[Dixielandjazz] Radio Jazz Trivia

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet@earthlink.net
Mon, 23 Sep 2002 11:04:59 -0400

Following letter was sent to the NY Times to correct a bit of
mis-information about music by "black" artists being played on the radio
in the USA. Note the reference to Martin Bloch and "Make Believe
Ballroom". For us old folks who grew up in NYC, this program was part of
the reason we became jazz fans/players.

And Symphony Sid, was of course, a legend.

Steve Barbone

September 23, 2002

Tuning In, Jazz to Bebop

To the Editor:

      A Sept. 16 Business Day chart about radio says Alan Freed "was one
of the first disc jockeys to play music by black artists." Mr. Freed was
a phenomenon of the 1950's, and by then, music by black artists had been
a staple on radio for decades.

Martin Block, sometimes called the first disc jockey, regularly
programmed records by Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington,
among others, on his "Make Believe Ballroom" of the 1930's. He also
featured a "Saturday Night in Harlem" segment.

A bit later, Symphony Sid started his long radio career, in which he
championed black swing and rhythm-and-blues, and then the new phenomenon
of bebop. And there were many others, in many venues, who broadcast
music by this country's great black artists.

Newark, Sept. 17, 2002
The writer is director of the Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers