We still recoil in horror and shame when confronted with photographs of COLORED and WHITE drinking fountains and entrances . . . or at least I hope we do. And I know that Alistair Cooke’s announcements on the jam sessions broadcast for the BBC in the late Thirties — announcing players by race, as if radio listeners needed to be protected from Negritude entering their living rooms — still startle unpleasantly. But what should we make of this article, possibly sold around 1939?
Was Decca suggesting that this was “authentic,” as in “We have the real stuff on our records,” an attempt to woo the JAZZMEN audience, or was it a way of warning off a racially-charged audience, “This is that degenerate stuff. Keep the women and children a safe distance away”?
I can’t tell. But since I think few listeners have their music categorized by racial / ethnic characteristics, this record album has not lost its potential to shock.
The music inside, of course, is colorful yet without pigmentation.
May your happiness increase!