handsome alto sax player in the band—Glen Gray Knoblauch who simply went by the name of Glen Gray. In October or 1929, the band was ready to record and changed their name to the Casa Loma Orchestra. Their focus was on hot jazz due to the arrangements written by Gene Gifford, the band’s banjoist.


The Casa Loma Orchestra - Dust (1930) - YouTube

The band’s signature number was “The Casa Loma Stomp” which they recorded a number of times for different labels as Victor, Brunswick and Decca. A nice, frenetic swing number with some good bass slapping. The pace of this number was one not many white jazz bands at the time dared to attempt although black bands as the Lunceford orchestra were making a name for themselves with these “flag-wavers.”


The Casa Loma Stomp (Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orch.) - YouTube

Casa Loma was a hard act for any other band to follow. They were well trained, never got of out sync no matter how fast they went, were never out of tune and allowed much longer solos by certain members than any other band, e.g. baritone sax man Clarence Hutchenrider’s 68-bar solo on “I Got Rhythm.”


78rpm: I Got Rhythm - Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra, 1933 - Brunswick 6800 - YouTube

This was all before Goodman’s gig at the Palomar. While Fletcher Henderson was a major influence on Goodman, so was Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra. Goodman was enthralled by the talent of this band out of Detroit so little known today (unless you listen to “40s-on-4” on Sirius/XM radio, then you’ll hear them quite a bit).

Casa Loma offered a modern, updated style of jazz that truly rebelled against white people’s notions of what jazz and white jazz musicians should sound like. Still other early big bands got back to the music’s New Orleans roots. One of these bands was Ben Pollack’s. The Chicago-born self-taught drummer got his start in the New Orleans Rhythm Kings (NORK), a traditional jazz outfit in the early twenties. I can’t find any evidence that he actually played in NORK (he may have sat in) but the band did contain another future early swing bandleader, sax man Jack Pettis. In 1924, Pollack was on the West Coast jamming with an array of musicians. The ones he liked he organized into a band in 1925 and what a band!


Ben Pollack & His Park Central Orchestra in 1926 featuring Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman on the far left. Next to Goodman stands Gil Rodin later to become an executive for MCA. Pollack stands in the center. Harry Goodman stands third from the right.
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Old 09-03-2013, 05:57 PM   #25 (permalink)
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In 1928, Pollack decided to hire in a new drummer so he could focus on his duties as bandleader and brought in the legendary Ray Beauduc. That same year, Pollack also recruited trumpeter Jimmy McPartland of the Austin High Gang and trombonist Jack Teagarden. Needless to say, that was one hell of a lineup.


Louise - Ben Pollack And His Park Central Orchestra (Victor) - YouTube


78rpm: Bashful Baby - Ben Pollack and his Park Central Orchestra, 1929 - Victor Scroll 22074 - YouTube

After the Depression struck, the band had trouble finding work. McPartland and Goodman left first and then Teagarden left in 1933. Miller had quite a lot of extra work most notably with the Dorsey Brothers so his departure was inevitable. Shortly after Teagarden left, the band fell apart from lack of gigs. The core of the band formed a cooperative and who handed over the reins to Bob Crosby and became Bob Crosby & His Bobcats. This stuff was definitely swing. Below, the band performs a song by bassist Bob Haggart who was also the arranger for both Crosby and Pollack. Ray Bauduc is on the drums. Although Bob Crosby neither looks nor sings like his more famous brother, Bing, he was still a competent bandleader who deserved more from posterity than he has gotten. In fact, this is a magnificent clip:


Bob Crosby - Big Noise Blew In From Winnetka - YouTube

Here, the band gets a little closer to its Dixieland/New Orleans roots but it’s still swing:


Bob Crosby -- Charleston (VintageMusic.es) - YouTube

This will have to do for the early Swing Era. We still have plenty more to cover which we will do in Part 2 (yes, we're still in Part 1).
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:40 PM   #26 (permalink)
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I hope you took the time to study the hepcat jive little dictionary I posted. It was by no means exhaustive but it gives a decent overview and an important one into the jazz mentality.

Hepcat jive appears to have originated in Harlem but has its roots in slavery. When the slaves didn’t want the white people around them to know what they were saying, they switched to a coded lingo or patois. This patois became an argot known as jive which is an alternate name for jazz (e.g. “jive swing”). It was a mixture of black slang, musician-speak, Over time, the coded phrases lost their meaning and jive just became another word for bulls-hit. “Man, don’t jive me!” “Cut out with all that jive, man!” Just ways of saying, “Stop talking nonsense.” “Jive”, in turn, became itself a code word for marijuana.

In Harlem during the height of the jazz phenomenon, the hipsters and jazz cats spoke an almost foreign language:

“Say, dads, lay me out a mezzroll, you know I’m righteous!”

“Ain’t yo T-man, Jeff. Go find Mezz.”

In the above exchange, the first person was asking for a marijuana cigarette or a “mezzroll.” In Harlem, there was once a 2nd-rate jazz musician named Mezz Mezzrow who, although a white Jew, considered himself an honorary black. He lived in a black area, married a black woman and hung out with the bruthas. He played clarinet but wasn’t that good. What he could do that put him the company of the best jazz musicians in Harlem was grow and sell his own marijuana that could damn near blow your head off. Without a doubt, it was the best s-hit out there. If you sold pot (i.e. if you are a T-man), your product was inevitably compared with Mezz’s. His stuff was so special that a joint of had its own name—a mezzroll. He sold his stuff only to other jazz musicians. It was not at all uncommon in those days to hear a T-man tell a customer, “This s-hit here ain’t as good as Mezz but it’s pretty close.” If you heard that then you knew Mezz was in short supply or no one would waste two seconds buying anything else if they could get real Mezz. Saying that you are righteous means that you are good for it. “You can slip him some scratch, man, he’s righteous” means you can lend him money, he’ll pay you back. A “Jeff” is a square, the opposite of a hepcat. So the second dude was telling the first, “I’m not selling any of my mezz pot to a square (and therefore untrustworthy) jerk like you. You want some, go talk to Mezz.” By the way, Cab Calloway’s 1932 number “The Man From Harlem” is about Mezzrow and contains the line, “let’s light up on this weed right here and we’ll get high and forget about everything!”

Indeed, the hepcat jive was fueled by marijuana which was declared illegal in the United States in 1937. Back then, getting caught with pot was a serious offense. Possession of a single joint would get you prison time (this continued through the 60s). So the coded language came in handy and it was constantly changing to thwart the cops who would get hip to the words and phrases. That’s why there are so many different words for marijuana—pot, gage, boo, grass, reefer, joint, roach, tea, etcetera—which is the sacrament of jazz. There are even rumors of serious marijuana jazz cults in Harlem (not so outlandish since marijuana is a sacrament of the Ethiopian Church which constantly gets its monks in trouble with the law enforcement in that country).


Buck Washington - Save The Roach For Me - YouTube

But pot was present in other forms of music back then. I know an old man who played in country and hillbilly bands in 40s and he said they smoked pot in all kinds of ways. One that I’d never heard of before was that they’d put a bunch of pot in a bucket, ignite it, cover the bucket with a blanket and then get under the blanket and start inhaling like mad. The jive and the pot carried over through blues and into rock and roll quite effortlessly.


The Five Keys - Ling Ting Tong - YouTube

Much of the jive is part of our everyday language and yet much it is still quite esoteric. But the fact that we use so much of the jive in our daily conversation demonstrates how thoroughly American society has been “jazzercised.” While the jive developed among the black jazz musicians, the cool white folks were hip to it and both spoke and understood it. Among many young whites, it was a badge of honor to be able to converse in jive. In the clip below featuring singer Ella Mae Morse and pianist Freddie Slack (both white) from 1945 about a jazz/blues club in Detroit, they engage in a bit of hepcat banter and it’s a bit hard to “get a handle on” (that’s hepcat jive too). The lyrics throughout are all jive.


ELLA MAE MORSE ~ HOUSE OF BLUE LIGHTS ~ 1945 - YouTube

The songs of Johnny Mercer often contained jive that sounds fairly comprehensive to us today because we are so used to it but was quite puzzling to the squares of the 40s and 50s. His lyrics to the jazz classic “Satin Doll” run:

Cigarette holder
Which wigs me
Over her shoulder
She digs me
Out cattin’
Some satin doll

Baby, shall we go
Out skippin’
Careful amigo
You’re flippin’
Speaks Latin
That satin doll

Here the line “Speaks Latin” is code for the jive. She speaks jive—she’s a hepcat.

The great sax man, Eric Dolphy, wrote a piece called “Miss Ann” which was published in 1962, just two years before Dolphy’s untimely death at the ripe old age of 36. While he might have written the number for someone named Ann, in black-American parlance, a Miss Ann is a white woman who looks down her nose at black people. I don’t know how prevalent this term is today but the first time I saw a chart for it (from The Real Book p. 274), it jumped out at me.

Ultimately, an argot exists for a people to mark themselves off from the rest of society. The hippies of the 60s did just that by copping the jive of jazz pretty much lock, stock and barrel. Rap has too. Kids today think the term “homey” is new. So who are the ones who are really out of touch? Although jazz is often seen as dinner jacket music today, it was music on the outer edges of society. Indeed in many ancient cultures, musicians were fringe figures, people barely reputable. Anyone who has ever busked on a street corner knows the truth of this. There the musician rubs elbows with both ordinary people out and about their business as well as bums and prostitutes. The musician partakes a bit of both worlds. Jazz was the original American music of rebellion. And rebel it did.

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Old 09-08-2013, 12:05 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Swing in Nazi Germany

Towards the end of World War I in 1918, the constitution of the Deutsches Reich or German Empire was “reformed” in October. On the 29th of that month, a rebellion broke out in the northern city of Kiel led by sailors, soldiers and workers. The rebellion spread and became a full-blown revolution in which the participants split into various councils modeled on the Bolsheviks and their successful revolution in Russia in 1917 that resulted in the formation of the Soviet Union (from the Russian word “sovet” or council). There was little violence and no one was killed. The German revolutionaries called themselves social democrats. There were two main factions of social democrats—the USPD that wanted to make peace immediately and control Germany’s industries in the socialist fashion (essentially state-owned rather than private) and the SPD that favored continuing the war effort and instituting a parliamentary system of government. The German Revolution, as it is now known, caused consternation under the supporters of the old monarchy, namely the aristocrats and the middle class. Was Germany to be taken over forcibly by communism?

The answer came on November 7, when the Revolution entered Munich and resulted in King Ludwig III fleeing Bavaria. Two days later, the German Republic was proclaimed by a joint coalition of USPD and SPD leaders. On November 11, Germany, paralyzed by lack of international support, the joining of America and its vast industries into the war on the side of the Allies, a naval blockade and a severe shortage vital resources, agreed to an armistice with the allies under which Germany would not be put upon to make concessions.

In 1919, a national assembly was convened in the city of Weimar and a new constitution written for the Deutsches Reich. It was adopted on August 11 and the Weimar Republic was born. It would last only 14 years but manage to reform currency and tax laws, institute a railway system and manipulate the Treaty of Versailles by getting its reparation payments reduced through the Dawes Act (Named after General Charles Dawes, a bank president and amateur musician who, in 1911, had published an instrumental piece called “Melody in A Major.” Dawes went onto become Vice-President of the United States in the Coolidge Administration and was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1926. Upon Dawes’ death in 1951, bandleader and composer Carl Sigman wrote lyrics for “Melody in A Major” and a recording was released that year that saw some success. Seven years later, Sigman reformatted it as a rock n roll song and had Tommy Edwards sing it. The resulting recording immediately shot to #1 in September of 1958 under the title “It’s All in the Game.”).

Unfortunately, the Weimar Republic years were also plagued by hyperinflation and wars between various paramilitary organizations from the left and right including the newly formed National Socialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP who would be more infamously known to the world as the Nazis. But culturally, the Weimar Republic imported American jazz as well as American and British movies which the younger Germans fell in love with. There was also a great deal of decadence during those years and brothels, strip joints and sex clubs of every type sprang up all over Germany but especially in Berlin and Hamburg (whose Reeperbahn sex district still exists which I visited in the 1980s while I was in the service and all I can say is that there is nothing like it in the U.S.). Black entertainers were popular at the clubs.

There was a small black population living in Germany. A very few were American, most were either from Africa or were fathered by men from Africa. Interracial marriages had been legalized in German in 1890 (but illegal in the United States since the 1850s).



French colonial soldiers from Africa were sent by the French government to occupy the Rhineland after World War I. These soldiers proved popular with the Germans as they were more courteous and well behaved than the French soldiers who were tired of the war and angry at their German neighbors. Some of these French colonial soldiers married German women. The resulting half-black children presented a problem for the Germans, many of whom did not like the idea of these people having German citizenship and being allowed to run for office, vote or join the military. About 400-600 half-black children were born from these marriages and were dubbed “the Rhineland bastards.” In all, about 20,000-25,000 blacks lived in Germany. In a very few cases, white Germans acknowledged them as family—something most white Americans have yet to do.



While thousands of blacks lived in Nazi Germany where life for them was not easy, they were not herded into the death camps nor under any mass extermination order. In fact, Joseph Goebbels, minister of propaganda, found them useful to portray the Nazis’ tolerance of others they deemed inferior. Most blacks tried to become part of a traveling show called “Afrika Schau” run by a woman whose mother was Liberian. She was married to a white German man. Although Afrika Schau was demeaning to blacks, it was a means of survival during the Nazi years. But certainly not all 20,000-25,000 blacks in Germany could be in the show and lighter-skinned blacks were barred from it altogether as they did not resemble the stereotypical idea of black Africans that the average German expected.

At the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, crowds adored Jesse Owens, a Black-American athlete, after watching him consistently beat the best German athletes in the running events. The story that he was snubbed by Hitler is not true. Hitler had been congratulating the German athletes who won medals (the Germans, in fact, did very well in those games) but was told by the IOC that he must congratulate all athletes or none. Hitler was not about to congratulate all of them and could not had he wanted to so by the time Owens won his events, Hitler was no longer congratulating any athletes. But Owens insisted throughout his life that he loved the German crowds at Berlin who cheered him wildly. Such a thing never had happened to him in the U.S. Owens also stated that after he won one of his medals, he passed closed to the box where Hitler was seated and Hitler waved at him and he waved back. Even Hitler had enough decorum to acknowledge the man of the hour.

After returning to the States, however, Owens was almost all but ignored except by blacks who rightfully regarded him as a hero. White-Americans could not have cared less about him. He was offered no endorsements, no movie roles, no book deals. The only money he received was when someone threw a bag containing $10,000 into a car he was riding in during a parade. He, in fact, ended up declaring bankruptcy and was successfully prosecuted for tax evasion. While in Germany, Owens stayed in the same swanky hotels that the German athletes stayed in and given the same treatment. Back in the States, in spite of his victories on the behalf of the U.S., he still was only allowed to stay in “colored” establishments. Owens had to make a living however he could and worked as a sportswriter for a time, at a dry cleaner, as a gas station attendant and a jazz music DJ. As publicity stunts he would outrun racehorses to win bets. He stated, “People say that it was degrading for an Olympic champion to run against a horse, but what was I supposed to do? I had four gold medals, but you can’t eat four gold medals.” While Hitler sent Owens an inscribed photograph of himself after the games were over, Franklin Roosevelt ignored him as did his successor, Harry Truman (“Hitler didn’t snub me – it was FDR who snubbed me. The president didn’t even send me a telegram.”). Not until Eisenhower would Owens receive any recognition from a president for his achievements and the classy way he represented his country in Nazi Germany.

When German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl was commissioned to make a documentary of the games, she included footage of Owens winning his medals. Goebbels argued that the footage should be removed as it made Germany look bad. Riefenstahl replied that removing the footage would be precisely the thing that would make Germany look bad. Owens won fair and square and it would reflect favorably upon Germany not to shy away from it. The decision was sent to Hitler who never ruled against Riefenstahl over anything (she was the only person in the Third Reich that Hitler would see without an appointment). He said to keep the footage in.

Hitler, however, shrugged off Owens’ victories to Albert Speer as a fact that the Negro physique was superior in running abilities. He railed against the Rhineland Bastards in Mein Kampf and perhaps for this reason, the Nazis sterilized about 400 of them. This was done without their knowledge. The fate of Nazi Germany’s black population remains largely a mystery. Even most Germans did not know blacks actually lived in Germany under the Nazis. There are so few records available that the fates of most of them remain to this day unknown (as a parallel, the number of missing black children in the United States to date is astonishing—upwards of 800,000 in the last five years have vanished without a trace with virtually no mention of it in the media). Some black Germans were known to have ended up in the camps but they were not imprisoned en masse.




Hans Massaquoi applied for membership in the Hitler Youth but was denied.



So Black-American and British culture had made headway into Germany during the Weimar Republic years. Indeed, many Germans loved jazz and ragtime as well as American and British movies when they were available. The younger Germans enjoyed their freedoms and leisure time which they often spent listening to jazz music from America. When the national socialists took power in 1933 with the election of Hitler to the office of chancellor, the Weimar Republic came to an end and the Third Reich began.
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Old 09-08-2013, 12:12 PM   #28 (permalink)
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The national socialists stressed nationalism, racial purity and a rejection of foreign and especially Jewish influences. They also placed a premium on physical fitness, mental soundness and the desirability of Aryan/Nordic physical characteristics. They also stressed order and cleanliness and felt that the best way to instill these values into the German psyche was to start with the youth. The aesthetic vision of the Nazis was of paramount importance in understanding them. The art of the Nazis was both realist and idealist—a type called “blood and soil.”



They detested anything else referring to it as “entartete kunst” or degenerate art. Dadaist or cubist art, for example, was degenerate and a product of madness that glorified physical deformity. Worse, it was all a plot by the Jews to pervert and ultimately destroy true Aryan culture. The Hitler Jungen or Hitler Youth was Nazi Germany’s answer to the Boy Scouts. The youth learned to live ordered, regimented lives consisting of everything from hiking to games requiring physical stamina to art to schoolwork. Conformity was mandatory and instilled through the wearing of uniforms, drilling and marching to martial-type music.

While many German youths were swept up in the national socialist ideal, many were not and, in fact, detested it. Typical of teens, they wanted their independence and felt a need to rebel against societal norms. There were gangs of working class kids called Meuten, a group called Edelweisspiraten who consciously rejected the norms of Hitler Youth and the more affluent youth who detested the martial and völkisch music the Hitler Youth played and marched to. They loved American jazz, particularly swing, called themselves swingjugend or swing youth but are also known as Swing Kids (and mostly occupied the 14-18 age demographic).

The swing kids marked themselves off from the rest of society by wearing their hair longer than German boys wore it, girls wore their hair long without braids which were considered proper in German society. They dressed in their type of zoot suits: Boys wore long coats with a Union Jack pin and homburg hats (very popular in Britain), carried umbrellas, wore two-tone or checkered shoes with crepe souls, an ornate scarf, an expensive button-down dress shirt with a semi-precious stone. Girls wore the dresses popular among British girls who danced to swing and applied a lot of makeup—deliberately more than German society generally approved of. The swingjugend learned all the swing dances such as the jitterbug and the lindy-hop. They hung out at clubs even though most were underage. If they couldn’t get into the clubs, they held loud swing parties. They were also fond of giving the nazi salute and yelling “Swingheil!” as a taunt to national socialists.



The Nazis hated jazz which they dubbed entarete musik or negermusik which they saw as a product of both Negroes and Jews—the blacks invented it and the Jewish label-owners and jazz club owners promoted it not to mention that the King of Swing was also a Jew.





As jazz was outlawed in Germany, the swingjugend took great pleasure in illicitly procuring swing records even getting record storeowners to order them in if they promised to buy them. Some got hold of short wave radios and tuned into Allied broadcasts of swing. Among the swing youth, there was great prestige in owning the records and they were treated like priceless treasures.

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Old 09-08-2013, 12:16 PM   #29 (permalink)
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But the Nazis had various tricks up their sleeves. While swing music was outlawed in Germany starting in 1935, the Nazis began to make their own swing music. The following clip is National Socialist swing by Charlie & His Orchestra.


Charlie and his Orchestra (Mr. Goebbels Jazz Band) - Bei mir bist Du schön - YouTube


Charlie & his Orchestra - Elmer's Tune (German Submarines) - YouTube

Charlie & His Orchestra was really Lutz Templin mit seinem Tanz-Orchester (a.k.a. Bruno & His Swinging Tigers). “Charlie” was really singer Karl Schwedler. When jazz was forced underground in Germany, Templin and his drummer, Fritz Bocksieper snapped up the best jazz talent they could find in Berlin and set about finding ways to slip under the radar. They did this by performing their jazz with pro-German lyrics. It was better than being shut down. They also occasionally utilized harpsichords instead of pianos to take the edge off the black sound of the boogie-woogie rhythms. Basically, they were trying to Germanize jazz over two decades before prog rock would Europeanize rock and roll.


Lutz Templin - ( 2 / 2 ) Für ein süßes Mädel - YouTube

When news of the band reached Goebbels, he saw them as a great opportunity to broadcast Nazi propaganda to the Allies and had the band absorbed into the Reichsministerium. Schwedler was allowed to travel to neutral countries to gather up jazz and popular dance music records and sheet music to bring back to Berlin for the band’s use. From March 1941 to February 1943, Charlie & His Orchestra made 90 recordings of swing covers with lyrics redone to reflect pro-Nazi and anti-communist propaganda under the auspices of Joseph Goebbels and the Propagandaministerium that provided the band their lyrics.

As one can hear, the music is beautifully arranged and performed. The arrangers were Templin, trombonist Willy Berking and Franz Mück. The recordings were broadcast over the radio every Wednesday and Saturday at 9 p.m. The recordings were distributed to POW camps and occupied countries on 78 rpm discs. When Allied bombing knocked out Berlin’s broadcast capabilities, the band was moved to Stuttgart to broadcast on the Reichssender Stuttgart station. When that too fell silent from Allied bombs, the band performed on international shortwave. Over a quarter of the British heard the broadcasts and even Churchill was said to be a faithful fan of the band. The band members were not really Nazis but joining the Reich Ministry was a way to survive. When not performing for the Nazis, the band continued playing at underground venues.

In January 1942, Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, wrote to Reinhard Heydrich, head of the SD, concerning the swingjugend, that “the whole evil must be radically exterminated now.” He wanted the “ringleaders” arrested and put into camps “to be re-educated.” He also wanted sentences extended to “2-3 years” saying that it was “only through the utmost brutality” that Germany would get these people under control and save the country from ruination. As a result, the swing clubs were raided and the swingjugend beaten, arrested and carted off to the camps.

After the war, Lutz Templin helped to found ARD, the second largest public broadcasting network in the world after the BBC. Karl Schwedler was said to have emigrated to the United States in 1960. For all its bravado, the Nazi Thousand-Year Reich lasted only 12 years, two years less than the Weimar Republic it hated so much. Many of the swingjugend were imprisoned in camps through much of the war, some were sentenced to death for their ties to the White Rose resistance even though none had actually worked for any resistance organizations (the war ended before any were executed), still others were forced onto the frontlines of the war and died in battle. But many swing youth survived the war and the camps to see justice meted out in Nuremburg.
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Old 09-18-2013, 12:36 PM   #30 (permalink)
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[QUOTE]But jazz was everywhere in America because its disciples traveled around spreading the jazz gospel. Kid Ory went to San Francisco. Morton, Armstrong, Oliver, Keppard and others went to Chicago. Earl Fuller, James Reese Europe and Fletcher Henderson kicked off a vibrant jazz scene in New York City. W. C. Handy was playing around Memphis having spent a good deal of time in New Orleans recruiting musicians for his band. Don Redman in Detroit/QUOTE]

One detail about the original spread of Jazz: Those we would call the originators of this new music called jazz didn't exactly pack up of their things and leave New Orleans out of the mere goodness of their hearts to "spread the gospel of jazz". This might be what is written in history textbooks but the truth isn't quite as rosy. The truth is that on November 12, 1917, Secretary of War Newton D. Baker issued and order forbidding open prostitution within five miles of an army cantonment, this essentially outlawed New Orleans red-light district which honestly was the source of most jazz musicians business at the time. These musicians were forced to travel up the Mississippi and look for work elsewhere, and it's no surprise they ended up in other urban areas along the river: Chicago, New York and Kansas City.
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