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Different Drummers Jazz In The Culture Of Nazi Germany
open our order pageMichael H. Kater
Oxford University Press, 2003 (first published in 1992)
Paperback. 306pp. b&w illustrations

In Different Drummers, the first book of an acclaimed trilogy on music in the Third Reich, Michael Kater explores the underground history of jazz in Hitler's Germany. For the architects of the Third Reich, jazz was an especially threatening form of expression. Not only were its creators - and many of the most talented European jazz artists - at the very bottom of the Nazi racial hierarchy, but the very essence of jazz - spontaneity, improvisation and, above all, individuality - represented a direct challenge to the repetitive, uniform pulse of Germany march music and indeed everyday life. Kater mines a trove of previously untapped archival records and draws on interviews with surviving witnesses to introduce us to groups such as the Weintraub Syncopators, Germany's best indigenous jazz band; the Harlem Group of Frankfurt, whose male members wore their hair long in defiance of Nazi conventions; and the Hamburg Swingers - the most daring radicals of all - who openly challenged the Gestapo with a series of mass dance rallies. Jazz, Kater vividly demonstrates, not only survived persecution, but also became a powerful symbol of political disobedience, and even resistance, in wartime Germany.

MICHAEL H. KATER is Distinguished Research Professor of History at the Centre of German and European Studies, York University. He is the author of The Twisted Muse and Composers of the Nazi Era, among other titles.

Introduction: The Ambiguous Culture
Jazz in the Weimar Republic
1. On the Index: The Third Reich's Prewar Campaign
Ideological Foundations & Polemics; First Public Controls; Raiding Jews & Jazz; Broadcasting & Recordings; Attempts at "German Jazz"
2. Jazz Defiant: The Reassertion of a Culture
Jazz Alive; The Jazz Congregation and it High Priests; Jazz Within Politics
3. Jazz Goes to War: Compliance and Defiance, September 1939 to August 1942
Demans of the Military; Jazz as Propaganda; The War Inside the Great Germanic Reich; Hamburg's Different Drummers
4. Near Defeat: Jazz Toward the "Final Victory," September 1942 to May 1945
Compromise & Failure: The Jazz Victims

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Swing Under the Nazis by Mike Zwerin


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