Black Theaters

598 Words3 Pages
Although documentation is fragmented regarding the these circuits, according to Nadine George-Graves, “... scholars... must do more investigative work than is necessary for other topics in order to locate resource materials” (xii). A Black vaudeville evolved among other types of shows, specifically minstrel. However, for artists of this period, it was one of the only means of upward social mobility (Dahl 10). While a few entertainers were able to play on the white circuits, the majority were not, that is, until the Black circuits were developed for a Black audience. The Rabbit Foot Minstrels and Silas Green from New Orleans were early troupes who put on a “real musical experience” in jook joints which is said in an interview by Barry Lee Pearson to J. Otis Williams in his book, Jook…show more content…
Several key jazz figures made their way through vaudeville which allowed them to hone their craft. One of the earliest jazz musicians and orchestrators, James Reese Europe, was an early advocate for equality through acceptance of virtuosity in music endeavours. His orchestra backed up Vernon and Irene Castle who are known for the fox trot and their role in the social revolution through dance (D. 167-169). Another performer, Jelly Roll Morton, the self-proclaimed inventor of jazz, once graced the vaudeville stage as a comedic pianist (Devaux 48). Another prominent member of the jazz community was Henry Minton, who was among the initial generation to use the vaudeville circuit for upward social mobility (Kelley 62). Significantly, he later established Minton’s Playhouse, modernly known as a revolutionary location in the development of bebop because of its “cutting sessions” (Gourse 19). Billy Berg also got his start in Vaudeville later establishing jazz clubs notable for the first appearance of Charlie Parker on the West Coast and used as the backdrop for the film Bird by Clint Eastwood (Deveaux
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