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A People's Music


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Table of Contents

List of figures; Selected chronology; List of abbreviations; Introduction; 1. Jazz in Weimar and Nazi Germany, 1918-1945; 2. Jazz in the Soviet Zone, 1945-1949; 3. Jazz in the founding years of the GDR, 1949-1961; 4. Jazz behind the wall, 1961-1971; 5. The rise of new jazz, 1971-1979; 6. 'A national treasure': jazz made in the GDR, 1980-1990; Archival sources; Appendix; Bibliography; Index.

Promotional Information

Chronicles the history of jazz over the complete lifespan of East Germany, from 1945 to 1990, for the first time.

About the Author

Helma Kaldewey received her Ph.D. from Tulane University, Louisiana. She is a musicologist, longtime teacher and researcher in the history of jazz. She has written and produced films about New Orleans' music culture in partnership with German public media.


'This is a book that stakes a claim to telling a new story about the GDR: the history of jazz and its complex relationship with the mechanisms of the state. I do not know of anything that does this, quite like this volume. Clear and wonderfully engaging, this draws on a wealth of new material, interviews, government documents, oral histories, archives of the secret police or Stasi, private holdings, and a huge range of visual records of the time. It is a fascinating read and a case study in the new historiographies to emerge out of the fallen socialist state.' Karen Leeder, University of Oxford
'A People's Music adds an important new dimension to our understanding of the history of jazz and everyday life under state socialism. Students of East German history will benefit from the book's close examination of the GDR's cultural politics, while jazz fans will be fascinated by its examination of little-known histories of the music's spread and reception. Readers interested more broadly in the politics of popular music in 20th Century Europe, meanwhile, will find that the book has much to offer.' Timothy Scott Brown, Northeastern University
'Kaldewey's A People's Music speaks to readers with academic or general interest in the cultural competition of the Cold War. The book contributes new insight to an already extensive historiography, in itself no small feat, by dissecting the ideological conundrums that jazz posed to Communist states.' Sven Kube, Journal of Cold War Studies
'Kaldewey's historical work A People's Music. Jazz in East Germany, 1945-1990 contributes valuable insights into the academic knowledge and discourses in the field of historical jazz research. She is providing a vast amount of new sources and rendering the topic of jazz under state socialism more accessible for international audiences, especially since research on jazz in the former GDR was mainly written in German-until now.' Martin Breternitz, German Society for Popular Music Studies

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