Introduction The Ambiguous Culture Jazz in the Weimar Republic

Michael H. Kater

in Different Drummers

Published in print May 2003 | ISBN: 9780195165531
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199872237 | DOI:
Introduction The Ambiguous Culture Jazz in the Weimar Republic

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Much of Berlin's light-entertainment culture was in one way or another intertwined with the new art from America, jazz. Jazz was imported to Germany at the very end of World War I, when it already had a footing in England and France. It is likely that German prisoners of war were exposed to it in French camps, and that the Allied occupying forces brought records and sheet music into the defeated country. Two German bands that sought to highlight American jazz more than any other were Eric Borehard's small combo and Stefan Weintraub's Syncopators. For commercial reasons, many German musicians pretended not only to be able to play jazz, but actually to be Americans, adopting English names. However, even in the liberal atmosphere of Weimar democracy, the public and private attitude toward blacks, including Afro-Americans, was an ambivalent one, and this reflected on the few black jazz musicians in Germany.

Keywords: jazz; Germany; Weimar Republic; racism; blacks; Jews; modernism; popular culture; entertainment

Chapter.  14190 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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