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African American Jazz Musicians in the Diaspora

This study examines the migration of African American jazz musicians to other parts of the world from 1919 to the present. It provides evidence that African American jazz musicians fared better in the diaspora than they did in America where jazz and its inventors were born. Characterized as bereft of 'culture' in America, they were hailed as the epitome of high culture in Europe, Asia, and the Soviet Union: they fraternized with royalty in Europe while Jim Crow laws prevailed in America. The study begins with the emergence of jazz music in America, examines musicians who traveled abroad, and their lives and influences in postwar Europe, including Germany from 1925-1945, and also presents some surprising statistics on the death rates of jazz and classical musicians in the US and abroad. The study, written by an anthropologist who is also a jazz musician, provides a treatment of the cultural, historical, artistic, innovative, and aesthetic aspects of the migration of African American jazz musicians to the diaspora.
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