From Library Journal
The late Shack (anthropology, Berkeley) here chose to write about a particularly fruitful time in jazz development. Between the Great Wars, a unique community of jazz musicians and fanciers arose in France, particularly in the Montmartre section of Paris. While never coming close to the vibrancy of Harlem, this community still allowed for the cross-fertilization of jazz with overt European influences. Black American musicians found the level of support inviting enough to move to Paris and often used the city as a base of operations while performing throughout Europe. Shack captures this cultural interaction in a short but powerful book that makes a valuable contribution to the publisher's "Music of the African Diaspora" series. Recommended for music and academic libraries and public libraries with strong music collections. William G. Kenz, Minnesota State Univ., Moorhead
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Paris was one of the first, and perhaps most important, foreign capitals swept by jazz in the early twentieth century. Shack, a late professor of anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley, compactly illuminates the expatriate African American community of jazz musicians that thrived in the Montmartre district of Paris in the '20s and '30s and helped turn the "city of lights" into the major jazz capital it remains today. The catalyst for this transformation was James Reese Europe, leader of the "Harlem Hellfighters" troop regiment in the American Expeditionary Force in World War I. These musicians and soldiers, despite indignities inflicted by the U.S. military, impressed Europeans with their jazz concerts, and later the Hellfighters became the most decorated military unit in the American forces. After the war, many of them stayed in France, which lacked the segregationist laws and customs that plagued them at home. Shack profiles the leading figures in this community, including Josephine Baker, Ada "Bricktop" Smith, and Sidney Bechet. A brilliant account of an unsung chapter in American history. Ted LeventhalCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved