After Django: Making Jazz in Postwar France

Perchard, Tom. 2015. After Django: Making Jazz in Postwar France. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 9780472072422 [Book]

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Abstract or Description

How did French musicians and critics interpret jazz—that quintessentially American music—in the mid-twentieth century? How far did players reshape what they learned from records and visitors into more local jazz forms, and how did the music figure in those angry debates that so often suffused French cultural and political life? After Django begins with the famous interwar triumphs of Josephine Baker and Django Reinhardt, but, for the first time, the focus here falls on the French jazz practices of the postwar era. The work of important but neglected French musicians such as André Hodeir and Barney Wilen is examined in depth, as are native responses to Americans such as Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk. The book provides an original intertwining of musical and historical narrative, supported by extensive archival work: in clear and compelling prose, Perchard describes the problematic efforts towards aesthetic assimilation and transformation made by those concerned with jazz in fact and in idea, listening to the music as it sounded in discourses around national identity, the nature of art, 1968 radicalism, social democracy, and post-colonial politics.

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Additional Information:

Support for this project was provided by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).


Jazz, Bebop, Free Jazz, France, Europe, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Cinema, Jazz composition, Post-colonialism, 1968, Django Reinhardt, Barney Wilen, André Hodeir, Michel Portal

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Music > Popular Music Research Unit


1 March 2015

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Date Deposited:

21 Apr 2015 14:27

Last Modified:

09 Mar 2021 12:37


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