That Jazz Craze
Author: Dr. Cameron Hays
Appears in: Harlem Unbound, 2nd edition
Harlem musician Wendell Young has gone missing mere days before releasing the first ever recording of jazz music. The investigators must find the pianist while stopping a dark curse in the process.
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When Harlem musician Wendell Young goes missing, several people notice—not least of which is Casper Holstein, Harlem's "Bolito King," who payed the recording costs for Young's upcoming record of "jass" music. Whether under orders from Holstein or following their own interests, the investigators untangle two webs surrounding the recording session. On the one hand, a "black hand" extortion ring has taken control of the Blue Moon Gramophone Company, where the record was made. They hope to sell the records to make some money. Even more troubling, the investigators find that everyone who has heard the record—from the band members who played on it to the technicians who recorded it—has lost all ability to understand symbolic thought, a condition that leads to suicide or worse. Ultimately, the inquiries reveal that Young made a deal with a strange figure called the "Baron in Blues," and now the recording is curse. The investigators must locate the thousand pressings of the gramophone with Young's maddening song on it and prevent them from being distributed.
- Recording Contract
- Ownership Transfer
- Death Announcement
- Farino's note
- Production ledger
- Blue Moon Recording Studio
- Farino’s apartment
- Blue Moon Fabrication Facility
- Unnamed speakeasy
- Wendell Young’s apartment building
- Paul Scarlotti’s business office
- Casper Holstein’s business office.
- Blue Moon Gramophone Company
- Harlem Hellfighters
- Wendell Young Deluxe Jass Orchestra
The scenario offers four ways to get the investigators involved. One option is that they are hired by Casper Holstein to locate Wendell Young, since the small-time crook knows the police won't care about a missing black musician in debt to him. Alternatively, Young may be a veteran of the Great War and a surviving member of the Harlem Hellfighters; either a Hellfighter investigator or another member of the group gets interested in his disappearance. Another option is for the investigators to themselves be musicians or members of Young's band who are interested in finding him due to personal connections. Finally, if the Keeper plans ahead, the investigators may meet Young or Holstein, or hear rumors of the Baron in Blues, during a previous Harlem-based scenario.