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Lovin's Been Here
And Gone To Mecca Flat
"Blythe's Chicago Beginnings"
This beautiful piano solo was recorded in Chicago during May of 1926 featuring Jimmy Blythe at the keys.
After arriving in Chicago from his native Kentucky in 1916 (or 1917) Jimmy Blythe spent the next few years studying tirelessly under the instruction of Clarence M. Jones, perfecting his original piano style. "Mecca Flat" (or Flats) was the name of a notorious low rent housing complex located on Chicago's South Side where the young pianist frequently played parties and may have even lived for a time. In 1922 Blythe attained employment producing piano rolls for the Columbia Music Roll Company and would make his first recorded appearance two years later in April 1924 for the Paramount label.
The "Mecca Flats" apartments in Chicago was an iconic residential structure (located on East 34th Street between South State and South Dearborn streets) originally built in 1882 to house affluent clientele during the Colombian Exposition. Remembered for its massive glass-covered lobbies and intricate wrought-iron railings twenty years after its construction the building would begin to allow African American tenants while still remaining a residence of choice for white middle class professionals.
Residents tried unsuccessfully to keep Mecca Flats alive but the building was demolished in 1952 to make way for the expansion of the Illinois Institute of Technology. I.I.T.'s Crown Hall currently rests on the site.
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