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The Product of Our SoulsRagtime, Race, and the Birth of the Manhattan Musical Marketplace$
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David Gilbert

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469622699

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469622699.001.0001

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A New Type of Negro Musician

A New Type of Negro Musician

Social Dance and Black Musical Value in Prewar America

(p.191) Chapter Seven A New Type of Negro Musician
The Product of Our Souls

David Gilbert

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter discusses how Europe's partnership with the famous dancing couple, Irene and Vernon Castle, invigorated Americans' interest in the popular music coming out of New York City in the second decade of the twentieth century. It also reinforced African American musicians' incomparable status within the nationalizing commercial markets growing out of Manhattan. As such, the notions of black musical authenticity that Hotel Marshall musicians had constructed, debated, and promoted since the late nineteenth century, circulated out of Manhattan entertainment markets and across the United States during the prewar years. The ways that African Americans like Europe used America's burgeoning mass consumer markets to both sell the idea of black musical exceptionalism and promote ideas of authentic Negro music set the stage for the arrival of jazz music from New Orleans and Chicago, as well as for the arrival of “race records” during the war years and the 1920s.

Keywords:   Irene Castle, Vernon Castle, James Reese Europe, Manhattan, mass consumer markets, authentic Negro music

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