Big Band Jazz in Black West Virginia
Presented by Christopher Wilkinson
The coal fields of West Virginia would seem an unlikely market for big band jazz during the Great Depression. However, a prosperous African American audience of coal-industry workers created a robust audience for jazz tours. Black Mountaineers flocked to dances by the hundreds to hear bands led by Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Andy Kirk, Jimmie Lunceford, and Chick Webb.