Editor, Webmaster: Phil Cartwright Editor@earlyjas.org
|In Tune -- by Bill Fuller
Additions, comments, corrections,
contributions to Bill Fuller %Earlyjas, or
In Tune June 2005
Here are excerpts from an 80-year-old music magazine that you might want to think about over the summer; see
you in September:
THE ETUDE Vol. XLII No. 9 September, 1924
(from an interview with pianist/composer Percy Grainger)
“What is this bug-a-boo of Jazz? Is it polluting the musical art of today? Or is it something that will vastly
increase the musical interest of the future? ... It was quite natural that Jazz should first bubble up in the melting
pot of America, and equally natural that it should spread all over the world. The fact of the matter is that Jazz
differs not essentially or sociologically from the dance music all over the world, at all periods, in that its office is
to provide excitement, relaxation, and sentimental appeal. In this respect it differs not from the Chinese or
Native American Indian music or from the 'Halling' of Norway, the Tarantella of Italy, Viennese waltzes,
Spanish dances or the Hungarian Czardas. The trouble is that too much fuss is made about Jazz. Much of it is
splendid music. Its melodic characteristics are chiefly Anglo-Saxon...
Its excellence rests on its combination of Nordic melodiousness with Negro tribal rhythmic polyphony plus the
great musical refinement and sophistication that has come through the vast army of highly trained cosmopolitan
musicians who play in Jazz....
If Jazz had done nothing more than to break down certain old orchestral jail walls, it would be justified.... It has
opened up glorious instrumental possibilities....
Another great achievement of Jazz is the introduction of the vibrato in the wind instruments. All wind
instruments should be played with vibrato; at least as much as the strings.
Apart from its influence on orchestration Jazz will not form any basis for classical music of the future, to my
mind. The tendency will be to turn to something simpler. We are now musically located in an epoch which is not
dissimilar from that which confronted the world at the time of Johann Sebastian Bach. That is, a vast horde of
musical influences of great complexity seem to be coming together. Jazz is one of the manifestations of this. But
Jazz is not likely to prove very fructifying to classical music. On the other hand it has borrowed (or shall we say
'purloined'?) liberally from the classical. The public likes Jazz because of the shortness of its forms and its
slender mental demands upon the hearer. No music is ever really popular which is too long or too
complicated.... The laws which govern Jazz and other popular music can never govern music of the greatest
depth or greatest importance. I do not wish to belittle Jazz or other popular music. The world must have
popular music. We should rejoice that ragtime of ten years ago has reformed into today’s Jazz....
Last summer in Germany I noted that Jazz had made a really noticeable impression upon the scores of the works
of many modern composers I heard. The influence was superficial, but it was there nevertheless, and it is
And just what up-to-date jazz compositions might Mr. Grainger have been listening to in the year this article
BUGLE CALL RAG -- written in 1923 by Jack Pettis and Elmer Schoebel. Elmer also had a hand in "Farewell
Blues," "Nobody's Sweetheart" (see below) and "Stomp Off, Let's Go." The tune was introduced by the Friars
Society Orchestra (New Orleans Rhythm Kings) and later revived at different times by Sophie Tucker, Benny
Goodman, and the Mills Brothers.
CALIFORNIA HERE I COME -- written and popularized by Al Jolson in 1924. It was introduced in the musical
"Bombo." Later it became the theme song of the Abe Lyman Orchestra. It was used in the 1952 film "With a Song
in My Heart" and in the 1946 film "The Jolson Story."
COPENHAGEN -- written in 1924 by Charlie Davis and introduced by the Benson Orchestra of Chicago. Walter
Melrose, who had a hand in "Dippermouth Blues" and "Tin Roof Blues" wrote the lyrics. The "Copenhagen" from
which the title derives is not the city but rather the name of a popular brand of "smokeless" tobacco.
(You're) NOBODY'S SWEETHEART (Now) -- written in 1923 by Gus Kahn and Elmer Schoebel. It was
introduced by Ted Lewis in the musical review "The Passing Show of 1923." It was popularized by Isham Jones
and his Orchestra and revived in 1928 by Red Nichols, in 1931 by Cab Calloway, and in 1932 by the Mills
Brothers. It was used by Belle Baker in the 1944 film "Atlantic City" and by Doris Day in the 1951 film "I'll See
You in My Dreams."
|Earlville Association for Ragtime Lovers Yearning
for Jazz Advancement and Socialization