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October 2021

Jazzgeist - Racial signs of twisted times

Author(s): Banerjea, P.

Journal/Book: Theor Cult Soc. 2000; 17: 6 Bonhill Street, London EC2a 4Pu, England. Sage Publications Ltd. 159+.

Abstract: This article investigates the changing currency of racial politics in jazz music formations, with a comparative focus on Nazi and contemporary Germany. While it is noted that music articulates politics in an oblique or metonymic way, in highly-charged contexts music is lent further propositional capacity. This is highlighted in Nazi Germany where jazz music was seen as barbaric, 'dark' and uncivilized, and classical music represented order and cultural supremacy. These dynamics continue but, often, in a slightly askew form for contemporaryarticulations of racial essentialisms: present-day fascist music is a repository of whiteness, but 'darkness' is sought in this putatively 'white' music, while jazz now serves as a moniker of comfort. And an ''antiquated civility'. Each of these musical cultures invokes hybridity in a differential sense - either hybridity is suppressed or it is masked within racially essential matrices. These musical trajectories form the backdrop to an appreciation of the overlooked yet significant jazz dance fusion scene in contemporary Germany - where hybridity is fetishized. Arguably as a means of renegotiating violent histories and contemporary racisms in Europe.

Note: Article Kaur R, Univ London, Sch Oriental & African Studies, London WC1E 7HU, ENGLAND

Keyword(s): fascism; hybridity; immigration; jazz; music; whiteness

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