Editor's Introduction

By Rye, Howard | Black Music Research Journal, Fall 2009 | Go to article overview

Editor's Introduction


Rye, Howard, Black Music Research Journal


The members of the Southern Syncopated Orchestra were the ambassadors par excellence of African-American music to Europe. Growing out of the pool of musicians that had formed the Clef Club in New York City, they brought to their enterprise, for good or ill, a much wider sensibility than that of the "jazz" groups which would follow. They appeared in Europe at a time of critical cultural change and maximum receptiveness to novelty, at the end of World War I, which had been ended largely by American intervention. The orchestra itself appeared only in Great Britain, Ireland, France, and Austria, but its members spread across the Continent in its wake, and even into the new nation states of Eastern Europe which had emerged from the wreckage of Europe's defeated empires.

The original inspiration for the research whose latest stage appears in the following pages came from the late Edward S. Walker, a pioneer in researching the earliest days of jazz in Britain, who was unusual in his understanding that jazz had a relationship with ragtime and other forms of music deriving from preceding developments in African-American music. An article published early in 1971 claimed that "jazz in Britain, or even bands with some pretension to a jazz style, had been almost totally absent" prior to the 1927 arrival of the Philippine-born Spaniard Fred Elizalde, an apostle of the fashionable "white New York" style of chamber jazz (Tanner 1971, 26). Tanner went on to remark that "it is true that a few well-known visiting firemen had been briefly to these shores ... but visits such as these were few and far between" (1971, 26).

In an article called "The Visiting Firemen" (Walker 1971), Edward Walker set himself the task of disproving this by listing American bands and individual musicians who had appeared in Britain prior to 1927. He came up with an impressive list though it admittedly included quite a few dance bands whose jazz credentials were minimal. Four years later, I was a member of the Storyville team that assisted editor Laurie Wright in producing the research magazine Storyville. During the production of this magazine, which happened to create one of the largest bodies of jazz scholarship yet published, I embarked on an attempt to establish exactly who did what when with respect to the African-American participants in this process. My debt to both Laurie Wright and Ted Walker for inspiring this research is incalculable. With enthusiastic support from Ted Walker, I borrowed his "visiting firemen" concept. It has been repeatedly pointed out that firemen put out fires rather than start them. The defense has no case. The Southern Syncopated Orchestra certainly started one.

Ted Walker had in the meantime turned his own attention to the Southern Syncopated Orchestra (SSO) in two articles (Walker 1972, 1974) in which he recovered from the limited range of sources then easily accessible the basic outlines of the orchestra's visit to Britain. Over the next few years I searched newspapers and public records for references, initially working in cooperation with Karl Gert zur Heide, who was working on a biography of orchestra member Paul Wyer. This has unfortunately never been published, and Karl did not feel able to contribute his material to the present project, but his contribution to it, including material from conversations with orchestra member Bert Marshall, should not be overlooked. My first somewhat flawed attempt to fill in the gaps in previous research appeared in 1986 (Rye 1986) and eventually a more thoroughgoing and comprehensive account appeared in my "Visiting Firemen" series in Storyville (Rye 1990).

And there the matter rested, all reasonably available sources having been consulted. The new century brought a change. There arrived on my doormat an entirely unexpected letter from a Ms. Juliet Jones, who announced that she was the granddaughter of orchestra member Frank Bates. Juliet's own story will appear in the continuation of this project in the next issue of Black Music Research Journal; suffice it to say here that she had discovered my 1990 article and wanted to know whether I now knew any more. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Editor's Introduction
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.