Columnist Ted Toll wrote a scathing article in the October 15, 1939, issue of Down Beat that criticized the value of female vocalists in jazz bands. Although he was largely critical of women in general, he did commend Billie Holiday as representing what he believed to be an exemplary female vocalist. Quite surprisingly the very next issue of Down Beat featured an article in which Billie Holiday stated that she had had enough of singing with all-male bands and would quit the band business.
Toll’s opinion reflected against what was then a growing influx of both beautiful and educated White women into the ranks of many jazz bands. Included in the three readings are pages from the October-December issues of Down Beat magazine that reflect this trend.
The central idea in the paper should relate to Ted Toll’s argument in some way. So first and foremost does Ted Toll have a valid argument in his viewpoint on women jazz vocalists?
Develop a thesis based on the exploration of one of the following questions (as it relates to Ted Toll’s argument in source #1):
How does Ted Toll define a good jazz vocalist? Is there validity to his viewpoint? Relate to Billie Holiday and/or the presentation of women in source #3.
Does Billie Holiday’s experience with all-male bands led by Artie Shaw and/or Count Basie prove that his convictions are correct? Or incorrect?
How might race and/or gender discrimination play in Toll’s argument? Relate to source #2 and/or #3.
Avoid using terms like racist or sexist in the paper. Also, be sure to quote from the sources used and do pay particular attention to the images and captions.
Reading #3 (source #1): Toll, Ted. “The Gal Yippers Have No Place In Our Jazz Bands.” Down Beat 15 October 1939: 16.
Reading #3 (source #2): Dexter, Dave, Jr. “I’ll Never Sing With A Dance Band Again—Holiday.” Down Beat 1 November 1939: 4.
Reading #3 (source #3). Down Beat, October-December 1939
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