Tuxedo Junction: Alabama's Contribution to American Jazz
July 16, 2013
Albert Murray, a native of Alabama and a professor of English at Tuskegee Institute, wrote the following while preparing a lecture on the emotional appeal of jazz: "Jazz is a music played by Americans to get rid of the blues... when you see a jazz musican playing, you're looking at a pioneer, and you're looking at an explorer; you're looking at an experimenter, you're looking at a scientist; you're looking at all those things because it's the creative process come to life." And many of the jazz musicians responsible for bringing this creative process to life often played at Birmingham's own Tuxedo Junction. For almost thirty years Tuxedo Junction's strip served as the social and entertainment mecca for African Americans in the Birmingham area. In 1930, Erskine Hawkins, Birmingham native and renowned trumpet player and big band leader, wrote the song "Tuxedo Junction," which celebrated and eventually immortalized his childhood community. Jazz pieces performed by the Alabama great will be played throughout the presentation.