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Big Towns and Brass Bands 29
Orleans did a much more effective job than the people who were East, and it also seems that the whites were more aware of its value around New Orleans and they really did a job of promoting. There are evidences of this kind of activity that go back to the very time it was supposed to be incubating in New Orleans. I've heard Hall Johnson, in whose choir I used to sing, make the same comment. He came from a very literate family; he's from Georgia, and he knew of the existence of jazz very far back, and he is over seventy now. New Orleans just happened to get the publicity."
Eubie Blake told the author recently; Tm 74 years old, and when I was a kid, around ten or eleven, this kind of music was already around then. I was playing it myself in Baltimore from 1898, and we called it ragtime." Blake, who came to New York soon after the turn of the century, confirms that jazz, both in its ragtime piano form and in musically similar brass interpretations, was a firmly established entity at that juncture, and that the musicians from New Orleans were practically unknown until about 1915, when Freddie Keppard visited New York with the Original Creole Band,
The picture that emerges from a synthesis of the statements cited in the preceding pages, of the recollections and revelations of ragtime historians and musicians from various centers, and of the constantly documented histories of the New Orleans musicians, can only point to one conclusion. Jazz, which by the first World War was an acknowledged and organized facet of the music scene, and which for many years has been localized and pinpointed by writers to a degree clearly at variance with the facts, is a child neither of Louisiana nor of Pennsylvania, owing no more allegiance to the Confederacy than to the Union. Jazz simply was born in the United States of America.