Jazz - Then and Now (Chapter 10, page 2 of 4)


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Chapter 10

Willie (the Lion) Smith played piano at the Capitol Palace with the Lloyd Scott Syncopaters. The Lenox Club featured jam sessions. And because it was open from 11:,00 PM to 7:00 AM, many jazz musicians, after finishing at their own clubs at 2:00 AM, came to the Lenox Club to sit in on nightly jam sessions.

The Rhythm Club was another favorite spot featuring jam sessions. Playing there for their own entertainment were names as, Chick Webb, Johnny Hodges, Sonny Greer, Benny Carter, Don Redman, Fletcher Henderson, Jelly Roll Morton and others.

Connie's Inn, in Harlem was a different type of night club. It was a very expensive club with spectacular revues. Music was provided by Leroy Smith and later by Louis Armstrong.

Harlem was also known for its theaters. The Lincoln Theater had a stage show which utilized the talents of Ethel Waters, Louis Armstrong, Snake Hips Tucker and Butterbeans and Susie.

The Apollo Theater was the most popular and the largest in size, having a seating capacity of 17,000 seats. Chick Webb, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Don Redman, Fletcher Henderson, Noble Sissle, Andy Kirk and many more performed there with their bands.

The Savoy Ballroom was the hot spot for dancing. Music was always provided by big bands led by such artists as Chick Webb, Jimmy Lunceford, Zack Whyte, Fess Williams, Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, Teddy Hill and Andy Kirk. Most of the night clubs were owned by white entrepreneurs. And although entertainment was provided by black musicians, most clubs catered to white audiences. Many clubs posted signs on the outside door reading, "White Customers Only."

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