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Drum kit for children 'The Marvel Jazz Outfit'

membranophone

Boom gada gada gada tish!

"Well we got no choice - all the girls and boys - makin' all that noise - 'cause they found new toys ... School's out for summer!" (Alice Cooper, School's Out!).

We're going back to the end of the Roaring Twenties. Radios and gramophones spout music all over the place, and jazz is omnipresent. To occupy the children during the holidays and to introduce them to jazzy sounds and rhythms, the "Marvel Jazz Outfit" was an unbeatable choice...unfortunately, that was, for their parents' ears...

Picture a little boy unpacking this new toy. First he's fascinated by the little brown case, made out of wood and cardboard, with a snakeskin pattern. He opens it carefully and discovers to his delight a bunch of curious tools: a boater and sun glasses to get in the mood, and a whole host of accessories guaranteed to make a racket in all the best ways.

It takes only a few minutes installing everything on the suitcase that serves as a stand to really 'jazz up' this drum kit made of all the essentials. We place the snare drum in the center of the case, fix a tom-tom and rattle on the left edge, and a wood block on the right. A metal bow allows you to hang a cymbal and a triangle, and a castanet, a metal stick to play the triangle and a pair of wooden drumsticks complete the arsenal of percussion instruments. A jazzoflute - a small slide flute - and two kazoos, one shaped like a bird and the other like a saxophone, complete the arrangement. Note that all these accessories are fully functional.

Although designed for children, this amazing portable set of membranophones, idiophones and aerophones gives a pretty good idea, in miniature, of ​​the instruments composing a jazz drum kit in the 1920s. The kit was probably made in Germany, for the American and British markets. Another rare set, almost identical to the mim's exemplar, was on display in the exhibition "Rhythm & Reaction. The Age of Jazz in Britain", held in London in 2018.

Géry Dumoulin (with the help of Megan Thomasson)

 

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Drum kit for children, The Marvel Jazz Outfit, Germany, inv. 2018.0141.001
Drum kit for children, The Marvel Jazz Outfit, Germany, inv. 2018.0141.001
Drum kit for children, The Marvel Jazz Outfit, Germany, inv. 2018.0141.001
Drum kit for children, The Marvel Jazz Outfit, Germany, inv. 2018.0141.001