[78-L] What is a Savannah Band?

Kristjan Saag saag at telia.com.invalid
Wed Nov 29 14:19:00 PST 2017

On 2017-11-29 20:19, David Lennick wrote:
> And what did Havana have to do with the Savoy Havana Band?

Here's what (adding to John Wright's note):

"In 1919, Bert Ralton an American Saxophonist, left Art Hickman's band 
in New York City, went to Havana, Cuba, and formed his own band. About 
1920/1, he arrived in England, and, in March of 1922, his New York 
Havana Band played at London's Coliseum. A few months later they opened 
at the Savoy Hotel as the Savoy Havana Band. On April 23, 1922, they 
first broadcast from a BBC studio, and 5 months later became the first 
dance band to have regular, weekly broadcasts remoted from the Savoy Hotel"

On the other hand: the Caribbean touch was very light in the Savoy 
Havana Band's repertoire. Andrew Homzy writes:

"In their repertoire was both "Hard Hearted Havanna" and "Havana Nagila”

Good joke. The first title was actually "Hard Hearted Hannah" and the 
second a tango called "Havana" by John Schonberger:

Definitely more Caribbean than "Hava Nagila". But that's about it: the 
rest of  Savoy Havana Band's repertoire was thing like "Don't Cry 
Swanee", "A Japanese Sunset" and "Farewell Blues".

But the Caribbean/ Cuban craze hadn't really began. The habanera played 
a part in the development of jazz and popular music in the US in the 
early 1900's, but as a rhythm and a dance. Cuban music as such, 
introduced by Cuban musicians in the US, came about in the late 1920's. 
So even the The New York Havana Band seems to be more of an exotic name 
than referring to a musical trend or rumour.
Still I'd like to know more about why Savannah was chosen as a symbol 
for "music from the south". New Orleans, yes, but Savannah? What 
happened in Savannah? Any Georgians around?

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