[JPL] Larry's Tin Pan Alley Comments.

Larry Appelbaum jumpmonk at hotmail.com
Mon Aug 2 13:33:34 EDT 2004

Hi Eric,

Thanks for your reply. I didn't mean to minimize the importance of Tin Pan 
Alley or it's role in contributing to jazz repertoire, but the thread began 
with a discussion of Cole Porter, and several postings lumped Porter in 
w/Tin Pan Alley, which is historically inaccurate. The monograph you cite 
sounds interesting, though its scope ends in 1942. I think even a casual 
examination of post WW II standard jazz repetoire shows a declining 
influence of Tin Pan Alley, with exemptions made for trad revival of the 
late 1940s, ragtime revival of the 1970s, Wynton Marsalis, etc. My 
over-simplified guess is that since the be-bop era, modern musicians, 
especially instrumentalists, are drawn to songs with a more challenging 
harmonic framework, not to mention originals which they may own publishing 
rights to. But I'd like to hear from some of the musicians on this list. 
This is a subject that's fertile for research.


>I already deleted the email so I can't respond directly but I believe  
>Larry from WPFW in DC made a comment about Tin Pan Alley. Here's a quote  
>that I have in my notes.
>"In the two decades that followed the publication of "Maple Leaf Rag"  
>(1899), the dominant musical forms (as revealed by this study, at any  
>rate) were rags, blues, and popular songs, many of them composed by black  
>musicians. Between 1920 and 1924, Tin Pan Alley made a stronger impact on  
>the jazz tradition, with blues songs becoming especially fashionable. In  
>the next five years (1925 -1929), Broadway gained somewhat on Tin Pan  
>Alley in producing new jazz standards, while rags and new blues songs  
>virtually dropped out of the picture. After 1930, the rags and blues being  
>recorded were almost exclusively older ones. Jazz musicians took up some  
>new Tin Pan Alley and show tunes (including "I Got Rhythm"); but almost  
>half of the new favorites originated inside the folk or jazz traditions -  
>the latter especially in the form of pieces by leaders of the popular  
>swing bands."
>CBMR Monographs, No. 4 Jazz Standards on Record, 1900-1942: A Core  
>by Richard Crawford and Jeffrey Magee
>CBMR stands for the Center For Black Music Research. They are located on  
>the campus of Columbia College in Chicago. www.cbmr.org
>Eric Jackson
>WGBH Boston 89.7
>Mon. - Thurs 7 PM - Mid.

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