Doctor Dee on Jazz

I’m tempted to call these comments “Sin, Gin, and the Beginnings of Jazz as We Know it”.

When the Secretary of the Navy closed Storyville in 1917, musicians looked for other places to play. Chicago became a draw. Joe ‘King’ Oliver took his band there and soon wired Louis Armstrong to join him in 1922. Prohibition was in effect, arguably a major cause of the corruption in Chicago that provided venues for Jazz all over the city.

At the end of the 1920’s, Tom Pendergast was solidifying his power in Kansas City MO – perhaps the most corrupt city in the US at the time. Prohibition was ignored, closing laws laughed at, police regularly asking for and receiving ‘protection money’. It was an ideal place for Jazz to develop. Charlie Parker and the Count Basie Orchestra are but two names that grew up and developed there.

While the ‘sin and gin’ of New Orleans, Chicago, and Kansas City were important developments in the growth of Jazz, they were by no means the only ones.

But, I couldn’t resist the play on words.

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