|The Grand Terrace Sign in window of current Ace Hardware 315 East 35th Street Bronzeville|
|The Grand Terrace Presents Rudy Grier's Autumn Follies|
|Follies Starring Lorres Burrage, SUN RA & Orch. 3 Shows Nitely|
|Breakfast Show Every Mon, Morning|
|Mambo Night Wed.|
"Money was what the plantation system was all about. The Grand Terrace in Chicago was the most
grandiose plantation in the country. Its appointments were more elaborate than New York's Cotton or
Chicago's Club DeLisa. Everything and everybody in the club smelled like money except the black
entertainers. They all sweated for a pittance, including Earl Hines, the internationally renowned band
leader. The band's star trumpet and saxophone player, George Dixon, did not realize how the mob's
plantation system worked until he decided to better his lot in life and gave notice of leaving the Grand
Terrace to join Don Redman's band in Detroit. Don Redman was the brilliant former musical director
of McKinney's Cotton Pickers, Omer Simeon, Hines' alto sax man, and Billy Franklin, the trombonist,
decided to join Dixon in his move to Detroit.
|Original Grand Terrace 3955 S. King Drive|
Dixon told me, 'The day we left Chicago, Ralph Cooper, the producer of the show at the original
Grand Terrace, came out of the club and shook our hands while we were standing near the curb. When
I stepped into my little 1929 Ford and said 'Goodbye,' Cooper replied, 'I am not going to say goodbye
because you'll be back.'
I said, 'Not a chance.'
'Shortly after we arrived in Detroit, Don called his first rehearsal at the Graystone Ballroom. Before we
could play the first note, Don's manager came up and said, 'Where's the three fellows from Earl Hines'
'We all identified ourselves. Don's manager said, 'Well, I just got a call from New York and I won't be
able to use guys.'
'The three of us yelled in unison, 'Does that mean we have to go back to Earl?'
'The manager replied, 'Yeah, that's what it means.'
'After hearing that bad news, the three of us jumped into my little Ford and came back to Chicago. The
mob, through intimidation and organization, had things so well-regulated we couldn't even change
Later Dixon accidentally overheard a conversation between Ed Fox, manager of the Grand Terrace,
and Frank 'The Enforcer' Nitti, the Capone Treasurer, which shed light on what had happened. It
seemed that Joe Fusco, Al Capone's superintendent of breweries who was also plantation overseer at
the Grand Terrace, had called Owney Madden at the Cotton Club in New York, and told him that
Dixon and the boys had to go back to the Grand Terrace. Madden immediately called a member of
the Purple Gang in Detroit, and that individual gave the word directly to Don Redman's manager; the
boys had to return to Chicago. The 'word' was always the final message."
|Excerpt from 'The Jazz Slave Masters' from "An Autobiography of Black Jazz" by Dempsey J. Travis|
|Chicago Jazz Alive on the Southside Map|
|Earl Hines Orchestra at The Grand Terrace|