The Return of Jazz: Joachim-Ernst Berendt and West German Cultural Change

Berghahn Books
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2009, 1
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Jazz has had a peculiar and fascinating history in Germany. The influential but controversial German writer, broadcaster, and record producer, Joachim-Ernst Berendt (1922 2000), author of the world s best-selling jazz book, labored to legitimize jazz in West Germany after its ideological renunciation during the Nazi era. German musicians began, in a highly productive way, to question their all-too-eager adoption of American culture and how they sought to make valid artistic statements reflecting their identity as Europeans. This book explores the significance of some of Berendt s most important writings and record productions. Particular attention is given to the Jazz Meets the World encounters that he engineered with musicians from Japan, Tunisia, Brazil, Indonesia, and India. This proto- world music demonstrates how some West Germans went about creating a post-nationalist identity after the Third Reich. Berendt s powerful role as the West German Jazz Pope is explored, as is the groundswell of criticism directed at him in the wake of 1968.
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