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Canadian Heritage

John Hammond

John Hammond discusses jazz on televison.

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John Hammond discusses music composition.

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John Hammond discusses his ecperience with racial awareness.

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Q: “We’ve been talking about your musical background but running as a constant thread through your biography – and therefore through your life – is your social awareness…”

A: “Well, that came early. That came because when I was in prep school, I got to know Black musicians. It's simple, you know. I mean, you know, I got to eat with my friends in the hall. I mean, all of them decided that I take them downtown to eat and no way. And then when, in 1932, I decided I wanted to have an integrated theater. You know, where the cast would be integrated and the audiences would be integrated. That was a no-no in 1932, but it was the policy that I had, which was the stage band policy. It antedated the Paramount by a couple of years and it would have made it on 42nd Street, except we couldn't get a decent theater on 42nd because they didn't want to have Blacks downstairs in the theater.”