By Christopher Wilkinson
The coal fields of West Virginia would appear an not going marketplace for immense band jazz throughout the nice melancholy. filthy rich African American viewers ruled via these concerned with the coal was once there for jazz excursions would appear both inconceivable. Big Band Jazz in Black West Virginia, 1930-1942 indicates that, opposite to expectancies, black Mountaineers flocked to dances through the masses, sometimes touring significant distances to listen to bands led through count number Basie, Duke Ellington, Andy Kirk, Jimmie Lunceford, and Chick Webb, between a variety of others. certainly, as one musician who toured the nation could remember, "All the bands have been goin' to West Virginia."
The comparative prosperity of the coal miners, due to New Deal commercial rules, was once what attracted the bands to the nation. This research discusses that prosperity in addition to the bigger political setting that supplied black Mountaineers with a level of autonomy no longer skilled extra south. writer Christopher Wilkinson demonstrates the significance of radio and the black press either in introducing this song and in preserving black West Virginians modern with its most recent advancements. The e-book 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 most well-liked dancing to numerous tune, not only jazz. ultimately, the booklet exhibits bands now linked virtually solely with jazz have been greater than prepared to fulfill these viewers personal tastes with preparations in different sorts of dance music.
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Extra resources for Big Band Jazz in Black West Virginia, 1930-1942
Her work ensured that not all of that story was lost. Bruce Boyd Raeburn and the late Richard B. Allen of the William Ransom Hogan Jazz Archive of Tulane University also aided in my research. It was Dick Allen who drew my attention to the whereabouts of the professional diary maintained by Paul Barnes during the period of his performing in King Oliver’s dance band in the mid-1930s, and it was Bruce Raeburn who encouraged my research and provided access to that gig book following Allen’s death. I am grateful to Professor Alex Albright of East Carolina University for sharing information from Mose McQuitty’s route book concerning tent shows in the southern coalfields.
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. Contents Preface Introduction: Coal, Railroads, and the Establishment of African American Life in West Virginia PART ONE The Economic Foundation of Big Band Dance Music in the Mountain State CHAPTER ONE From the Coal Face to the Dance Floor: Black Miners as Patrons of Big Bands CHAPTER TWO Validating Herbert Hall’s Contention: Paul Barnes’s Gig Book PART TWO Big Bands in Black West Virginia: 1929–1935 CHAPTER THREE Newspapers and Radio Bring the World of the Big Bands to Black West Virginia CHAPTER FOUR Local and Territory Bands in the Emerging Culture of Big Band Jazz and Dance Music in the Mountain State CHAPTER FIVE Big Band Jazz Comes to the Mountain State: 1929–1933 CHAPTER SIX Comparative Prosperity Arrives, September 1933–April 1935 PART THREE West Virginia in the Swing Era, 1935–1942 CHAPTER SEVEN The Place of the Mountain State on the Road Traveled by the Big Bands CHAPTER EIGHT The Big Bands’ Audience in the Mountain State CHAPTER NINE The Dance Repertory Played in the Coal Fields CHAPTER TEN The Party Winds Down Notes Works Cited Index Preface Mention the state of West Virginia to many devotees of American music, and they would probably envision small ensembles of white musicians playing fiddles, guitars, banjos, and upright (that is, string) basses.
Over most of the field the strata are strong enough to provide stable roofs in the mines, so that the minimum of timbering is required.... And a major factor in their favor was the thickness of the seams. Through a large area the Pocahontas Number Three seam runs from six to twelve feet. (Lambie 1954, 40–41) The Role of Blacks in Building West Virginia’s Industrial Infrastructure Before West Virginia’s coal could impress consumers with its extraordinary quality, it had to be shipped out of the state to the ports and industries of the Eastern Seaboard and to the steel mills and factories of the Midwest.
Big Band Jazz in Black West Virginia, 1930-1942 by Christopher Wilkinson