Dance Card: 3 Mister Charleston Butler

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Lura Johnson, Piano

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Instrumentation: Piano

Total Dance Card Timing: 20 Min.

Mr. Charleston Butler Timing: 2:30


Mr. Charleston Butler is dedicated to: Charles Butler

The Charleston rhythm first became popular with James P. Johnson's 1923 tune of the same name, which in turn took its title from the city in South Carolina. Today, the Charleston epitomizes the era known as the Roaring '20s, with its speakeasies, gangsters, molls, and flappers.

My goal with my own Charleston was to turn up the electricity on the neon dazzle of the jazz age. Mister Charleston Butler uses the syncopated Charleston rhythm and adds the bright dissonance of bitonality. The phrases in two simultaneous keys are relieved by phrases in a single key, albeit spiced with jazzy harmonies.