Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Celebrating Jimmie Lunceford & The Music Of Manassas High (11/15/2012) Panel Discussion


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this show are not the official views, opinions, beliefs or perspectives of  W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News or The W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Group Inc....W.E. A.L.L. B.E. News is an organization that thoroughly believes in supplementing the information narrative that is usually supplied by the corporate news entities with those viewpoints/expressions which may be marginalized or ignored for a plethora of reasons...We are about informing the general public on alternative perspectives as it relates to news and information and letting the general public be the ultimate judge in deciding on how to use said information...Informed citizens are responsible citizens...Thank you for your support!!!


W.E. A.L.L. B.E. TV: Celebrating Jazz Great Jimmie Lunceford & The Music Of Manassas High~11/15/2012

Celebrating Jimmie Lunceford & The Music Of Manassas High(2012) Part 1...Panel Discussion

Celebrating Jimmie Lunceford & The Music Of Manassas High, 11/15/2012 @ Rhodes College sponsored by The Mike Curb Institute & The Jimmie Lunceford Jamboree Festival (JLJF). (Left to Right): Memphis Music Legend Bro. Emerson Able, Jr., Mike Curb Institute Director Dr. John Bass & JLJF Founder Bro. Ron Herd II aka r2c2h2 tha artivist discussed the profound impact of Jimmie Lunceford on Memphis music history and education. Jazz great Jimmie Lunceford voluntarily started music education in the Memphis City Schools and thus changed the course of American Music History. For More Information On The JLJF please visit the official website:


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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Purpose of The Jimmie Lunceford Festival (JLJF)

 The Purpose of  The Jimmie Lunceford Jamboree Festival

"Jimmie Lunceford has the best of all bands. Duke [Ellington] is great, [Count] Basie is remarkable, but Lunceford tops them both."-- Legendary Swing Band Leader Glenn Miller (Determeyer, 2006)

“The music still sounds good, and it still inspires me, you know. I just think that band had everything. It was just one helluva band.”--Jazz Great Horace Silver (Determeyer, 2006)
"Manassas had the first orchestra of any school in the city with Mr. Lunceford. He was a good disciplinarian, a good teacher, and the students just had a fit over him. Lunceford played sophisticated jazz. I used to practice with them."-- Kathryn Perry Thomas, Beloved Memphis Educator & Manassas High Class of 1932 (, 2008)
"He would come over to the school each and every time he would play Memphis. His band would perform for the [Manassas] student body, and our band, the Little Rhythm Bombers, would play for him. This is where most of us, as students, saw him. He would bring the big band over to Manassas and perform."
--Memphis Music Great, Educator & Manassas Rhythm Bomber Emerson, Jr. (, 2008)

The Jimmie Lunceford Jamboree Festival is an organization and movement founded by Ronald Cortez Herd II also known as R2C2H2 Tha Artivist in August 2007.  The purpose of the Jimmie Lunceford Jamboree Festival (JLJF) is to bring awareness about Jimmie Lunceford and to instill community pride in the achievements and accomplishments of a native Memphian who never forgot Memphis. The JLJF through several initiatives will instill pride in the Memphis City Schools and greater Memphis community by developing a strong advocacy campaign for promoting music education and appreciation in the public schools by building upon the historical model pioneered by jazz great Jimmie Lunceford as well as promoting and documenting the Jimmie Lunceford legacy through collaborative initiatives/projects with Memphis area cultural and educational institutions and the greater Memphis community. . .

Jimmie Lunceford was a true advocate of constructivist theory because becoming knowledgeable involves acquiring the symbolic meaning structures appropriate to one’s society, and, since knowledge is socially constructed, individual members of society may be able to add to or change the general pool of knowledge (Merriam, Caffarella & Baumgartner, 2007). By voluntarily introducing music education into the Memphis City Schools system and arguably starting the first ever jazz studies program ever taught at a public school in the USA, Jimmie Lunceford did just that in true maverick pioneer style no less.  Jimmie Lunceford’s remains are interred at the famous Elmwood Cemetery along with his wonderful legacy. Hopefully in 2013 and many years to come the JLJF plans to change that by initiating a city wide cultural awareness campaign 65 plus years in the making.

In observation of his 110th birthday & and the 65th anniversary of his death (which is actually the calendar year of 2012), the JLJF is planning several events throughout the Memphis area in April, June, July, October & November 2013 to celebrate this unsung hometown hero and music genius. To that end the Jimmie Lunceford Jamboree Festival (JLJF) will be doing collaborations with local arts organizations, educational institutions (the Memphis City Schools, Rhodes College, University of Memphis, LeMoyne Owen College and Christian Brothers University) and grassroots organizations to manifest this reality. The purpose of the JLJF is not only to entertain but to also disseminate to educate to liberate. The JLJF is trying to get more junior and high school band directors aware of the accomplishments of one of their own in order for them to raise the level of expectations of themselves in terms of teaching and leadership as well as of their students in terms of self-awareness (self-esteem) and musicianship.

Determeyer, E. (2006). Rhythm Is Our Business: Jimmie Lunceford & The Harlem Express. Ann
Arbor: The University of Michigan Press. Blue Heaven: Rediscovering Jimmie Lunceford. Last page update
10/14/2008. Last retrieved 10/13/2012 from

Lodico, M., Spaulding, D., & Voegtle, K. (2010). Methods in educational research: From theory
to practice (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons.

Merriam, S. B., Caffarella, R. S., & Baumgartner, L. M. (2007). Learning in Adulthood: A
Comprehensive Guide (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

R2C2H2 Tha Artivist. (2011). Jazznocracy At Its Finest: Jimmie Lunceford Mississippi Blues Trail Marker Ceremony. Last page update 7/7/2011. Last retrieved 10/13/2012 from

"The Lunceford Way" Print Signed By 'Tha Artivist' For Only $20...Gets Yours Today!!!

"The Lunceford Way" by r2c2h2 (6/1/2011, 30" x 40" ink pen and whiteout)
"The Lunceford Way" Print Signed By 'Tha Artivist' For Only $20...Gets Yours Today!!!

About "The Lunceford Way"

 This is my tribute to Jazz Legend Jimmie Lunceford who was the first high school band director and started music education in The Memphis City Schools back in the 1920s. He was not even hired to be a music instructor but yet believed in the power of music to change lives and wanted to share his passions with young people...He took his band, composed of his best high school students and buddies from Fisk University, left Memphis and became the house band at the famous Cotton Club...His orchestra was also the number one attraction at the legendary Apollo Theatre for a decade and was known as the Harlem Express, the number one band of choice for African Americans IN THE NATION DURING THE 1930s AND THE 1940s...He Was Known As The King Of The Battle Of The Bands Because His Orchestra Would Constantly Beat Those Lead By Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller in popularity contests and cut throat competition...

If You Want To Order An Autographed 11" x 17" Print Signed By "Tha Artivist" (Without The Watermarks) For Just $20 Plus $6 Shipping & Handling Then Go To The Following Link:

To learn more about Jimmie Lunceford & The Jimmie Lunceford Jamboree Festival Please Visit The Following Link:

Or you can mail us a money order:
Attn: Ronald Herd II
"The Lunceford Way Art Print"
P.O. Box 752062
Memphis,TN 38175

The Jimmie Lunceford Jamboree Festival Needs Your Support...Give To Grow The Movement!

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Monday, November 12, 2012

11/15/2012~Celebrating Jimmie Lunceford and Manassas High @ Rhodes College

Ron Herd II aka r2c2h2 tha artivist
Phone: 901-299-4355

"Jimmie Lunceford has the best of all bands. Duke [Ellington] is great, [Count] Basie is remarkable, but Lunceford tops them both."
-- Legendary Swing Band Leader Glenn Miller

The Mike Curb Institute for Music invites you to Rhodes College in Memphis,TN, on Thursday, November 15 for a very special evening honoring Jimmie Lunceford and the musical legacy of Manassas High School.

In honor of Lunceford’s 110th Birthday and the 65th Anniversary of his Death, a series of events will be held that explore his legacy as a famous bandleader during the Swing Era of the 1930s and 1940s, and his role as band director at Manassas High School, where he became the father of jazz education in the United States.

The rich musical tradition of Manassas High School will also be a point of exploration and celebration during the evening. Among the school’s distinguished alumni are Gerald Wilson, George Coleman, Booker Little, Hank Crawford, Frank Strozier, Charles Lloyd, Emerson Able Jr., Harold Mabern, Howard Grimes, and Isaac Hayes.

“Celebrating Jimmie Lunceford and the Music of Manassas High”
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Rhodes College

* 5:00 p.m. – Reception and viewing of Rhodes Student research on Manassas (Crain Reception Hall)

* 6:15 p.m. – Panel Discussion featuring Emerson Able, Jr. and Ron MBA Herd II aka r2c2h2 tha artivist (McCallum Ballroom)

* 7:30 p.m. – Concert featuring the Rhodes Jazz Band with special guest vocalist and Manassas alumna Earlice Taylor (McCallum Ballroom)

* In addition to and in conjunction with our events, Emerson Able, Jr. will be presented with a Beale Street Brass Note on Wednesday, November 14 at 5:30 p.m. at the Historic Daisy Theater on Beale Street.

***All Events Are Free And Open To The Public.***

 For more about Jimmie Lunceford and the Jimmie Lunceford Jamboree Festival (JLJF) please visit

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Jimmie Lunceford's Orchestra Was Number 1 Band Of Choice Among West Virginia Blacks...

May 2nd, 2012
Legend has it that the Big Band or “Swing” Era in the United States began in 1935 at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles when Benny Goodman and his orchestra began playing exciting “hot” new jazz and the jitterbug appeared as the new dance craze.

But according to West Virginia University music history professor Christopher Wilkinson’s new book, “Big Band Jazz in Black West Virginia, 1930-1942,” for black Mountaineers, the Big Band Era actually began almost a year earlier—in September 1934—at the National Guard Armory in Fairmont, where a black audience of 700 people danced to the music of African-American bandleader Jimmie Lunceford.
Wilkinson’s research shows that West Virginia’s unique economic conditions in the 1930s and early 1940s provided the foundation for an extraordinary musical culture in the coal mining areas of the state.

“No scholars studied this musical culture until now. This is new research,” Wilkinson said. “To many West Virginians, this may seem utterly unimaginable, given their understanding of the state’s musical traditions, but among African Americans living in the state, this was once common knowledge.”

Wilkinson specializes in the history of African-American music with particular attention to jazz. While researching another project, he listened to a recorded interview with New Orleans saxophonist Herb Hall, who traveled with big bands during the 1930s.

During the interview, Hall observed that: “All the bands were goin’ through West Virginia in those days, because the mines were in operation and everyone was employed.”

Surprised and intrigued, Wilkinson began pursuing the implications of Hall’s statement.
He researched the bands in old issues of The Pittsburgh Courier, one of two or three national African American newspapers of the time, as well as in other sources.

Before long, his research turned up a network of African-American entrepreneurs in West Virginia in the 1930s—with connections to a booking agent in New York—who organized the appearances by the big bands, which in those days were touring by bus throughout the country.

 “The dances in West Virginia usually took place at National Guard armories, the gyms of black high schools or other rented spaces,” Wilkinson said. “They were segregated, but if on occasion a popular band came to play for blacks, whites would buy tickets to sit in the balcony and watch.

“And when the same African American bands played for the white audiences, the blacks watched from the balcony.”

Big Bands In The Coalfields

In the southern part of the state, the bands played mostly in Beckley, Bluefield, Charleston, Huntington, and less often, Welch and Williamson.

In the north, many of the dances took place in Morgantown and Clarksburg, but mostly in Fairmont because it was in the center of the northern (“Fairmont”) coalfield and had the largest black population of any town in that region.

The bands that played in the north also attracted fans from the eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, as well as Cumberland, Md., and Uniontown and Connellsville in Pennsylvania.

“Audiences in these areas had to undertake some serious mountain driving to attend the dances. Obviously, there were no interstate highways at that time, and it took several hours to drive one way,” Wilkinson said.
During the early 1930s, most of the bands that visited the Mountain State were “territory bands” that came from as far south as Florida, as far west as Texas and as far east as New York.

“Up until that time, the music scene in West Virginia was not very different from that of other states in the region,” Wilkinson said. “But in 1934, an unmistakable transformation occurred.

“Big-name bands from New York City—bands which had a national following—began to take notice of West Virginia’s improved economic circumstances, and the surge of interest in public dances was dramatic.

“For the next few years, these name bands played their way through the heart of the West Virginia coalfields by means of three, four or even five engagements on consecutive nights.

“It appears that local entrepreneurs were confident of attracting large crowds of dancers to successive engagements,” he said.

These big name bands included those led by Cab Calloway, Andy Kirk, Chick Webb,
and Don Redman, a native of Piedmont, W.Va., who by the 1930s was based in New York. Duke Ellington played three times in West Virginia: once in Fairmont in April, 1934, and twice in Charleston, in March 1935 and on Christmas Eve 1937.

Jimmie Lunceford And His Orchestra

There were many big-name bands that played in West Virginia, but Jimmie Lunceford’s orchestra played here more than any of the others—a total of 19 times between Sept. 1934 and May 1942. It was one of the most popular black dance bands of the 1930s and 40s, and had been the house band for the Cotton Club in Harlem, following in the footsteps of Ellington and Calloway.

When Lunceford debuted in Fairmont in September 1934, fans came from Cumberland, Piedmont, Weston, Elkins, Morgantown, Clarksburg and Uniontown. Some of the repertory performed in Fairmont that night was no doubt music Lunceford’s band had previously performed to great acclaim at the Cotton Club, including the songs: “White Heat,” “Jazznocracy” (Lunceford’s theme song),”Breakfast Ball,” “Here Goes a Fool,” “Miss Otis Regrets,” “Unsophisticated Sue” and “Star Dust.” It also played its own arrangements of Ellington’s “Mood Indigo” and “Sophisticated Lady.”

“Lunceford’s band was different because it played and recorded a varied repertory that ranged from ‘sweet’ to hot jazz numbers,” Wilkinson said. “It included music for dancing, sentimental ballads, novelty tunes, and virtuoso ‘flag wavers.’”

Black mountaineers knew Lunceford’s music long before he appeared in Fairmont because they heard his band on the radio. The same would be true for many of the other touring dance bands.
“The impact of radio was profound,” Wilkinson said. “Electricity was widely available in the coalfields because it was essential to operate the mines.

“Seventy percent of the houses in company towns had electricity by 1927, when in much of the rest of the state electrification was rare or nonexistent. This made the coalfields cosmopolitan, and linked to the national culture.”

“The dances were organized by members of the black middle class, but by far the largest proportion of the audience members were miners and their families—the working class,” Wilkinson said.

Black Miners Prosper Under New Deal

Why did so many black bands make it a point to tour the Mountain State?

“The simple answer is that black West Virginians enjoyed a degree of prosperity little known elsewhere in African America, and this was due to industrial policies associated with Roosevelt’s New Deal, which regulated and stabilized the coal industry,” Wilkinson said.

In 1933, the coal operators of the state and the United Mine Workers of America agreed to abide by the terms of the federal Bituminous Coal Code, which established uniform prices for all grades of coal and also allowed miners to organize and set union contracts.

“The United Mine Workers of America then shot around the coalfields and they were racially integrated,” Wilkinson said.

“Since the Union was racially integrated and contracts applied to all union members, African-American miners in the state received the same pay as whites. Additionally, thanks to the stabilizing of the industry, wages began to increase dramatically after 1933. Miners had money to spend, and many chose to spend some of it going to dances.

“Another consequence was that black miners in West Virginia could afford to pay touring dance bands more per engagement than did African American dancers—and European American ones, for that matter—elsewhere in the region,” he said.

End Of An Era

Ironically, it was also the mining industry that brought the glory days of the big bands in West Virginia to an end by the early 1940s.

That’s when a machine called the Joy Loader replaced the individual miners shoveling coal and black miners were the first ones fired.

“Also, when World War II came, it made it impossible for the bands to tour and the Swing Era for African Americans came to a halt,” Wilkinson said.
“Gas was rationed, the bands couldn’t get new tires for their buses, and there was no metal for new instruments.

“By the summer of 1942 the lively musical culture of big band jazz and dance music in black West Virginia came to an end,” he said.

Looking back on this period, Wilkinson noted the importance of those dances, each attended by hundreds of people. These social occasions brought the black community together, provided opportunities to socialize with people who might live at some distance from one another, and enabled everyone to hear and dance to some of the greatest bands of the Swing Era.

Wilkinson’s research demonstrates that the musical life of the Mountain State back then was varied.
“It was not just fiddles, banjos, and dulcimers, as many people believe,” he said. “It also included trumpets, saxophones, pianos, trombones and drums as well!”

By Charlene Lattea

WVU College of Creative Arts

CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts