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Joined at the Hip

A History of Jazz in Twin Cities

Jay Goetting

Publication Year: 2011

Jazz first churned its way into the Twin Cities on the Mississippi river excursion boats, which brought the likes of Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong to listeners on the levee—and it never left. When Paul Whiteman, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and other jazz greats toured the clubs and concert halls of the Cities, young musicians listened in the alleys outside, bought records, and learned more of this exciting new music. The local scene began to nurture players like Lester Young and Oscar Pettiford, who went on to bigger things, as well as those who remained close to home to ply their craft, like Rook Ganz, Percy Hughes, Doc Evans, and Dave Karr. Using an invaluable set of interviews taped with jazz personalities that were broadcast by Dave Sletten and Kent Hazen in the 1990s and rare photographs spanning the entire era, author Jay Goetting recounts the lore and explores the social aspects of the story: racism, the gangster era, unionization and strip joints, and the ever-evolving music itself.

Published by: Minnesota Historical Society Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. ix-xii

Joined at the Hip: A History of Jazz in the Twin Cities, heralds an intriguing record of the American jazz experience. It connects Minneapolis and St. Paul to New Orleans, Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, New York, and at least a half dozen other American cities. ...

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Introduction and Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xv

Anyone who gets involved with jazz on a more-than- casual basis finds the music becomes an integral part of his or her existence. Jazz pervades the psyche. Jazz becomes an obsession. ...

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1: Cruising Up the River

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pp. 3-13

It was a new sound. A different and exciting sound. Music that a person walking in downtown St. Paul before World War I had never heard before. It was a little like ragtime, a little like the old banjo-minstrel music, a bit like the brass-band music heard Sunday afternoons at the bandshell up the hill from the river. There was exuberance to it. ...

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2: Jazz, Jazz Everywhere— and Not a Drop to Drink

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pp. 15-35

In 1920, St. Paul author F. Scott Fitzgerald had just completed writing This Side of Paradise, a touchstone novel that came to symbolize the post– World War I flapper-and- jazz generation. In January of the same year, the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution outlawed alcohol in the United States. Its congressional sponsor was Andrew Volstead, a Republican ...

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3: The Near Northside

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pp. 37-42

During the last years of Prohibition and after its repeal in 1933, much of the best new jazz music could be heard in clubs and bars on Minneapolis’s Near Northside and at the Cotton Club in suburban St. Louis Park. University campus jazz fans continued to enjoy the Dixieland sound, while other listeners sought out envelope-pushing players like trumpeter ...

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4: Prejudice in a Progressive Setting

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pp. 43-47

In the early years of jazz, the Twin Cities offered social and music scenes as integrated as those that existed in any American city. Minneapolis’s and St. Paul’s small African American populations in 1910—2,592 and 3,144, respectively—formed less than one percent of the state’s total. By 1930, the percentage of blacks remained about the same (Minneapolis increasing ...

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5: The Musicians’ Unions

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pp. 49-55

From the earliest years of jazz music, the Twin Cities musicians’ union served an important function as gatekeeper to paying jobs. The union supported musicians’ rights to reasonable wages and tried to enforce policies aimed at the owners of clubs and larger music venues. The American Federation of Musicians, chartered in 1897, helped many players secure ...

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6: On the Avenue

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pp. 57-77

New York has its Great White Way. San Francisco has Broadway and Chicago its Miracle Mile. Minneapolis has its seven-mile-long Hennepin Avenue, known simply as “the Avenue” by the musicians who played on a short downtown stretch from Washington Avenue to Ninth Street. ...

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7: Twin Cities Jazz Celebs

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pp. 79-101

The Twin Cities may rightfully lay claim to myriad fine jazz musicians. Many of them never left the confines of the twin towns. Others ventured out and returned. Still others made their homes in Minneapolis and St. Paul for some years or decades and then went on to fame and fortune, or obscurity or worse. ...

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8: Way Up North in Dixieland

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pp. 103-116

As far back as the days of riverboat bands, on through Prohibition, and into the 1930s era of swing, musicians associated with Dixieland and traditional jazz had performed widely in the Twin Cities. For many young musicians who would go on to play in different styles, Dixieland music was the first jazz they heard. For others, it was a style with which ...

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9: From Swing to Bebop and Beyond

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pp. 117-127

While Dixieland held sway in some circles, other jazz filtered into the Twin Cities beginning in the 1930s. Traveling bands, small groups, radio, and records first introduced Twin Cities listeners to “swing”— danceable music performed by big bands like Benny Goodman’s and Count Basie’s. A few years later, they could hear what came to be known as bebop—more frenetic, complex music with extended virtuosic solos. ...

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10: The Clubs

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pp. 129-148

Finding live jazz in the Twin Cities today requires some planning. Gone are the days when nightspots clustered in the two downtowns or in neighborhoods like the Near Northside. The Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis and the Artists’ Quarter in St. Paul have regular offerings, but what else? Rossi’s, Jazzmines, the Turf Club’s Clown Lounge, and the ...

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11: The Big Bands

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pp. 149-168

As jazz moved from the speakeasy to the ballroom, the emergence of large ensembles of musicians playing smooth, rhythmic “swing” music fostered the term “Big Band Era.” Most famously played by Benny Goodman’s and Count Basie’s bands, big band swing remained popular until the advent of faster-paced bebop in the early 1940s changed tastes ...

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12: The Singers

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pp. 169-177

From the earliest days of jazz in the Twin Cities, vocalists have sung melodies in front of bands and provided the focal point for the musicians who accompany them. Singers can define the band sound or get lost in the musical shuffle. From Joe Roberts’s vocal stylings with the Slatz Randall band of the twenties to Debbie Duncan with the Adi Yeshaya ...

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13: Jazz on the Air

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pp. 179-190

Since the 1920s, music has been integral to radio programming. The University of Minnesota received the state’s first broadcasting license in 1922 as WLB (now the country’s oldest noncommercial station still on the air as KUOM, “Where Music Matters Most”). WAMD (now KSTP)— “Where All Minneapolis Dances”—made its inaugural broadcast in 1925 ...

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14: Jazz in the New Millennium

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pp. 191-198

Anyone taking time to skim the formidable list of young musicians now playing in the Twin Cities will see that the future of jazz is in good hands. It is full of up-and- comers with impressive bona fides in training, collaboration, and playing experience. ...

Appendix 1

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pp. 199-202

Appendix 2

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pp. 203-207

Notes on Sources

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pp. 209-218


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pp. 219-230

Illustration Credits

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pp. 231

E-ISBN-13: 9780873518321
E-ISBN-10: 0873518322
Print-ISBN-13: 9780873518178
Print-ISBN-10: 0873518179

Page Count: 240
Illustrations: 60 b&w photos, notes, index, appendixes
Publication Year: 2011

Edition: 1

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Subject Headings

  • Jazz -- Minnesota -- Minneapolis -- History and criticism.
  • Jazz -- Minnesota -- Saint Paul -- History and criticism.
  • Jazz -- Social aspects -- Minnesota.
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