Jungle music

This article from the Melody Maker in 1956 reminds of the uphill battle that jazz music had to overcome.

Most people don’t understand the opposition and racism that was prevalent in the perception of this new music that seemed to threaten a very conservative public.

Here’s an excerpt:

The White Citizens Council of Birmingham, Alabama – who were responsible for the attack on Nat “King” Cole during Ted Heath’s concerts there again caused trouble when Freddy Randall appeared at the Civic Auditorium.

The Randall band, in a package including “Rock ‘n Roll” king Bill Haley and his Comets played before a segregated audience at the Auditorium on Sunday.

Council pickets paraded outside the hall carrying printed signs reading “Down with bebop. Christians will not attend this show. Ask your preacher about jungle music!”

Teenagers hit back
The pickets were in turn picketed by teenagers who shouted, “Rock ‘n Roll is here to stay!” The White Citizens Council, in condemning the craze, have linked “Rock ‘n Roll” with sin, degradation and Communism.

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2 Responses to Jungle music
  1. Joshua Ellis

    The article in question seems to be about a rock show, though: I’m not familiar with Randall, but he was playing with Bill Haley, who was definitely a rock and roll artist.

    Strangely enough, old white bigots in the 1950s had a hard time distinguishing between rock and roll and “bebop”. 😉

  2. Gordon

    Freddy Randall was a traditional jazz cornet player. His band were quite influential, but slightly predate the Ball, Barber, Bilk period. He had a great cornet technique which has influenced a lot of players including Digby Fairweather. However, his choice of material was a bit derivative. He tends to come over as a homage to Red Nichols. Interesting that the demonstration is accusing him of bebop. I don’t think he ever payed bop, but I could be wrong. Even Nat Gonella went through a brief bop period in the 50’s.