THE PREVALENCE OF HEROIN DURING THE AGE OF JAZZ MUSIC
- December 8, 2018
Chances are, growing up, you listened to jazz music at some time. Perhaps you heard some of the great masters in a music appreciation class, or your dad happened to be a child prodigy who played the saxophone or trombone endlessly. Either way, this form of music is as influential today as it was during its heyday, when the rapid-fire sound of syncopated drumming and horn-blowing could be heard in cities from St. Louis to New Orleans. Besides the brass and sass, however, did you know that this golden age of American music actually had a dark secret? Despite their initial success, many famous artists fell victim to a dangerous, addictive drug that still afflicts us today: heroin. Let’s take a closer look at the prevalence of this powerful painkiller during the Age of Jazz Music.
“Minnie the Moocher” and Nicky Barnes
One particularly infamous account from this period focuses on Cab Calloway, a jazz celebrity during the 30s who added a whole new perspective on the “jazz drug addict.” In fact, some of his biggest hits focus on (what else?) drug abuse and addiction. For example, “Reefer Man” (1932) focuses on a man who loves marijuana cigarettes. However, “Minnie the Moocher” (1930), Calloway’s most famous song, is a grimmer story about a young woman who becomes addicted to cocaine.
However, it wasn’t until the Harlem Renaissance (1918-1930s) that this region of New York City was swarming with heroin-related activity, thanks to a crime boss called Nicky Barnes. During his reign in the 70s, this drug lord led a crime syndicate (the Council) and ravaged city streets with the painkiller.
Heroin is the Golden Key
Bizarrely, jazz clarinetist Artie Shaw defined the jazz era as born from a booze bottle, raised on marijuana, and set to die from cocaine. In other words, the whole era was rooted in drug abuse and addiction. Even more disturbing, some musicians like Charlie Bird Parker believed that heroin was the golden key to success and that they could perform better with the painkiller running through their veins. It makes you view jazz a bit more differently, doesn’t it?
Always remember that mind-altering drugs do not have control over your life. You do. Are you suffering from a substance use disorder or a severe form of addiction? Do you have a friend or family member suffering from one or more of these debilitating illnesses? If you do, get in touch with Asana Recovery today. Our counselors and healthcare experts are ready to walk you through every step of the detox and withdrawal process and rehabilitation and guide you towards living a happier, healthier, and freer lifestyle. While the road to recovery might not be an easy road to travel, we promise to help you every step of the way. Take the first step to stay fit, healthy, and safe.
The time for you to take back control of your life is now. If you are interested in one of our residential treatment or supervised detoxification/withdrawal programs, we are ready and waiting to speak with you at your disclosure. Call Asana now at (949) 438-4504 to learn how to overcome your drug abuse or addiction troubles today.