The Book Of Jazz - online reference book

Its Nature, Instruments, Sources, Sounds, Development & Performers

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A wave of vulgar, of filthy and suggestive music has inundated the land. Nothing but ragtime prevails. ... No seaside resort this summer has been without its ragtime orchestra, its weekly cakewalk . . .
Worse yet, the fashionable idle folk of Newport . . . have been the chief offenders. Society has decreed that ragtime and cakewalking are the thing, and one reads with amazement and disgust of historical and aristocratic names joining in this sex dance, for the cakewalk is nothing but an African dense du ventre, a milder edition of African orgies, and the music is degenerate music . . . Kagtime rhythm is nothing new, but its present usage and marriage to words of veiled lasciviousness should banish it from polite society.
—The Musical Courier, 1899
Jazz was not born in New Orleans.
Jazz is a social, not a racial music*
Jazz is written as well as improvised.
Jazz can be played in four-four time, waltz time or any other time.
These views run counter to the concepts of jazz established by most of the early experts. The tendency has been to localize the music in the sporting houses of New Orleans* Storyville, to Jim-Crow it as a form in which all white artists were interlopers and imitators, and to segregate it still further by labeling it as
•It was the segregated American Negro, not "the Negro/* who con­tributed most of its essential characteristics.