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MMD > Archives > January 2010 > 2010.01.22 > 02Prev  Next

Wurlitzer's Cuban Danzon Style 165 Rolls
By Matthew Caulfield

If you look at one of Wurlitzer's large APP (65-note Automatic
Player Piano) roll catalogs, you will find rolls containing many
kinds of ethnic music, Spanish, German, Czech, Greek, Mexican, etc.
But ethnicity never played a role in Wurlitzer's output of style 165
rolls, except for a brief period around 1921-1922, when the company
issued five Cuban danzón rolls.

The explanation apparently lies in the fact that a style 165 band organ
with serial number 3300 was shipped on July 30, 1920, to New York City,
bound for L. Gallart, of Santiago, Cuba.  Whether that was the only 165
band organ that ended up in Cuba is difficult to say, because many of
the company's products were shipped first to Wurlitzer salesrooms in
various large cities.

One of the five danzón rolls still survives, roll 6524.  The
interesting thing about it is that, although the music is distinctly
Cuban and the tunes are not recognizable to the average American today
(and may not have been any more recognizable when the roll was first
issued), several of them contain interpolated passages from well-known
tunes that appear on other Wurlitzer rolls.

For example, tune 3, Antonio Maria Romeu's "El Manzanero," goes gaily
dancing along, when suddenly it breaks into a dozen bars of Mary Earl's
"Beautiful Ohio," then resumes where it left off with Romeu's music.
Other danzóns on that roll interpolate "Ja-Da, Ja-Da, Ja-Da
(Jing-Jing-Jing)," "On Miami Shore (Golden Sands Of Miami),"  and
"Chong (He Come From Hong Kong)."

It seems as though Wurlitzer was trying to cross-pollinate the Cuban
music market.

Matthew Caulfield
Irondequoit, New York

 [ Atón : "The precursors of danzón
 [ are the contradanza and the habanera, which are creolized Cuban
 [ dance forms."  At is
 [ a danzón performance with some choreographed Mexican dance steps;
 [ the influence of the contradanza is evident.  More history at
 [   -- Robbie

(Message sent Fri 22 Jan 2010, 14:15:12 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  165, Cuban, Danzon, Rolls, Style, Wurlitzer's

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