Harlemites

Savoy Ballroom: “The Home Of Happy Feet”

Photo: Awning of the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, New York.

The Savoy Ballroom (1926-1958), famously known as “the home of happy feet,” was a world renowned dance ballroom in Harlem, New York. The “world’s finest ballroom” scaled a full city block, from 140th to 141st streets on Harlem’s Lenox Avenue, and was two story’s high, it’s signature marquee stretching well over the sidewalk and nearby stores.

Founded by Moe Gale, a Jewish man, and managed by Charles Buchanan, a Black man, the Savoy from its inception was the first and only integrated dance ballrooms in the whole of New York. On the “track,” its block long dance floor, working class African-American Harlemites and wealthy whites from downtown would lindy hop, jitterbug jive, and rhumboogie the night away under the same lavish cut-glass chandelier.

Gif: 1920s Couple doing the Lindy Hop.

The Savoy Ballroom attracted the talents of jazz and bebop greats like Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakley, Teddy Hill, Johnny Hodges and Thelonious Monk. So great was the dance scene at the Savoy Ballroom, some of the clubs most talented dancers ended up performing in theaters across the world and in feature films.

Photo: Hodges, Johnny Savoy Ballroom (Lenox Avenue, Harlem, New York), Duke Ellington Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.

The drag of the Great Depression and technological advancements in radios and record players made dancing at home and at smaller and cheaper venues more popular. The Savoy closed in 1958 and demolished in 1959 to make way for the Delano Village housing development, known today as Savoy Park. A commemorative plaque was erected in the Savoy’s memory in 2002. The ceremony was attended by swing legends Frankie Manning and Norma Miller, and enthusiast from around the world.

Photo:  Plaque commemorating the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, NYC., Lukeholladay.

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From the moment she first met Ronnie Bennett, LaLa Brooks had noted her sexual precocity, her seductive, come-hither manner.

“I can see her now with her minidress, her hair up, and a drink in her hand…woo! She look grown! Ronnie was just down-to-earth, sleazy—but on a nice level. She would say "Girl, how the fuck are you?’ Ha, ha, ha ‘Girl you are so fucking pretty…’ That was how she spoke. She was always open and she was always a good hearted person from the day I met her.

We’d be in the studio, and she’d have these nice, sexy little outfits on— I think all the musicians would be thinking, Voom, Voom Voom! She carried herself sexy with everyone in the studio so you wouldn’t think of her as just Phil’s—even though she was.” - Tearing Down the Wall of Sound: The Rise and Fall of Phil Spector
By Mick Brown

Cam'ron “Humphrey” (prod. by A-Trak and Party Supplies)

KILLA. In what sounds like an unheard cut from Cam'ron’s Roc days, we get Killa Cam in a lane that he knows oh so well. Some might’ve thought that ‘Harlem’s Larry David" lost it but he reminds you from bottom to the top that he hasn’t. Take it from Killa himself “You must not remember Yung Killa that hustled in his weed spot,” the same Killa that got “8 mill from Reebok.”

On the soulful A-Trak & Party Supplies beat, we find Cam exhibiting that lyrical dexterity and humorous storytelling we’ve come to know the Harlemite for. Expect much more from the two, as “Humphrey” can be found on the upcoming Federal Reserve EP.

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