The First and Last Temptation

Yesterday was International Women’s Day. The most international woman I know is Shannah, the half-sister of my first girlfriend, Marilyn Godfrey. Shannah’s father was a Filipeno, and her mother’s father was a Jew. Shannah was married to Ron Jefferson, Les McCann’ drummer. She was living in Paris when I met Marilyn. Shannah co-authored a novel about Fela Kuti ‘A Bitch of a Life, with Carlos Moore.

Marilyn and I were fifteen and sixteen when we met. She took me into the Hollywood Hills to meet Les, who was like a father to Marilyn who lived in his home with his French wife during the summers. Marilyn was befriended by Jazz trombonist, J.J. Johnson who may have been known to the German Swing Kids who rebelled against Hitler’s ideology.

Marilyn changed my life course. She had just read ‘The Last temptation of Jesus Christ’ a novel that played a big role in our lives, for when her mother found it under her bed, she burned it and forbid my first girlfriend to see me again – or she would have me arrested. I got my own copy, and finished it, alone. My Christ-complex was set in stone.

To see all the reversals the Christian radical politician is making in the inroads I was apart of, is heart-breaking. The scene of Jesus with his children coming upon Paul the corrupter of his teaching, is very applicable to my life.

I have known culture shock and culture warfare. I was on the frontline. We were America’s Swing Kids. The first album I bought was Bo Diddley. I stole an African Drum album from Rexall drugs and practiced my moves before a mirror. I invented dancing without a partner at Oakland Highschool in 1961. I did a mean pony that propelled me fifteen feet from my partner while fifty of my peers formed a circle around us.

I pegged my black pants and wore Spannish boots. I carried white drumsticks with red flames painted on them in 1959. I wore a leather jacket with a surreal chessboard I painted on the back. I played chess during the summer. My artwork toured the world in a Red Cross show. My paintings made young women cry.

This is the “toughest” rock video ever made. These girls are “tough” as the youth of Oakland would say about a beautiful sexy girl. This was open rebellion. This hip-action – rocked the world!

Have you noticed the solar flares that are a sign of the end days in the movie 2012.

Jon Presco

The name “Swing Kids” (Swing Kinder) is a rough translation of the German Swingjugend (“Swing Youth”), which was a sort of parody of the numerous youth groups that flourished before the National Socialists. They also referred to themselves as Swings or Swingheinis (“Swingity”); the members were called “Swing-Boy”, “Swing-Girl” or “Old-Hot-Boy”.
[edit] Counter-culture
During the Nazi regime, many of the youth in Germany (ages 10 to 17) were encouraged to join the Hitler Youth. The leaders of this organization realized they had to offer some attraction in the area of social dancing in order to recruit new members.[2] Instead of adopting the popular swing dance (because it was viewed as degenerate and tied to the “damnable jazz’), they resorted to the new-German community dances.[2]
This proved to be unsuccessful, because instead of embracing the Hitler Youth pastimes, city girls and boys crowded the swing dance joints.[2] This seemed to be the case particularly in the town of Hamburg, where the swing scene was at large.[2] These teenage hoppers were known as “Swing–Heinis”, a name the authorities called them.[2]
They danced in private quarters, clubs, rented halls, and more notably, Café Heinze.[2] These adolescents dressed a little differently than the others who were opposed to swing. For example, boys added a little British flair to their clothes by homburg hats, growing their hair long, and attaching a Union Jack pin to their jacket.[2] Girls wore short skirts, applied lipstick and fingernail polish, and wore their hair long and down instead of applying braids or German-style rolls.[2]
For those designated non-Aryan, it became even more dangerous to be associated with the swing crowd by November 1938, during and after Kristallnacht.[2] Affiliation with the jazz culture was damaging whenever other incriminating information could be factored into a formula for persecution.[2] For example, many half-Jews (Mischlings) were sought out and persecuted before others if they were known as Swing Kids.[2]
Jazz music was offensive to Nazi ideology, because it was often performed by blacks (Negros) and a number of Jewish musicians. They called it Negermusik (“Negro Music”) or “degenerate music”—coined in parallel to entartete Kunst (“degenerate art”).[1] Moreover, song texts defied Nazi ideology, going as far as to promote sexual permissiveness or free love.[1] Despite this, not all jazz was forbidden in Germany at the time.[3]
The Swing Kids were initially basically apolitical, similar to their zoot suiter counterparts in North America. A popular term that the swing subculture used to define itself was Lottern, roughly translated as something between “laziness” and “sleaziness”, indicating contempt for the pressure to do “useful work” and the repressive sexual mores of the time. Reports by Hitler Youth observers of swing parties and jitterbug went into careful detail about the overtly sexual nature of both. One report describes as “moral depravity” the fact that swing youth took pleasure in their sexuality.
The Swing Kids were defining a counter-culture, shown by their clothing and music. Their behavior, described by many Nazis as effete, ran counter to the spartan militarism that the regime was trying to inculcate in its youth. They organized dance festivals and contests and invited jazz bands. These events were occasions to mock the Nazis, the military and the Hitlerjugend — hence the famous “Swing heil!”, mocking the infamous “Sieg Heil!”.[4] Swing Kids wore long hair and hats, carried umbrellas and met in cafés and clubs. They developed a jargon mostly made of Anglicisms.
[edit] Ways of resistance
Though they were not an organized political-opposition organization, the whole culture of the Swing Kids evolved into a non-violent refusal of the civil order and culture of National Socialism.
From a paper of the Youth Guidance office:
“The members of the Swing youth oppose today’s Germany and its police, the Party and its policy, the Hitlerjugend, work and military service, and are opposed, or at least indifferent, to the ongoing war. They see the mechanisms of National Socialism as a “mass obligation”. The greatest adventure of all times leaves them indifferent; much to the contrary, they long for everything that is not German, but English.”
From 1941, the violent repression by the Gestapo and the Hitlerjugend shaped the political spirit of the swing youth. Also, by police order, people under 21 were forbidden to go to dance bars, which encouraged the movement to seek its survival in clandestinity.
The strict regimentation of youth culture in Nazi Germany through the Hitler Youth led to the emergence of several underground protest movements, through which adolescents were better able to exert their independence. There were street gangs (Meuten) of working class youths who borrowed elements from socialist and communist traditions to forge their own identities, and there were less politically motivated groups, such as the Edelweiss Pirates (Edelweißpiraten), who acted in defiance of Hitler Youth norms. A third group, consisting mainly of upper middle class youths, based their protest on their musical preferences, rejecting the völkisch music propagated by the party for American jazz forms, especially swing.
[edit] Connection with the Weiße Rose
The Swing Kids of Hamburg at some point had contacts with another famous resistance movement, when three members of the Weiße Rose (“White Rose”) developed a sympathy for the Swing Kids. No formal cooperation arose, though these contacts were later used by the Volksgerichtshof (“People’s Court”) to accuse some Swing Kids of anarchist propaganda and sabotage of the armed forces. The consequent trial, death sentences and executions were averted by the end of the war.

Bebop or bop is a style of jazz characterized by fast tempo, instrumental virtuosity and improvisation based on the combination of harmonic structure and melody. It was developed in the early and mid-1940s. It first surfaced in musicians’ argot some time during the first two years of American involvement in the Second World War. This style of jazz ultimately became synonymous with modern jazz, as either category reached a certain final maturity in the 1960s.

J. J. Johnson (born James Louis Johnson; January 22, 1924, Indianapolis, Indiana – February 4, 2001) was a United States jazz trombonist, composer and arranger. He was sometimes credited as Jay Jay Johnson.
Johnson was one of the first trombonists to embrace bebop music. He has long been regarded as one of the leading trombonists of the post-swing era, exerting a pervasive influence on other jazz musicians.[1]

Big bands
After studying the piano beginning at age 9, Johnson decided to play trombone at the age of 14. In 1941, he started his professional career with Clarence Love, and then played with Snookum Russell in 1942. In Russell’s band he met the trumpeter Fats Navarro, who influenced him to play in the style of the tenor saxophonist Lester Young. Johnson played in Benny Carter’s orchestra between 1942 and 1945, and made his first recordings in 1942 under Carter’s leadership, recording his first solo (on Love for Sale) in October, 1943. In 1944, he took part in the first Jazz at the Philharmonic concert, presented in Los Angeles and organized by Norman Granz.[2] In 1945 he joined the big band of Count Basie, touring and recording with him until 1946.
[edit] Bebop
While the trombone was featured prominently in dixieland and swing music, it fell out of favor among bebop and later jazz fusion musicians, largely because instruments with valves and keys (trumpet, saxophone) were believed to be more suited to bebop’s often rapid tempos and demand for technical mastery. In 1946, Bebop “co-inventor” Dizzy Gillespie encouraged the young trombonist’s development with the comment, “I’ve always known that the trombone could be played different, that somebody’d catch on one of these days. Man, you’re elected.”[3]
After leaving Count Basie in 1946 to play in small bebop bands in New York clubs, Johnson toured in 1947 with Illinois Jacquet. During this period he also began recording as a leader of small groups featuring Max Roach, Sonny Stitt and Bud Powell. He performed with Charlie Parker at the 17 December 1947 Dial Records session following Parker’s release from Camarillo State Mental Hospital.[4]
In 1951, with bassist Oscar Pettiford and trumpeter Howard McGhee, he toured the military camps of Japan and Korea before returning to the United States and taking a day job as a blueprint inspector. Johnson admitted later he was still thinking of nothing but music during that time, and indeed, his classic Blue Note recordings as both a leader and with Miles Davis date from this period. Johnson’s compositions Enigma and Kelo were recorded by Davis for Blue Note and J. J. was part of the Davis studio session band that recorded the jazz classic Walkin’ (1954).

Charlie and his Orchestra (also referred to as the “Templin band” and “Bruno and His Swinging Tigers”) were a Nazi-sponsored German propaganda swing band. Jazz music styles were seen by Nazi authorities as rebellious but ironically, propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels conceived of using the style in shortwave radio broadcasts aimed at the United States and (particularly) the United Kingdom.
British listeners heard the band every Wednesday and Saturday at about 9 pm. The importance of the band in the propaganda war was underscored by a BBC survey released after World War II, which indicated that that 26.5 percent of all British listeners had at some point heard programmes from Germany.[1] The Propaganda Ministry also distributed their music on 78 rpm records to POW camps and occupied countries.

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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1 Response to The First and Last Temptation

  1. Reblogged this on Rosamond Press and commented:

    Marilyn placed this painting I did of Jesus walking in the wilderness at the foot of her bed. I am going to replicate it. Her mother became concerned and forced me to go to Billy Graham meetings. My movie The Magdalene In La La Land is going to be a blockbuster!

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