The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Artists in Action #278

Duke Ellington advertises


Brent McKee said...

Somewhat eccentric spelling from Mr. Edward Kennedy Ellington on this ad. "Jass?"

Tom Sutpen said...

Well, at the time Ellington formed The Duke's Serenaders (around 1917-1918) that was actually the accepted spelling for this music (for example, the very first commercial recordings of Jazz were by The Original Dixieland Jass Band in 1917). I'm not sure when the 'Z's got attached for good, but it wasn't long after.

Vanwall said...

I've always been fascinated with the connection between the concurrent growth of Jazz music and military aviation, especially fighter pilots - by 1918, "Dark Town Strutters' Ball" was already the unofficial song of No. 56 Squadron in the RFC, and Jazz was a hot item in the clubs on leave - young men will be young men, even with a Sam Browne belt. Commercial recordings were hardly off the presses in the States and those guys were early adopters faster than I could've ever imagined. Even tho they prolly danced the fox-trot to ragtime back then, they were jumping all over the new "jass" music as listening favorites.
There's a fascinating syncopation there when "the wind is in the wires".

Airmen seemed to be cutting edge in more ways than one back when they were trying their hardest to kill each other in WWII, and on both sides - "Schragemuzik", (Jazz) was forbidden in the Nazi's view, but openly popular in the Luftwaffe. Curiously, Ellington, Armstrong and Billie Holiday were faves on both sides as well - Jazz transcended written orders among the hunters and killers. Strange connectivity there.