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
Defrocked priest and poet Lorenzo Da Ponte wrote the words for Mozart’s three celebrated operas Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro, and Così fan tutte. As the librettist’s ultimate challenge is creating character whilst thinking music, few could match Lorenzo’s achievement. [Read more…] about A Rascal in Venice, Hero in Vienna, Opera Buff in Manhattan
The Lake Placid Sinfonietta’s Education Committee with support from the Glenn and Carol Pearsall Adirondack Foundation have released four short, informative music education videos, available to all area music educators. [Read more…] about Lake Placid Sinfonietta Releases Short Music Ed Videos
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
Twenty pianists at ten pianos performed a program of four-hand duet pieces. In the history of musical entertainment, the tradition was raised to a new level after the end of Civil War in America. [Read more…] about Showmanship: The Master of Brass Meets The King of Waltz
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
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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
Although much remains unclear about the origins of Cockney rhyming slang, there is a consensus that it stems from London’s East End, dates back to the 1840s, and is alive and thriving. One slang expression reads “on one’s tod,” meaning: on one’s own; all alone. The phrase is a shortened version of the original “on one’s Tod Sloan.”
In full, these four words offer a multi-colored mosaic of socio-cultural events involving Manhattan, London, and Paris. [Read more…] about Slang, Stirrups, Paris in the 20s, and the Invention of the Bloody Mary
Since the saxophone was invented and patented by a young man from French-speaking Dinant, in Belgium’s Walloon Region, American musicians have paid credit to the instrument by producing memorable performances which include John Coltrane’s “Love Supreme,” Dino Soldo’s smooth jazz solos, or Clarence Clemons’s relentless drive.
Over time, the sax has found its way into almost every genre of music with one exception. The saxophone is not part of the orchestral repertoire. It was and remains a rogue instrument. [Read more…] about The Saxophone: Born In Belgium, Raised In The USA