Footnotes: A Link Between Lully & Errol Garner?

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1 Altho a French settlement predated the city, its foundation in c1720 was the first venture of the ill-fated Mississippi Company, a speculative enterprise undertaken by the French Chancellor, John Law on behalf of Louis XV, who was still a minor. It proposed to capitalise on French ownership of Louisiana, declared in 1699, and stimulated the formation of a similar enterprise in England, the South Sea Company. Like its English counterpart, the Mississippi attracted huge funds. When it failed two years later it bankrupted the French Treasury and triggered the collapse of the 'South Sea Bubble' as well.

2 Full text of Gracyk's history of the Original Dixieland Jass Band.

For the record, the ODJB was a white band led by Nick LaRocca. Segregation was absolute in the musical world at this time.

3 You can audition this recording. The commentator on this website notes 'What is interesting about this record is the orchestra playing behind the singers as they try to sound like a Jas Band, but as you will hear they really didn't know.'

4 (June 17th 1917) quoted in Rose Storyville (U Alabama Press 1972)

5 The first modern edition of Couperin, edited by Brahms(!) and Chrysander, was published in 1888.

As an aside: the impetus given to the adoption of the pianoforte by the French Revolution is not often acknowledged. The destruction of all but a couple of clavecins cleared the way for the piano - for which a dazzling new populist repertoire was being created by that most vehement supporter of égalité, Beethoven.

6 Hefling also declares that inégalité 'died out in England after Handel's importation of Italian opera singers' from 1713 onwards. While that may have been broadly true, I would venture the opinion that the Allemande of the first of Handel's first book of keyboard suites of 1720 is clearly intended to be inégale for the opening beat in the left and right hands both give a dotted semiquaver rhythm, as does the leading entry for the second half of the piece, yet all the subsequent semiquavers are equal. Handel was notoriously casual in his notation because he was working in a living oral culture where musicians heard and reproduced styles by ear, like Jazz when it was a genuinely popular form. Thus I would suggest that the notation I have described would have been a clear instruction to any musician who was on the scene to play the whole movement that way. Perhaps one of the reasons Handel didn't bother to write it out exactly is that like Jazz it's much simpler to write and read that way. To be literally accurate most Jazz should be notated in 12/8 but traditionally it has always been in 4/4.

7 It is worth observing that the appellation Creole differs considerably in import in the many territories it covers. I restrict its meaning to that common in Louisiana, namely gens de couleur libre. Cf fnn 12+13. No doubt substantial cross-fertilisation had always existed between different parts of the francophone Creole world, but it was accelerated in 1804 when 9000 refugees from a losing faction of Toussaint L'Ouverture's 1791 slave uprising in Ste Domingue/Haiti spent several months in Cuba before being expelled to New Orleans, where they doubled the existing non-white population.

8 In The complete country dance tunes from Playford's Dancing Master (1651-ca1728) (US/UK 1985) Jeremy Barlow quotes examples of tunes which, in successive editions during the publication's currency, appear in dotted and straight rhythm - indicating that ordinary performers had no difficulty with rhythmic practices mutated according to fashion.

9 Kmen quoting RC Reinders' 'Sound of the Mournful Dirge' (Jazz I, 1950) composed of newspaper reports from the 1850s

10 Here we meet another strong French link. Vaudeville was Parisian demotic for Voix de Ville [the talk of the town] - a cabaret-style popular entertainment, generally performed alfresco. It occurs in J-F Regnard's 1691 play La Foire St Germain, which I have translated and produced, but there are probably earlier references.

11 When black composer-arranger James Reese Europe took the specially-formed 369th Infantry Band to Europe with the US troops in 1918 his jazzy marching music caused a revolutionary sensation that launched Jazz in Europe. A French Bandleader asked to borrow his parts. After an abortive rehearsal 'The puzzled Frenchman later inspected Europe's instruments; his band felt that the only explanation for the sounds [the US musicians] created could be that the instruments were doctored.' (Morgan & Barlow 1992)

12 This is an appropriate moment to mention the sexual traffic epitomised in the notorious Quadroon Balls. New Orleans' addiction to dancing has already been noted. In the 1820s the principal Maître de danser, the aptly named Bernardo Coquet, hit upon a lucrative scheme of staging what were officially known as 'Tricolor Balls' (that is, mixed race Balls). These were vehemently opposed by the Attorney-General, the equally aptly named Pablo Lanusse. But the wily Coquet outsmarted Lanusse by offering to take over the ailing theatre if he should be allowed to stage Balls on alternate nights. At these Quadroon Balls white men danced with coloured women, which 'far outdid the white [balls] when it came to lewdness and excitement. Alexis de Tocqueville found the laxity of morals at these balls incredible. One of New Orleans' own newspapers honestly acknowledged them to be "inter-racial orgies." ... In short, most of the quadroon balls, like the lower-class white balls, were fields of operations for prostitutes.' (Kmen 1966) The relevance of this sexual tradition to music will be seen later on.

13 The price a woman could command was apparently linked to her skin colour. At all events octoroons (1/8 negro) were at the top of the tree along with white women, while quadroons (one black grandparent) were next, and then mulattos (one black, one white parent).

14 This has to be placed in a context where the price for a street-walker was around 15¢ - a long and unforgiving fall when those 'who please to live' no longer did. Lulu White retired with $150,000 but lost it all on ill-advised speculations.

15 JR Europe's contribution to Jazz is little more than historical footnote as he was accidentally killed by an irate drummer in an altercation after a performance in 1922 before his recording career had got underway. ... And you wondered why drummers were kept in 'traps'?

16 I have to record a (possibly apocryphal) musicians' story about this piece. When Stravinsky came to England to conduct the premiere he brought the parts with him and set them out on the musicians' stands expecting similar difficulties to arise in this idiosyncratic piece that had elsewhere. However clarinettist Aaron Bell sight-read it perfectly from start to finish. At this the mæstro waxed uncharacteristically effusive, but Bell simply looked at him quizzically and said "I can play any-bloody-thing on the clarinet, Mr Stravinsky."

17Milhaud spent two years in São Paolo as secretary to the French cultural attaché, Paul Claudel.

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