Jews and Jazz: Before the Beginning, with Ethnomusicologist and Performer Henry Sapoznik

A Live, Online Event Recorded Via Zoom on June 3, 2021

When one thinks of 'Jews and jazz’ names come to mind such as Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Stan Getz, and Mezz Mezzrow—American-born all. But what of the earlier generation of European-born Jewish musicians—klezmorim—who, upon arrival, were obliged to learn two new languages: English and jazz? How did they navigate through a new challenging soundscape in an effort to become viable parts of their new land? By examining the nascent “jazz” offerings of pioneering performances of recording klezmorim like Harry Kandel, Joseph Cherniavsky, Dave Tarras, Harry Raderman, and Sammy Musiker, among others, we witness for the first time how that first generation took to jazz as both a social and musical gateway to speed up and encourage their—and their audience’s—acculturation in transition from old world to new.


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