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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000145.txt from 2005/05

From: Bill Hausmann <bhausmann1@-----.net>
Subj: RE: [kl] Possible racist views in music titles (was: Rubank
Date: Sat, 07 May 2005 00:50:48 -0400

At 05:44 PM 5/6/2005 -0400, Jim and Joyce wrote:
Quoting an old Dan Leeson post:

>This is probably nothing more than what was prevalent American
>thinking at the time, but we have lost some unknown quantity of
>what may be very good music because of these themes that appear
>within the music. One work that we have not lost is just of
>this character, "Lassus Trombone" which is a musical depiction
>of the happy, shiftless, Jim Crow. I suspect, but do not know,
>that Fillmore may have had his soloists in some sort of blackface
>when they performed this three-trombone novelty.

I'm not sure I would so readily assume such a racist depiction in the
music. It is more likely that Fillmore, a trombonist himself, simply
enjoyed featuring the trombone and its ability to smear and slide, a
characteristic he used in numerous pieces throughout his career with all
sorts of titles.

Titles for music are often afterthoughts or come to be due to odd
circumstances (or are tacked on by others, such as Moonlight Sonata or Gran
Partitta). Benny Carter, I believe, wrote a piece and performed it
someplace where Benny Goodman heard it. Goodman later asked Carter if he
could use the piece and was given permission, but the music came with no
title on it. Goodman telegraphed Carter to ask what the title
was. Carter, who had not come up with a name for it yet, telegraphed back
"TITLE UNDECIDED."

From then on, this jazz classic has been (unintentionally) known as
"Undecided."

Bill Hausmann

If you have to mic a saxophone, the rest of the band is TOO LOUD!

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