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Re: "Strange Fruit" was Be-Bop?

"Strange Fruit" was Be-Bop?
October 04, 2014 12:54AM
Our local Mom-'N-Pop is currently selling their used jazz CDs for $2.99 a disc. Seeing as how that's only a few dollars more than trying to steal the things, I took a flyer on a few titles.

One of them was a compilation of be-bop recordings:


However, along with the totally expected Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker selections, one finds "Strange Fruit" by Billie Holiday.

1.) Would anyone care to explain to me what that tune is doing on a be-bop comp?

2.) Would anyone care to educate me on how that song is even tangentially linked to be-bop?

I'm rather flabbergasted, to be honest.
Re: "Strange Fruit" was Be-Bop?
October 04, 2014 06:16AM
That is a weird inclusion. Doesn't sound like bop--of course, doesn't sound much like swing either. I think it was Gunther Schuller who noted that it bore more similarities to European art songs than any US pop music at the time.

Could be argued that the success of Strange Fruit showed that popular music didn't have to only be dance music--that there was a listening audience for intensity & virtuosity & controversy--a concert audience (or at least high class nightclub audience). It's not hot music or sweet music--but another category--which would certainly appeal to the boppers.

Guess the record could also be seen as a harbinger of the less restrictive environment that small labels would offer in the '40s (Columbia turned down Strange Fruit, so Holiday took it to the newly started Commodore). Most of the '40s bop classics weren't recorded for the majors.

So, yeah, I guess Holiday's attitude--her desire for artistic independence--was something that she probably had more in common with many of the boppers than with many of the swing musicians. Her heroin addiction also parallels many of the bop greats.

As music, Strange Fruit doesn't belong in that tracklist; but I think that as a record it presented a lot of alternatives to working as a dance band musician & silently accepting racism--alternatives that the boppers would explore.
Re: "Strange Fruit" was Be-Bop?
October 05, 2014 09:45PM
At least it's not the Catherine Wheel song of the same name.
October 05, 2014 11:41PM
this is a rock roll site.
fuck yer blues and all that jazz.

Post Edited (10-05-14 20:43)
Re: "Strange Fruit" was Be-Bop?
October 06, 2014 01:48PM
Man, like, dig these crazy squares, coming on with all this jive. "Strange Fruit" isn't even the right era - it was recorded in 1937, and bop was a post-war movement, daddy. Ya dig me?
Re: "Strange Fruit" was Be-Bop?
October 06, 2014 05:40AM
STEVE sez:


this is a rock roll site.
fuck yer blues and all that jazz

If you'd like, why not petition the Trouser Press Gods and have them expurgate all the reviews of artists that are influenced by jazz and blues? Be sure to let me know what you have left ... aside from Devo.
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