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Professor lectures on Chicago jazz

Nov. 10, 1998



Chicago-style jazz evolved from New Orleans-style jazz and Jewish influence, said British professor Dr. John White in a lecture Monday.

White, a professor in the American Studies department at the University of Hull in Kingston-upon-Hull, England, spoke on 'The Other Great Migration: Louis Armstrong and Chicago Style in the 1920s' at 4:30 p.m. in the Meadows Lecture/Recital Hall in the Glennis McCrary Music Building.

'African-Americans created a music and a surrounding culture,' White said. He described 1920s Chicago jazz as 'collective improvisation' of the cornet, trombone and clarinet.

Most jazz musicians came from New Orleans via railroad, White said.

Jazz was not immediately welcomed by the community. One black columnist wrote, 'There's entirely too much hokum in our picture-houses.'

However, jazz was later welcomed and described as 'red-hot music' and 'hypnosis in hearing.'

Ironically, most Chicagoans first heard jazz from white bands. White described it as 'a pale reflection of the original Chicago style.'

'In Chicago, black musicians were setting the pace,' said White. 'New Orleans style was polished.'

White is scheduled to speak about Kansas City-style jazz at 3:30 today in the Meadows Recital Hall.

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