Editor, Webmaster:  Phil Cartwright       Editor@earlyjas.org
In Tune -- by Bill Fuller
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The Jazz Problem (part I)

In the year 1924 a heated debate was carried on  within the scholarly pages of an esteemed music journal
called “The Etude.” Opinions pro and con about the “Jazz Problem” were solicited far and wide from noted
music critics, composers, conductors, musicians, and educators about the ongoing and future ramifications of
this new music and its effects upon American culture and mores.
Over the next three issues of the Earlyjas Rag we’re going to take a look at that debate through pro and con
quotes from articles in that magazine as well as some of the “jazz” tunes they might have been listening to at
that time:

                   PRO                                           CON
                      by                                                           by
               Isham Jones                                          Henry T. Finck
(noted conductor of American dance music)         (the famous music critic and author)

…What is jazz? Considering that all popular                …We must, however, be on our guard not to
music is more or less termed jazz, I would briefly         assign a Negro origin to everything we hear
describe it as modern emotional music. It is                  that is boisterous and barbaric. The other day
expressive of the happy dance; it is rhythm that           I read in a newspaper that the Parisians still      
is simple yet inspiring. It is music that is irresis-          like the Negro style of jazz, in which the players
tible to the feet and, at the same time, appealing         not only indulge in musical horseplay, but also
to the heart and head. It has been said that all            in gestures and antics of the same style. But it
music, classical or popular, must appeal to one         was in a description of a performance by a white
or more of those parts of the body. I believe,              jazz band that I read about a banjo player who
judging from the popularity of certain numbers,        tossed his instrument in the air; also a piccolo player
that most of the popular songs of today appeal          who, when drunk, indulged in ‘wild, barbaric,
to all three…                                                                lawless sounds;’ and also, concerning another
…The successful popular composer of today,             player, ‘when he put his tomato can on the end
who is being given credit for the so-called jazz          of his cornet it seemed as though the music
music, is sincere. He is always striving for that         with it strange quivering pulsations, came from
wide appeal and I am confident that in the future     another world (one guess as to which world).’…
he will be given more credit for his endeavors…

Here are some of the period pieces they may have been listening to:

-DEAR OLD SOUTHLAND, (1921), written by Harry Creamer and Turner Layton who also wrote “Way
Down Yonder in New Orleans.” This melody was adapted from the spiritual, “Deep River.” It was introduced
by Sidney Bechet and revived in 1939 by the Benny Goodman Orchestra.

-HARD HEARTED HANNAH (the Vamp of Savannah)– (1924), by Jack Yellen, Bob Bigelow and Charles
Bates. This tune was introduced by Frances Williams and recorded by Belle Baker as well as by
Cliff Edwards (Ukulele Ike). It was used in the 1955 film, “Pete Kelly’s Blues” and sung by Ella Fitzgerald.

-HOW COME YOU DO ME LIKE YOU DO? – (1924), by Gene Austin who also wrote “Lonesome Road” and
“When My Sugar Walks Down the Street.” Austin made this tune popular himself. It was later recorded by
Marian Harris and used in the film “Three for the Show” by Betty Grable and Jack Lemmon.

Goodman and used in the 1950 film “Tea for Two” with Doris Day and Gordon MacRae.Goodman and used
in the 1950 film “Tea for Two” with Doris Day and Gordon MacRae.
The Jazz Problem (part II)

In the year 1924 a heated debate was carried on within the scholarly pages of an esteemed music journal called
“The Etude.” Opinions pro and con about the “Jazz Problem” were solicited far and wide from noted music
critics, composers, conductors, musicians, and educators about the ongoing and future ramifications of this
This is the second of a three part series in the Earlyjas Rag that looks at the debate through pro and con
quotes from articles in that magazine as well as some of the “jazz” tunes they might have been listening to at
that time:

             PRO                                                 CON

                by                                                                  by
     Geoffrey O’Hara                                               Will Earhart
(well-known community song leader, composer)       (director of music, Pittsburgh, PA.)

…Jazz is teaching America new tone colors in           …I rather welcome the opportunity to express myself
orchestral instruments. It is interesting the whole         on the subject of “Jazz” although nobody believes
nation in rhythm, in melody, in keeping time. It             what anybody else says about it.I don’t like “Jazz”
is establishing the first principles of music in                and don’t approve of it. My reason for not liking
everyone (call it noise – what is music but                     it is because it does not come pleasingly to my
beautiful noise; call it rhythm – what is music               ears. Mozart said somewhere – I think in a letter
but ordered and beautiful rhythm?)                                to his father – something to the effect that even in
…Jazz has been an entering wedge for millions             the most terrible situations in opera, music should
who had not taken the first step in music. Jazz               never cease to be pleasing to the ear. I am willing
has met them half way. Jazz is a mediator and               to concede a place for rough sounds in opera -
advocate, a great go-between, a sort of                          Alberich’s cry is drama if it isn’t music – but when
theatrical announcer, a herald of better things              music is standing for nothing but sounds and
- a jester.                                                                         patterns of sounds, I prefer the sounds to be
…Jazz is knocking at the door of the Temple of             pleasing rather than exciting.
Music. Old Dame Muse will open the door. Even          …I do not approve of “Jazz” because of its
now I hear her shuffling old feet and the creaking         convulsive twitching, hiccoughing rhythms, the
of that rusty old door of tradition. It will soon               abdication of control by the central nervous
open. Jazz will be conducted to take its rightful             system – the brain. This ‘letting ourselves go’ is
seat in the Hall of Fame where it will be taught            always a most enticing act. Formerly we indulged
etiquette…                                                                        it in going on an ‘alcoholic spree,’ but now we
                                                                      indulge it by going through ‘Jazz.’…

-Here are some of the period pieces they may have been listening to:

-KING PORTER STOMP-(1924), was written and introduced by Jelly Roll Morton. It was later popularized by
Fletcher Henderson and his orchestra. In 1936 It was recorded by the Benny Goodman Orchestra with
trumpeter Bunny Berigan doing the vocal.

-SHINE-(1924) – by Ford Dabney who also wrote “Georgia Grind.” According to composer/publisher Perry
Bradford, the song was written about an actual man named Shine who was beaten up during the New York
race riots of 1900. It was used in the 1943  movie “Cabin in the Sky” and was performed by John “Bubbles”
Sublett. It was also used in the film, “Birth of the Blues” with Bing Crosby and Mary Martin.

-LIMEHOUSE BLUES-(1924), composed by Philip Braham and introduced in the musical review “Andre
Charlot’s Review of 1924” by Gertrude Lawrence,Robert Hobbs and Fred Leslie. It was popularized by Paul
Whiteman and his orchestra. In the 1968 Hollywood film, “Start” it was revived by Julie Andrews and a male
chorus.
-SOUTH- (1924), written by bandleader Benny Moten who also wrote “Moten Swing.” On his original
recording of this tune Moten used dual cornet breaks to try to get the sound that King Oliver and Louis
Armstrong had.
The Jazz Problem (part III)

In the year 1924, a heated debate was carried on within the scholarly pages of an esteemed music journal
called “The Etude.” Opinions pro and con about the “Jazz Problem” were solicited far and wide from noted
music critics, composers, conductors, musicians and educators about the ongoing and future ramifications of
this new music and its effects upon American culture and mores.
Here we present the third and final installment of the Earlyjas Rag’s three part presentation of opinions
expressed in that magazine some 81 years ago as well as some of the most current tunes of that era – tunes to
which those who have offered their opinions may have been listening:

          PRO                                                    CON

                   by                                                                      by
            Paul Sprecht                                                   Robert M. Stults
(well-known conductor of successful orchestras)     (composer of the most successful songs ever written)

…Where is jazz leading America? I can best                …I have expressed myself so frequently on this
Earlville Association for Ragtime Lovers Yearning
for Jazz Advancement and Socialization
EARLYJAS