Baker had started her career as a young dancer in Vaudeville shows where her exuberant talent was quickly spotted. When she moved to New York City she joined in the festival of black life and art now known as the Harlem Renaissance, but segregation and racism drove her away from home. [Read more…] about The Cabaret Trail: 1920s Urban Nightlife in New York, Paris & London
One of the effects of colonial expansion in the nineteenth century was that museums stopped being exclusively Euro-centered. The mapping of the annexed world was a responsibility of colonial governments which employed scholars to carry out the tasks of collecting and recording. Curators changed their collecting focus.
Works of art from Africa and Pacific Oceania that were looted, stolen or cheaply acquired without concern about provenance, found their way from British, French, Dutch, and Belgian colonial territories to the museums and curiosity shops of Paris, London, Amsterdam, and Brussels. [Read more…] about The Cake Walk, Prohibition & John Philip Sousa: Ragtime Wild Paris
The John and Alice Coltrane Home in the Dix Hills neighborhood of Huntington, on Long Island, NY, was awarded a million dollar grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the preservation of the house, enhance organizational capacity, and expand programmatic offerings.
The multi-year grant is expected to be used to support rehabilitation of the home where great works of twentieth-century music were created, and to hire a full-time executive director to lead the project. The home is where jazz saxophonist John Coltrane lived from 1964 until his death in 1967 and in which he composed A Love Supreme. [Read more…] about Historic John Coltrane Home Gets $1M Grant
On November 11th, 1919, the first anniversary was celebrated of the Armistice that ended the First World War. For the occasion, a grand ball was held at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Top of the bill was the hugely popular Southern Syncopated Orchestra, one of the first jazz bands to visit Britain, Scotland, and Ireland. [Read more…] about Anxiety Over Jazz In Ireland Followed A Tragic Shipwreck
On April 6th 1917 America declared war against Germany. It was the first time in the nation’s history that the United States sent soldiers abroad to defend foreign soil. In May 1917, General John Joseph “Black Jack” Pershing was designated Supreme Commander of the troops in France. He assembled the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in July 1917 and its involvement on the battlefield tipped the balance in favor of Allied Forces towards the middle of 1918. [Read more…] about ‘Black Devils’ At War In Europe & At Home
When Paris first heard American jazz, it is – from our perspective – impossible to make sense of the cultural thunderbolt that must have hit audiences. This music was so wholly different to European ears that it was either scornfully rejected or eagerly accepted. [Read more…] about Harlem & The Hellfighter Band That Set France Jazz Mad
Throughout the nineteenth century, prostitution was rife in American cities. In 1820 there were an estimated two hundred brothels in New York, growing to more than six hundred after the Civil War. By the early 1840s the city was the nation’s whoring capital, its own Gomorrah.
Most houses of assignation before the Civil War were owned and controlled by women. Some madams made spectacular careers, nobody more so than Fanny White whose Mercer Street brothel was, from 1851 onward, a meeting place for Congressmen, dignitaries and diplomats – a Manhattan whoreocracy. [Read more…] about Manhattan ‘Flash’ Culture: Madams and Sporting Men
The modern banjo derives from mid-1600 instruments that had been used in the Caribbean by enslaved people taken from West Africa. The original version was made from a hollowed-out (hard-skinned) gourd and a varying number of horsehair strings. [Read more…] about Banjo Pickers and Harlem-On-The-Seine
Chaja Rubinstein was born in December 1872 in a Krakow ghetto, the eldest of eight girls. Having escaped from an arranged Orthodox Jewish marriage, she would become a dominant personality in business circles in London, Paris, and New York. [Read more…] about Lipstick & Lady Chatterly: Modernism, Feminism, and Cosmetics
Book purchases made through this link support New York Almanack’s mission to report new publications relevant to New York State.
The new book Sittin’ In: Jazz Clubs of the 1940s and 1950s (Harper Design, 2020), by Grammy-winning historian, archivist, author, and record executive Jeff Gold offers a new look inside the jazz clubs from this era across the United States. Drawing on a trove of photos and memorabilia, Sittin’ In gives a glimpse at a world that was rich in culture, music, dining, fashion, and more. [Read more…] about New Book About 1940s-1950s Jazz Clubs