Big Maceo

Posted: November 3, 2011 in Big Maceo, Boogie Woogie, Paul Oliver

Author : Paul Oliver
Source :

(from : Jazz Monthly, August 1957 pps. 7-10)

“October 1929 brought to the United States the greatest economic disaster in her history when the stock market prices, ballooning through the results of a speculative orgy, collapsed with devastating effect. The Wall Street crash rendered a shock to the nation’s system which rapidly paralyzed the arteries of trade and commerce and killed the vital organs of industry. In vestments ceased, factories closed, and by 1932 between twelve and fifteen million workers were unemployed. Outside the shuttered entrances of the halls where they had so recently danced the Grizzly Bear and the Buzzard Lope to the music of the jazz bands, poverty-shocked men now stood in mute bread-lines with their backs turned to the driving sleet. Common to all, the nation’s misery was mirrored in every facet of its multi-planed existence; was reflected in the minute aspect which is jazz as in any other. Except for a very few who were playing the Big Time, which could withstand even such a shock as the Depression without emptying its purse, the musicians and singers who had recently enjoyed a booming success at the clubs and cabarets, the dancehalls and roof-gardens, were now finding themselves “laid off.” As the entertainment centres closed they went on fruitless tours in “the sticks” or, more wisely, sought work in whatever field to which they could adapt them selves where work was still to be found.
As the effect of the economic crisis hit them the recording companies switched off their microphones, closed their filing cabinets, bolted their doors. Some were never to open again, the piles of unplayed wax passed into the hands of the official receivers.”



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