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Big Band Jazz in Black West Virginia, 1930-1942 - University Press of Mississippi
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Big Band Jazz in Black West Virginia, 1930-1942

Christopher Wilkinson


The coal fields of West Virginia would seem an unlikely market for big band jazz during the Great Depression. That a prosperous African American audience, dominated by those involved with the coal industry, was there for jazz tours would seem equally improbable. This book shows that, contrary to expectations, black Mountaineers flocked to dances by the hundreds, in many instances traveling considerable distances to hear bands led by Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Andy Kirk, Jimmie Lunceford, and Chick Webb, among numerous others. Indeed, as one musician who toured the state would recall, “All th ... More

Keywords: coal fields, West Virginia, big band jazz, Great Depression, African American audience, coal industry, jazz tours, black Mountaineers, Count Basie, Duke Ellington

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9781617031687
Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014 DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781617031687.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Christopher Wilkinson, author