Harlem Jazz Adventures: A European Baron's Memoir, 1934-1969

Harlem Jazz Adventures: A European Baron's Memoir, 1934-1969


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Timme Rosenkrantz (1911–1969) was a Danish journalist, author, concert and record producer, radio show host, and entrepreneur with a consuming passion for jazz and little head for business. Known in Denmark and New York as the “Jazz Baron” because of his noble lineage, he was the first European journalist to cover the jazz scene in Harlem. Harlem Jazz Adventures: A European Baron’s Memoir, 1934–1969 recounts Rosenkrantz’s happy years in New York City, where he would produce jazz concerts, record top musicians and bands in his midtown apartment, organize a “dream band” for Timme Rosenkrantz and His Barrelhouse Barons, a 1938 RCA Victor recording, (DL) live in Harlem and run a record shop with his life companion, journalist and singer Inez Cavanaugh. A good friend of jazz impresario John Hammond, Rosenkrantz would become the James Boswell of the Harlem jazz scene. Duke Ellington, Art Tatum, Coleman Hawkins, Billie Holiday—there wasn’t a New York jazz musician unknown to “Honeysuckle Rosenkrantz,” as christened by Fats Waller. Drawing on the published Danish-language original Dus med Jazzen, and an unpublished English free translation (DL) by Rosenkrantz and Cavanaugh, translator-adapter Fradley Hamilton Garner gives polish and context to Rosenkrantz’s stories of meetings with Cecile and Louis Armstrong, Benny Carter, Willie “The Lion” Smith, Eddie Condon, Erroll Garner—whom Rosenkrantz discovered and was first to record—and many others. This book is a must-have for jazz lovers. Social historians interested in the intersection of race and the music business will find in Rosenkrantz’s memoir an invaluable primary source on Harlem’s social scene and its musical legacy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780810882096
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 01/31/2012
Series: Studies in Jazz Series , #65
Pages: 346
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Timme Rosenkrantz (1911-1969) was a Danish journalist, author, concert and record producer, broadcaster and entrepreneur. He was the first European journalist to cover the jazz scene in New York's Harlem, from 1934 to 1969. Learn even more about Timme Rosenkrantz at the following website, www.jazzbaron.com.

Translator and editor Fradley Hamilton Garner is International Editor and columnist for Jersey Jazz, a monthly journal of the New Jersey Jazz Society. He's also a columnist for the online AllAboutJazz.com.

Table of Contents

Preview xi

I Remember Timme Dan Morgenstern xix

Tusind Tak xxv

A Word from the Adapter xxvii

Now I've Done It xxxi

Part I 1934

1 Get Off at 125th Street, and God Be with You 3

2 Don Redman Sparks the Apollo, John Hammond Offers a Tour 10

3 Stompin' at the Savoy to Mighty Chick Webb 17

4 Take Off Those Shades, We Know Who You Are! 25

5 Scat Master Leo Watson Zaps It with "Z-o-o-o-t!" 29

6 From Met Opera to Empire Ballroom-and Benny Carter 34

7 At the Shim Sham, a Date with Young Billie Holiday 41

8 Jake Vandermeulen Loses Everything but His Shorts 47

9 At Beefsteak Charlie's, There's Adrian Rollini 51

10 Who Said Danish Baron? Why, He's Just a Gigolo! 58

11 "My Technique Terrifies Me!" Says Willie "The Lion" Smith 62

12 Art Tatum Is Down at Basement Brown's! 67

13 To Fats Waller with Love, Honeysuckle Rosenkrantz 72

14 Mezz Mezzrow Puts Timme on a Little Pink Cloud 79

15 Canceled: Josh Billing's Greenwich Village Gig 84

16 At Timme's Farewell Party, Fats Waller Takes a Bath 90

Part II 1936-1969

17 Checking Out Harlem's Other Halls of Pleasure 97

18 Voutie! Slim and Slam, Wow! Inez Cavanaugh 103

19 Plugging a Tune to W. C. Handy, Cutting a Record for RCA Victor 112

20 Louis Armstrong Kick-Starts the Mel-O-Dee Music Shop 123

21 Harry "Father" White, Jitter Bugs, and Bill Coleman's Band 129

22 Turning Off the Lights at Mel-O-Dee Music Shop 138

23 A Danish Nobel Laureate Digs Harlem by Night 145

24 Eddie Condon and That Good Ol' Nicksieland 149

25 There Is Just One King, and He Is the Duke 155

26 Here Lived Diamond Jim Brady and Jazz Baron Rosenkrantz 161

27 The Stupendous "Stuff" of Jazz, Leroy Gordon (Hezekiah) Smith 167

28 Discovering, Befriending, Recording Erroll Garner 173

29 A Great, Big, Fat White Christmas '44 179

30 Timme's Recording Service and Threatened Jazz Concert 182

31 Zeb Julian's Dream and Claude Thornhill's Joke 187

32 Bud Powell Plays Not Being There 191

33 Jam Sessions Outlawed? Come to Café Bohemia! 194

34 Tatum Leads a Black Sheep into Piano Battle at Ruben's 198

35 A Last Record Session and Tour of Haunts 202

36 Coleman Hawkins: The Picasso of Jazz 212

Epilogue: The Song Has Ended, but the Melody Lingers On by Bente Rosenkrantz Arendrup 217

Resources 221

Discography 227

Discography Song Index 271

Discography Musician Index 277

General Index 283

What People are Saying About This

Catherine Russell

Harlem Jazz Adventures drew me into a world I’ve only imagined. The passion and joy of these memoirs is irresistible. Suddenly, all the musicians and clubs I've heard about became three-dimensional, and I couldn't stop reading. Each chapter is a play within a play. From Fats Waller to Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong to Benny Carter, the Savoy Ballroom to 52nd Street. Timme Rosenkrantz was an outsider who fast became an insider. He takes me into the dance halls and clubs, and what a thrill! Thanks to Mr. Garner for bringing this most important book into the English-speaking world.

Michael Cogswell

"I’m just a little layman with an ear for music and a heart that beats for jazz" is how Timme Rosenkrantz modestly describes himself. But his ear and his heart unerringly propelled him into the orbits of Louis Armstrong, Benny Carter, Art Tatum, Fats Waller, W.C. Handy, Duke Ellington, Erroll Garner, Bud Powell, and dozens of other jazz notables. Harlem Jazz Adventures is an insightful and delightfully witty account of jazz people and places, written by one who experienced them firsthand.

Donald Clarke

Timme Rosenkrantz is one of those people we jazz fans have heard of all our lives, but never knew much about. Now, thanks to Fradley Garner's wonderful edition of these memoirs, Timme comes back to life, and I do mean life. He says he was there when the word 'jitterbug' was coined: his stories, his good humor, and all the great personalities he knew, just never stop. This must be what the Golden Age of Jazz was like.

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