A welcome homage to London’s black musicians covers the styles that other surveys missThe story of black music and London goes back almost as far as black people have been coming – or being brought – to the English capital. Trumpeters and French horn players were common at the Elizabethan court. Over the centuries, turbaned and booted, they featured in military bands as cymbalists and triangle-players, shaking the tambourine with such flair that the instrument suddenly became fashionable. They carried themselves with pride, too: once, in the 18th century, a bandsman was sauntering down the Strand when he was accosted by a stranger who mocked him: “Well, blackie. What news from the devil?” The musician promptly punched him before replying: “He send you that. How you like it?”Lloyd Bradley’s history of black music in London begins in 1919 with the arrival from New York of the 27-piece Southern Syncopated Orchestra. Its performances – including one before the future Edward VIII at Buckingham Palace and another at the first anniversary of Armistice Day at the Royal Albert Hall – made such an impression that Bradley credits them, alongside the all-white Original Dixieland Jazz Band, with introducing jazz to the UK. This …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books