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Oakland Tribune (Newspaper) - March 23, 1919, Oakland, California Sunday, March 23, 1919 Europe Welcomes with 'Wild Enthusiasm" the Funny, Fascinating "Supersyncopation" of America's Newest Dance Novelty. T appears, from what experts in such matters now say, that jazz has really "arrived." More than that it has been crowned as a musical fact Of course, if you are a highbrow you arc shocked. But civilization, or at least the per- petual effort toward civilization, is just one shock after another. First the highbrows were shocked at the recog- nition of ragtime. They pointed out contemptu- ously that syncopation wasn't new at Liszt had used it in his Hungarian rhapsodies .and that other composers had dallied with it in their playful (and not quite proper) moods. It hurt their feelings dread- fully that "rag" should be recognized as something more than simple syn- copation with a quality in it very hard to write in musical notes, and moreovsr, that it was America's con- tribution to distinctive music. They were willing to have the biggest com- posers recognize the distinctive waltz of Spain, the quite different empha- sized first beat waltz of Germany, the mazonrka of Poland, and the rhap- sodic whimsicality of peasant inventions, all wild, free- grown musical slang. But it went hard that America should produce anything original that wasn't original at the top. Unfortunately most original, flavorsome, distinctive things come up from below and not down from "above." Well, then came "jazz." What is jazz? Who'll take the responsibility of saying what it is? Who in Austria's musical academies, for example, could have told what was the peculiar, different something in the Second Rhapsody? Walter J. Kingsley, who is quoted as an authority, says that "jazz" is supersyncopation. That's a mouth- ful. And jazz is an earful. Just a plain out- sider might say that the new jazz element was sliding note. Consequently it can't be played truly except by the aid of an instrument capable of a sliding the trombone or the saxo- But there is another distinctive element, the sudden halt, as if the band had stubbed its and all hands came tumbling back into step Again as soon as they could. This accentuates the "rap" feature which gets much of its dance fascination from the effect of permitting the danct lUflf to take many of initial beats, having the orchestra ai a kM of accompaniment. The jazz dancer, the specialist in this sublim- ated form of rag, naturally came with the de- velopment of jazz music itself. have blossomed in the cabarets. Then Europe got it. Europe had already gone hysterical in its time over rag. The kings- who-once-were giggled over It. Duchesses danced It. Now they have jazz. "Do you has become n popular greeting. One cable dispatch says: "London goes mad in revelry of Jazz." "I have never in all my years of experience been as busy as I am one of the best known dancing teachers in London said recently. "I have more pupils in classes and for individual instruc- tion than I have ever had, more applications from pupils than I can possibly accept. The majority of my pupils are women and girls, but I plenty of young officers and even middle-aged officers who try hard. They all want to learn the latest dance, the jazz, and any variations upon it." You would think to hear the descrip- tions that all London was in a kind of jazz de- lirium. Make all due allowance for artistic ex- aggeration. "All London" means about the same as "All New York" or "All Pittsburgh" or "All St. Louis.' Nevertheless, jazz has arrived. II has caught the fancy of the worldft Jimmy Europe's jazz band really made a tremendous hit on the other side. When the "Hell Fighters" of the Fifteenth Infantry marched up Broadway, New York, on their return from the front, the great fact the famous colored contingent was Jimmy Europe's jazz band up at the head of the line. When is played by an orchestra and not by a simple band, the person whom James Whit- comb Rjley called "the little man in the tin shop" is an exceedingly important unit. He plays the bass drum (with his the snare drum, the the bell, the triangle, the cowbells, the locomotive whistle and other nameless accessories. 0 yes! he is busy. And he always seems to have most of the fun. Most people, I fancy, feel as Riley the poet would like to take a short turn at being "the Sitt'e man In the tin He is the humorist of is he who puts in the point of the joke. An enthusiastic writer from abroad states the case: "The lights seem to sway and gleam and glisten more than ever before, the musicians are intoxicated with energy, the dancers tri- umphant with movement. This la the era of energy, movement, perpetual motion. a symbol.
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