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The Ingenues


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"The All-Girl Jazz Band"


In this 1928 Vitaphone film short all-girl eighteen piece novelty jazz orchestra "The Ingenues" are featured playing a line-up of popular tunes of the period. -(See how many you can name.)

Donned in matching white dresses complete with lace and flowers the all-girl band known as "The Ingenues" begin their performance with "Keep Sweeping the Cobwebs off the Moon" an up-tempo piece featuring three brief solos. Then Frances, an accordion player, leads the Orchestra through a fox trot written by Walter Donaldson titled "Changes" featuring eight more accordions. For their next number "Mighty Lak' a Rose" a breathtakingly beautiful harp solo is made even more alluring when it transitions into a cello duet. Then over one dozen banjos are featured for a spirited rendition of "Shaking the Blues Away" complete with vocal chorus. At last, for the Orchestra's finale woodwinds join the banjos and brass for a unique version of the "Tiger Rag".

"The Ingenues" were a vaudevillian all-girl jazz band active in Chicago and touring the U.S. and abroad from 1925 until 1937. Under the management of William Morris, the group performed frequently for variety theaters on the vaudeville circuit, and in picture houses often billed as the opening stage show before a double feature. They headlined on Broadway in the "Ziegfeld Follies of 1927" and were featured in Florenz Ziegfeld's 1929 film "Glorifying the American Girl" with an act featuring twelve white baby grands as well as various combinations of brass bands, strings and woodwinds. They specialized in a an array of genres including Jazz, Tin Pan Alley, light Classical works and Dixieland.

The band was celebrated for its versatility because most members, including star soloist and "trick trombonist" Paula Jones, doubled on both novelty (accordions, banjos) and symphonic instruments. The group toured Europe, South Africa, Asia and Australia and appeared in several film shorts including "The Band Beautiful" and "Syncopating Sweeties" (Vitaphone 1928) and later in "Maids and Music" (RKO, 1937). "Maids and Music" was produced independently by Milton Schwarzwald's Nu-Atlas Productions and released as a 16mm home movie by Pictoreels. Sequences from this and other Schwarzwald short subjects were also re-edited into Soundies. In the case of "Maids and Music" the Soundies excerpt was titled "Ray Fabing's Versatile Ingenues".

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