In the 1920s, jazz is everywhere, and for the first time soloists and singers take center stage. We meet Bessie Smith, Empress of the Blues; Bix Beiderbecke, the first great white jazz star; and Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw, for whom jazz offers a chance to escape the ghetto and achieve their dreams. Duke Ellington appears at the Cotton Club and Louis Armstrong performs his masterpiece, "West End Blues."
Did You Know?
What occasions the focusing of attention on the Negro? Granted that white people have long enjoyed the Negro entertainment as a diversion. Is it not something different, something more, when they bodily throw themselves into Negro entertainment in cabarets? Now, Negroes go to their own cabarets to see how white people act, and what do we see? Why, we see them actually playing Negro games. I watch them in that epidemic Negroism, the Charleston. I look on and envy them. They camel and fishtail ...
References The Sea Beast