Inquiries into the early years of SJI

Friday, August 10, 2012

MP3 Monologue 8 - Don Redman (part 1)


The St. James Infirmary we know would not have been possible without Don Redman. And, it would not have been possible without the dance called the Foxtrot.

Don Redman, now almost forgotten, was among the most important of influences on American popular music. In the next Monologue we shall hear how Redman, about to leave for Chicago to help Louis Armstrong record some songs, encountered the "St. James Infirmary" that he then arranged for Armstrong's 1928 recording. For now, though, here is a little background information on Redman himself.

It might be interesting to note that, in this monologue, I made mention of a band called "McKinney's Cotton Pickers" (which Don Redman took over after leaving the employ of Fletcher Henderson) . . . here, you can see how black bands, even in the 1920s and 1930s, were being advertised. Dem ol slaves jus a pickin cotton. Even Duke Ellington, when recording under a pseudonym for Irving Mills, adopted names like "The Ten Blackberries." Even so, "McKinney's Cotton Pickers" were one of the most popular bands of the era.

To listen to this monologue (about 3 minutes) click here: Don Redman Part 1 MP3

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