Big Band Jazz in Black West Virginia, 1930-1942 by Christopher Wilkinson

By Christopher Wilkinson

The coal fields of West Virginia would appear an not going marketplace for immense band jazz through the nice melancholy. wealthy African American viewers ruled by way of these concerned with the coal was once there for jazz excursions would appear both unbelievable. Big Band Jazz in Black West Virginia, 1930-1942 exhibits that, opposite to expectancies, black Mountaineers flocked to dances via the loads, oftentimes touring huge distances to listen to bands led by way of count number Basie, Duke Ellington, Andy Kirk, Jimmie Lunceford, and Chick Webb, between various others. certainly, as one musician who toured the nation might keep in mind, "All the bands have been goin' to West Virginia."

The comparative prosperity of the coal miners, due to New Deal business regulations, was once what attracted the bands to the nation. This learn discusses that prosperity in addition to the bigger political surroundings that supplied black Mountaineers with a level of autonomy now not skilled additional south. writer Christopher Wilkinson demonstrates the significance of radio and the black press either in introducing this tune and in holding black West Virginians brand new with its newest advancements. The booklet explores connections among neighborhood marketers who staged the dances and the nationwide administration of the bands that performed these engagements. In studying black audiences' aesthetic personal tastes, the writer finds that many black West Virginians hottest dancing to numerous tune, not only jazz. ultimately, the publication indicates bands now linked virtually solely with jazz have been greater than keen to fulfill these viewers personal tastes with preparations in different sorts of dance music.

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Extra info for Big Band Jazz in Black West Virginia, 1930-1942

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I wish to thank the readers of portions of this study as it was developing. Professor John Renton of the Department of Geology and Geography, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences at West Virginia University, ensured that my synopsis of the relevant geological history of the state was accurate. Charles K. Cannon, Professor Emeritus of English at Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, read a number of the early chapters and offered very useful comments on both argumentation and style. To the readers at work on behalf of the University Press of Mississippi I owe many thanks for their very useful and highly constructive criticism of the book.

A lifelong African American resident of Blue-field at the eastern edge of the Pocahontas coal field, Sam Bundy reported that while blacks living in his town gravitated to big band jazz and dance music, those living west of Bluefield in McDowell County favored the blues. 89, 8). Not only were there blues musicians among the residents of the Mountain State, they were to be found within the casts of minstrel, medicine, and vaudeville tent shows that regularly toured the coalfields. A “route book” maintained by a bass player named Mose McQuitty, a native of North Carolina, documents much of his career extending from 1896 to 1937.

Cm. — (American made music series) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-1-61703-168-7 (cloth) — ISBN 978-1-61703-169-4 (ebook) 1. Jazz—West Virginia—1931–1940—History and criticism. 2. African American coal miners—West Virginia— Social life and customs—20th century. I. Title. 65089’960730754—dc23 2011020889 British Library Cataloging-in-Publication Data available To Carroll Wetzel Wilkinson, Samuel Wilkinson, Bobbi Nesbitt, Alexis Wilkinson, Jack Wilkinson, and especially to the memory of my mother, Jule Porter Wilkinson Their patience and support made this book possible.

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