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In Tune -- by Bill Fuller
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contributions to Bill Fuller %Earlyjas, or
e-mail: jazzytubs@aol.com
Jazz Venues in Tunes                              January and February 2009

Through the early years of jazz the music was heard mostly in bars, roadhouses,
bordellos, cafes, dancehalls, honky tonks, theaters, nightclubs, and, in some cases,
hotels. In retrospect a lot of these places carry significant weight in the history of
this music since they not only harbored but, in many instances, nurtured artists
and bands that were seminal in the popularity and evolution of the music. It
seems probable that at least some composers had an inkling of the importance of
some of these establishments and chose to memorialize their names in music. In
the next two issues of The Earlyjas Rag the “In Tune” column will take a look at
some jazz venues in tunes, such as:

SAVOY BLUES – written in 1926, in celebration of the fabled New York dancehall,  
The Savoy Ballroom by Edward “Kid” Ory, the New Orleans trombonist and
bandleader who is also credited with “Muskrat Ramble.” One story says that Ory
wrote it while playing with Joe “King” Oliver’s Dixie Syncopators at the Savoy
Ballroom in 1926. Another story says that Louis Armstrong called Ory two days
before an important OKeh recording session and told him he was short one tune.
So, Ory wrote the tune in the two days before the session.

ROYAL GARDEN BLUES — written in 1919, in celebration of southside Chicago's  
famous dancehall, The Royal Gardens, by Spencer Williams who also wrote “I Ain’
t Gonna Give Nobody None of this Jelly Roll.” In the late teens the hall was the
residence of the Original Creole Band. The built-in swing of this tune easily
enabled it to span decades of recordings from Ethel Waters and Noble Sissle
through the Original Dixieland Jass Band and Bix Beiderbecke to Benny Goodman
and Tommy Dorsey.  When a Mrs. Major obtained title to the  building in 1921, it
was renamed the Lincoln Gardens where the King Oliver Band made history.

MAPLE LEAF RAG — written in 1899, in celebration of the Maple Leaf Club by
ragtime pianist/composer Scott Joplin while entertaining at this Sedalia, Missouri
club. It became his most famous, important, and most emulated work.

SAN JACINTO STOMP — (sometimes known as “You Can’t Escape from Me”)
written in celebration of San Jacinto Hall in New Orleans, by Erskine Hawkins
who also wrote “Tuxedo Junction.”

Jazz Venues in Tunes (part 2)

Last issue we began an exploration of tunes titled to commemorate places where
jazz flourished in the early days. I’m sure there’s more, especially when you get
into the “swing” era and beyond. Things like “Jumpin’ at the Woodside” (a hotel),
“Roseland Shuffle” (a dancehall), and “Casa Loma Stomp” (a hotel) come to mind;
but I don’t have much information on them (contributions welcome) so I’ll stick to
the following to finish up our little journey:

KANSAS CITY STOMP – written in 1921, by Jelly Roll Morton to commemorate the
Kansas City Bar in Tiajuana, Mexico where he was playing. He recorded it as a
piano solo in 1923, and then with his band, the Red Hot Peppers, in 1928.

APEX BLUES -  written in 1929, by clarinetist Jimmie Noone to commemorate  
Chicago’s Apex Club where he and his band appeared from 1927 until it closed in
1928. The band, which included pianist Earl “Fatha” Hines, recorded this tune in

BIG BEAR STOMP – written in 1944 to celebrate the Big Bear Tavern in Berkley,
California by Lu Watters who played there with his Yerba Buena Jazz Band. Lu
also wrote “Sage Hen Strut.”

MAHOGANY HALL STOMP – written by Clarence Williams to celebrate the
famous Storyville “house” operated by his aunt, Madame Lulu White, who,
among other things, possessed the largest collection of diamonds, pearls, and
other rare gems in all of New Orleans. At Lulu’s Mahogany Hall such notable
pianists played as: Tony Jackson, Jelly Roll Morton, and Tony Scott.

TIN ROOF BLUES – written in 1923 by Paul Mares to commemorate the Tin Roof
Café located at the corner of Claiborn and Washington Streets in New Orleans, a
prime jazz site until 1910. Mares gets the credit, but the melody was probably
stolen from Richard M. Jones’ “Jazzin’ Baby Blues.” Among other jazz “standards”
introduced by Paul Mares and his New Orleans Rhythm Kings in 1923 were
“Farewell Blues,” and “Panama.”

ROSE ROOM -   this 1918, Art Hickman composition commemorates the Rose
Room in San Francisco’s St. Francis Hotel where Hickman began his career as a
dance band leader. He introduced this tune in New York at the Zeigfeld
“Midnight Frolics.”
for Jazz Advancement and Socialization