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The Bebop Scene in London’s Soho 1945 -1950


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Interesting new book by Ray Kinsella, covered this morning on Robert Elms on BBC Radio London about 36 minutes in:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p0dsrx6f

Slightly shocked to discover the book costs about £100! 
 

my impression is that he is countering the notion that the (mainly white) Club Eleven crowd was the start of Bebop in London. Sounds right up my street but not at £100 a pop!

 

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11 hours ago, adh1907 said:

Interesting new book by Ray Kinsella, covered this morning on Robert Elms on BBC Radio London about 36 minutes in:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p0dsrx6f

Slightly shocked to discover the book costs about £100! 
 

my impression is that he is countering the notion that the (mainly white) Club Eleven crowd was the start of Bebop in London. Sounds right up my street but not at £100 a pop!

 

Would be right up my alley too, particularly the subculture angle beyond pure music making. (The table of contents is promising ...) But at this price? Incidentally, it is already for sale on specialist websites over here too.

However, what I found in an online description of the book made me wary ...

"In an exploration via the intersections of race, class and gender ... Combining a wide range of archival research and theory, ... argues that the bebop story is an important precedent to the institutional harassment of black-related spaces and culture that continued in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This book therefore rewrites the first chapter of the 'classic' subcultural canon ..."

New research that steps outside the trodden paths and a new angle to look at history are very welcome, but the above makes me wonder what kind of agenda (that conforms to current trends of thinking, above all) the author is after ... And I have become wary of authors trying too blatantly to make history match their agendas.
Listening to his interview on BBC hasn't dispelled my misgivings completely.

As for presenting music history in its context of society, from all I have read about Britain (admittedly not nearly all), to me "The Restless Generation - How rock music changed the face of 1950s Britain" by Pete Frame still is a sort of yardstick of how it can be done in an honest, even-handed way. 

Anyway, I'd find it interesting to learn who the early Black exponents of British Bebop were in the very first post-war years. The West Indians' work AFTER the ill-fated Ken Snakehips Johnson era covered to some extent here?

https://www.discogs.com/de/release/7691254-Various-Black-British-Swing

 

Edited by Big Beat Steve
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The best source for this period, I’ve found, is the BBC documentary ‘The Street’, told by the main people then still alive that were there. That and the British Library Oral History Sound Archive, which were no doubt key sources for this dissertation/book.

At £100 I’ll pass - and hear it from the ‘horse’s mouth’ !

Surely the Club 11 crowd had to go on those Queen Mary trips, see Bird etc. and bring the records back and disseminate, which would have taken it well past 1945. Admittedly Art Pepper was a military policeman in London during the tail end of WW2 in London but I guess he doesn’t factor strongly at this stage.

Edited by sidewinder
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