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Alfred Appel Jr

Alfred Appel Jr’s Jazz Modernism: From Ellington and Armstrong to Matisse and Joyce is published by Knopf. He is a professor emeritus of English at Northwestern University and editor of The Annotated Lolita.

Wa-Wa-Wa with the Duke

Alfred Appel Jr, 5 September 2002

Duke Ellington’s ten-man group of 1927-32 was billed for a time as the Jungle Band, a title in keeping with the Southern plantation/Afro-Deco interior and exotic-erotic floor shows of the Cotton Club, the grandest Harlem venue (it seated more than six hundred), where Ellington performed, before whites only, for the five years from 1927, and in the spring seasons of 1933, 1937 and 1938....

Homage to Fats Waller

Alfred Appel Jr, 9 May 2002

On the eve of World War Two, Fats Waller was, after Louis Armstrong, the jazz musician and jazz entertainer best known and most loved by the American and English populations at large. In recent years, however, Waller’s reputation has declined, possibly because the jazz canon has room for only one cut-up: Armstrong. The recent issuing on three compact discs of Waller’s alternative...

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