La Tristesse de Saint Louis: Jazz Under the Nazis

Zwerin, Michael

Published by Beech Tree Books, 1987
ISBN 10: 0688065376 / ISBN 13: 9780688065379
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Synopsis: From dust jacket notes: "For a brief time in a Europe threatened and then occupied by Nazi Germany, jazz was heard everywhere - as ubiquitous as rock 'n' roll is today. In a personal search for the story of that time - which those who experienced it call 'The Golden Age of Jazz' - Mike Zwerin, musician and jazz critic, spent two years traveling across eastern and western Europe talking with the survivors who loved and played jazz under the Nazis. He discovered a cultural resistance to the German edicts, slogans, and guns that was fought with drums, horns, and guitars. Mike Zwerin tells the story with the vigor and intensity of his own involvement with the music, an emotional and intellectual commitment that enables him to re-create the memories and creative moments of these singular and unlikely jazzmen under Hitler: the Ghetto Swingers, a jazz band of Jewish prisoners that 'toured' Auschwitz and Theresienstadt; the Luftwaffe pilot who switched on the BBC 'hoping to catch a few bars of Glenn Miller' before bombing its antenna; the suave black bandleader who was the toast of Warsaw during the occupation; and Django Reinhardt, the brilliant guitarist and quintessential gypsy who played and lived as if there were no war and refused to leave France even as thousands of his people were shipped to concentration camps. When the Nazis banned jazz outright as entartete - decadent - musicians responded by changing the titles of American songs - 'St. Louis Blues' became 'La Tristesse de Saint Louis' - setting the stage for a confrontation that endured through the war and liberated the spirit of a conquered Europe...."

From Library Journal: Zwerin is a trombonist and former jazz critic for the Village Voice. His stories of Gestapo jazz fans who ignored the official Nazi condemnation of jazz, a gypsy guitarist's nimble sidestepping of Nazi control, etc. show the vitality of jazz as an expression of freedom under the Nazi occupation. This is not a history, however, but a journal of personal discovery in which Zwerin interviews surviving German musicians and jazz fans and tosses in an account of his trip to South Africa to show the parallel of its oppressive government to that of the Nazis. "Sticking to the `the subject' is bad form," Zwerin maintains, but trivial details of his life, grumbling about the lack of fun in today's jazz, and cynical generalizations about the character of Germans intrude on otherwise fascinating material. William Brockman, Drew Univ. Lib., Madison, N.J.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: La Tristesse de Saint Louis: Jazz Under the ...
Publisher: Beech Tree Books
Publication Date: 1987
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Fine
Edition: First Edition

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Zwerin, Michael
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Book Description Beech Tree Books, 1987. Condition: Fair. First American Edition. Former Library book. Shows definite wear, and perhaps considerable marking on inside. Seller Inventory # GRP94070145

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Zwerin, Michael
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Book Description New York, Beech Tree Books Morrow, 1985. With many pictures. 197 S. Gr.-8°, Hln., OU. Used, but good condition. / Leichte Gebrauchsspuren, sonst gut erhalten. Seller Inventory # 47041

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