"The Blues Get Glorified": Harlem Entertainment, Negro Nuances, and Black Symphonic Jazz

Howland, John
September 2007
Musical Quarterly;Fall/Winter2007, Vol. 90 Issue 3/4, p319
Academic Journal
The article explores the strategies of racial uplift that were implanted within the African American symphonic jazz, and discusses how and why Duke Ellington, James P. Johnson and their friends and forebears in Harlem entertainment developed these hybrid musical arrangements. It examines three production-number-related concert works, including "Symphony in Black: A Rhapsody of Negro Life," to reveal the ways in which the entire Ellington and Johnson concert jazz compositions of the 1930s and the 1940s clouded and manipulated racial class and cultural markers, and how these works represented a unique urban-entertainment vision for racial uplift. It mentions that Harlem entertainment dually celebrated racial pride and upheld negative racial stereotypes for commercial white entertainment.


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