Jazz and German Respectability

Uta G. Poiger

in Jazz, Rock, and Rebels

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2000 | ISBN: 9780520211384
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520920088 | DOI:
Jazz and German Respectability

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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From the 1920s to the 1950s, jazz had many outspoken enemies in Germany. During these years, Europeans usually referred to all American popular music as jazz. Like their counterparts in the United States, German opponents of jazz frequently positioned the music outside the realm of culture. For them everything that “Culture” was supposed to be, jazz was not. Many Germans in the East and West came to think of jazz as an acceptable musical form. The increasing respectability of jazz was linked to narrowing definitions of it and to redefining the meaning of individual jazz styles—from Dixieland to bebop. Making jazz respectable required controlling the behavior of jazz fans and especially the way they danced.

Keywords: jazz; Germany; popular music; culture

Chapter.  13421 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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