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The Jazz Age and the Black and Tans

Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra 2021-2022 Series

Evening Program

Tuesday, December 14, 2021 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1P0746
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Materials for this program

  1. Handout

Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra in concert at the National Museum of American History (Photo: Jaclyn Nash)

Note: This streaming program features a virtual concert.

For more than half of the 20th century, legal and social segregation shaped many aspects of life for Americans—including where they heard jazz. But in the speakeasy era, a new kind of venue emerged that opened the doors for Black musicians and audiences, as well as other people of color. Dubbed “black-and-tan clubs,” these nightspots in New York, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, and other locations began to attract white patrons as well, creating a uniquely integrated musical phenomenon. During their heyday from the 1920s to the early 1960s, stages in black-and-tan clubs spotlighted such greats as Eubie Blake, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Lena Horne, Count Basie, and Ray Charles.

Loren Schoenberg, Senior Scholar/Founding Director of National Jazz Museum in Harlem, joins Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra (SJMO) maestro Charlie Young to provide historical context and background as SJMO’s Small Band captures the Jazz Age spirit and style of the early black-and-tan clubs in song.

Selections include “Royal Garden Blues” from 1919 by Clarence Williams and Spencer Williams; “I’m Just Wild About Harry,” the 1921 hit from Broadway’s Shuffle Along by Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle; “Memories of You” by Blake and Andy Razaf from 1930; and 1927’s “Black and Tan Fantasy” by Duke Ellington and Bubber Miley.

Upcoming Programs with 2021-2022 Series

About SJMO

Whether as a 17-member big band, quartet, septet, or small group, SJMO presents concerts featuring transcribed works, new arrangements, commissioned pieces, and programs that illuminate the work of the masters who contributed to the development of American jazz and defined the music’s character.

Under artistic director and conductor Charlie Young, SJMO has celebrated some of the greatest jazz music throughout its 31-year history. The 2021–2022 season promises to bring the best of jazz to audiences through both virtual and in-person concerts. Special guests join the ensemble to guide audiences through the fascinating history and stories that surround this truly American musical form.

Patron Information

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This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.