On January 1, 1948, a recording ban went into effect, started by James Petrillo of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM). This was Petrillo’s second strike, the first lasting from 1942 to 1944. See a piece on these strikes Here.
St. Louis Park High School held its Lumberjack Days Dance, with “Taxi Calloway’s All-Negro Band” appearing in blackface.
Duke Ellington appeared at the Minneapolis Auditorium on January 21, 1948.
A concert and dance featuring Ella Fitzgerald and Illinois Jacquet was held at the Minneapolis Armory on February 1. Bob Smith was apparently the promoter, and Leigh Kamman of WLOL was the emcee.
The WCCO program “Neither Free Nor Equal” won an award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews.
Arty “Fritz” Watkins and the Northern Lights with Mercedes Brown, vocalist, played a dance at the CIO Hall on February 27.
In April 1948 the “We Call it Jazz” radio program was broadcast from the Treasure Inn, which announced that no set-ups or beer would be served during the program.
The Phyllis Wheatley House was the site of the “Jim Jam Jump” dance given by the Cordileon Society, music by the Prince Rogers Combo.
Kenneth Stuart: “In 1948, I believe it was, I went to the Flame in St. Paul to worship at the stage/altar where Anita O’Day was performing. It was great being at a table in the front and seeing her up close. I was fairly young then and wasn’t yet sure what music I liked best but I wasn’t interested in be-bop. It was music none of us understood and as we went to various venues around we were amazed at, what seemed to us, freneticism in movement, of fingering, of drummers and horn players not seeming to be in accord with each other. We were snobs but didn’t know it. Dixieland was more acceptable than what they were playing. The Duke, Count, Earl, Woody, Artie, Tommy, Jimmy. These artists were where it was at and I’m sure that our reticence to accept the bebop cacophony was the reason it took so long for it to be, at least, partially accepted. Not only in the Cities but elsewhere as well.”
KSTP-TV was the first television station in Minnesota, signing on the air April 27, 1948, from the Prom Ballroom. Some local musicians that took part in the first telecast were Johnny Bravus (sic), tenor; Jack Donovan, trombone; Dougie Peterson, bass; Sid Osterlund, drums; and Wally Morgan, piano. The effort was masterminded by John (?) Wolf, a local radio DJ. Kenneth Stuart says he wasn’t there but roomed with Jack Donovan who said it was a “trip.”
In April 1948 Radio City Theater hosted Stan Kenton and His Orchestra, June Christy, and the King Cole Trio. Also on the bill was the Wallace Beery film “Alias a Gentleman.” While in town Nat King Cole was refused admittance to the Carnival Club, where he had been invited to a party. The club issued an apology.
On May 31, 1948, the Duke and Duchess Club hosted a matinee dance at the Treasure Inn with music by Hensley Hills’ Band.
A Mardi Gras benefit dance was held at the Phyllis Wheatley House on June 18, 1948, sponsored by Musicians’ Local #73. Music was provided by Stanley Berry and His Barons, and Lillian Goodhue directed the stage show.
A Labor Day Cabaret Ball was held at Norway Hall on September 8, 1948, featuring Chet Christopher and the Northwest’s Leading BeBop Artists, which appear to have been from out of town.
A Halloween Dance at Stem Hall featured the Chester Harris Orchestra, “the sweetest music band in the Twin Cities.”
KSTP’s Sunset Valley Barn Dance was broadcast from the St. Louis Park High School auditorium on December 17. The event was sponsored by the Mohawks, which were similar to the Boy Scouts, as a fundraiser to build a cabin.
By at least 1948, WCCO had a competitor to the Sunset Valley Barn Dance, the Red River Valley Gang. See TV Shows
David LaVay was a dance teacher headquartered at the Dyckman Hotel, teaching ballroom, tap, ballet, and stage routines.
The 1948 candidates in What Was the First Rock ‘n’ Roll Record? by Jim Dawson and Steve Propes are:
- “Tomorrow Night” by Lonnie Johnson
- “Good Rockin’ Tonight” by Wynonie Harris and His All Stars
- “We’re Gonna Rock, We’re Gonna Roll” by Wild Bill Moore
- “It’s Too Soon to Know” by the Orioles
- “Boogie Chillun” by John Lee Hooker
- “Guitar Boogie” by Arthur Smith and the Crackerjacks