East St. Louis… not a place to get lost, especially for a white boy like me. Duke Ellington must have had some good experiences there, though. Listen to this classic piece of music:
The plunger-mute wah-wah trumpet is played by Bubber Miley, a pioneer of trumpet tones. Thirty years later the innovative rock band Steely Dan did a cover of the tune, with wah-wah guitar replacing the trumpet:
Here in America, with all its egregious and overly-consumptive faults, we do have rich and varied musical traditions. It’s a shame that oppressive behaviors had to serve as seeds of much of this music!