Finding Florence Mills: The Voice of the Harlem Jazz Queen in the Compositions of William Grant Still and Edmund Thornton Jenkins

Contenu

Finding Florence Mills: The Voice of the Harlem Jazz Queen in the Compositions of William Grant Still and Edmund Thornton Jenkins
Journal of the Society for American Music
14
4
451 - 479
2020/11
eng
https://doi.org/10.1017/S1752196320000334
After her performances in Shuffle Along (1921) on Broadway and in Dover Street to Dixie (1923) in London, Florence Mills became one of the most famous jazz and vaudeville singers. Known as the Harlem Jazz Queen, Mills was revered by Black Americans for her international breakthrough and because she used her commercial success as a platform to speak out against racial inequality. Extensive descriptions of her performance style and voice exist in writing, but there are no recordings of her singing. I respond to this archival loss by considering the sound of Mills's voice in two compositions written for her: William Grant Still's Levee Land (1925) and Edmund Thornton Jenkins's Afram (1924). In my analysis, I show that Still and Jenkins imagined a much more musically complicated and politically powerful voice than that found in the racialized and gendered stereotypes permeating both her vaudeville and Broadway repertory and the language of her reception. While scholars have written about how Mills's outspokenness regarding issues of race and omission of sexually explicit roles made her central to 1920s Black political and artistic life, I consider how the sonic properties of her voice positioned her as a leading figure in the New Negro Renaissance.
https://doi.org/10.1017/S1752196320000504

Origine de la notice

Ce contenu a été déposé le 26 avril 2021 par Laurent Cugny en utilisant le formulaire "Article de revue scientifique" sur le site "BiblioJazz": https://bibliojazz-collegium-musicae.huma-num.fr/s/bibliojazz