Jillian Larkin’s Jazz Playlist from the 1920s
Hi guys! I’m Jillian Larkin, author of Vixen, the first book in the Flappers series. I was extremely excited when Kelsey asked me if I would put together a Jazz Age Playlist for her blog. Not because I already had one ready—though that was a perk. But I am looking forward to sharing the absolutely amazing music of another age with you!
“Down-Hearted Blues” by Bessie Smith
Gloria isn’t a terribly autobiographical character—she’s much feistier than I am. But she did inherit my love of this song. Bessie had an amazing voice and could embody true sadness better than any other singer I’ve ever heard.
“Black and Tan Fantasy” by Duke Ellington
There’s something a little dangerous about this song, which suits Vixen perfectly.
“After You’ve Gone” by Marion Harris
This is another mournful song about love lost. Marion Harris was such a marvelous singer and she pours all her emotion into this tune.
Bandana Babies by Lew Leslie's Blackbirds Orchestra
Here’s a playful one—there’s such pure joy in Jazz Age music!
“The Racket” by the Levee Syncopators
This song technically came out in 1930 but I’m putting it on the list anyway because it’s amazing. If you’re not dancing by the end of the song, I will be very surprised.
“Black Bottom Stomp” by Jelly Roll Morton
Easily one of the best pianists in history, Jelly Roll really shows off his skill in this upbeat song, which is meant to accompany the Black Bottom Stomp dance.
“The Charleston” by James P. Johnson
There are so many versions of the Charleston out there, but something really appeals to me about hearing it on just a piano rather than with a whole band. It doesn’t hurt that James P. Johnson was an absolutely fantastic stride pianist—it almost sounds like two people are playing.
I hope you enjoy listening to some Jazz Age tunes and that they inspire you as much as they inspire me!
Thanks so much Jillian! For more info on Jillian and her Flappers series check out the links below: