|Urther Temple (my great-uncle) played in Al Capone's Jazz Orchestra at the Chicago Metropole Hotel in the 1920's|
My old friend, the late Lucky Millinder, a Chicago South Sider and Wendell Phillips High School alumnus, once told me that he did not realize the full implications of Ralph Capone's conversation at that time. Capone's statement became crystal clear during Lucky's first trip to New York in the late 1920s. There he saw the syndicate network unfold through Owney Madden, one of the most notorious of the pre-prohibition bootleggers and a principal owner of Harlem's famous Cotton Club. The mob network was tied together like a musical triad: Madden controlled the East Coast booze and beer distribution; Al Capone reigned over Chicago and its environs; Johnny Lazia controlled the police, liquor wnd gambling in Kansas City, Missouri; and the Purple Gang dominated Detroit. Chicago, New York and Kansas City housed a disproportionate percentage of great jazz talent in America during the 1920s and 30s. These cities were controlled by the Jazz Slave Masters and some of the very best black musicians were their serfs. Talented jazz musicians were chained to bands and specific night clubs and saloons in the same manner as the ante-bellum Negroes were shackled to plantations. Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Jimmie Lunceford, Cab Calloway, Lena Horne and Earl Hines are a few of the many top artists who were inmates behind the "Cotton Curtain" at various points in their careers. All of the aforementioned stars except Earl Hines had worked at the Cotton Club in New York City, which was the best known entertainment plantation in the country between 1924 And 1936. All blacks other than entertainers, waiters, cooks and the cleaning crew were excluded from the interior of the Jazz Slave Master's New York mansion.
Do you know of anyone who played or performed jazz for the gangsters?
|Sunset Cafe or The Grand Terrace Cafe Chicago 315 East 35th Street Bronzeville|
|Earl Hines Orchestra at The Grand Terrace|