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9410Re: [RedHotJazz] Sidney Arodin & "Up A Lazy River"

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  • Bob Eagle
    Jan 24, 2013
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      If Sidney was "colored passing for white", then it started with his grandparents - his paternal grandfather (and his 6 children, including Sidney's dad, Victor) is listed at Westwego in the 1900 census as white.  The rest of the 50 people listed on that page were also presumably "passing", as they are all listed as "W" (white).  Victor, his father and his eldest brother were all "Fisherman" - maybe their attitude to race was temperred by working alongside black fishermen.

      20 years later, in New Orleans, Sidney and his wife are again listed as white, as were all 50 people listed on the page.
      I realise this doesn't disprove "passing", but if they were passing, the family did it for decades and they were very successful at it.  And if the family culture was "white" then it is likely that Sidney thought of himself that way.
      Unfortunately, this looks like being a comment by a performer designed to curry favor with an enthusiast.  People like Arodin and Brunies were so involved with the roots of the music that they shouldn't have felt the need to prove themselves to be black.

      From: fearfeasa <fearfeasa@...>
      To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Thursday, 24 January 2013 11:41 PM
      Subject: Re: [RedHotJazz] Sidney Arodin & "Up A Lazy River"


      The late Jules Gallé, clarinetist with the Brunies Brothers band from Biloxi, Mississippi, knew Arodin well. He told me in the early 1980s:

      (1) that the melody of Up a Lazy River was most definitely composed by Arodin and was in fact derived from an original practice exercise used regularly by Arodin as a warm-up;

      (2) that Arodin's original title for the piece was "Lazy Nigger" (sic!); and
      (3) that, yes, Arodin WAS "colored passing for white." In that racist society where a black man's efforts attracted something like one tenth of the pay of a white man's, this was done often enough, by those who could get away with it, and that his black compatriots used to laugh about the situation, and applauded his business acumen.

      J. T. Dyamond.

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