“CATCHING AS THE SMALLPOX”: SOCIAL DANCE AND JAZZ, 1917–1935 Important Names and Brief Bios Vernon and Irene Castle: Husband-and-wife dance team who popularized the tango and the fox-trot. The Castles attracted millions of middleclass Americans into ballroom classes, expanded the stylistic range of popular dance, and established an image of mastery, charisma, and romance. They were possibly the biggest media superstars of the World War I era. Original Dixieland Jazz White group from New Orleans led by the cornetist Nick Band: LaRocca. Their recording of “Livery Stable Blues” and “Dixieland Jass Band One-Step” was released in March 1917, and within a few weeks, it had sparked a national fad for jazz music. James Reese Europe (1880– Talented African American pianist and conductor. Played 1919): ragtime piano in cabarets and acted as a musical director for several all-black vaudeville revues. In 1913, Vernon and Irene Castle hired him to be their musical director. From 1913 until 1918, Europe composed music for all of the Castles’ “new” dance steps and provided musicians for their live engagements. Noble Sissle (1899–1975) African American musicians who began their career with and Eubie Blake (1883– James Reese Europe’s orchestra in 1916. In 1921, Sissle 1983): and Blake launched the first successful all-black “CATCHING AS THE SMALLPOX”: SOCIAL DANCE AND JAZZ, 1917–1935 Broadway musical, Shuffle Along. Don Azpiazú (1893–1943): Latin American bandleader during the swing era; his band played music to accompany ballroom adaptations of South American and Caribbean dances. Recorded “El Manicero (The Peanut Vendor)” with his band in 1930. Paul Whiteman (1890–1967) Bandleader for the most successful dance orchestra of the 1920s. He billed himself as the “King of Jazz,” widened the market for jazz-based dance music, and paved the way for the Swing Era.