Many regard jazz as the soundtrack of America, born and raised in its cities and echoing throughout its tumultuous century of progress. So when Ernest Hemingway wrote about seeing jazz in 1920s Paris, and when British colonial officials danced to jazz in the clubs of Calcutta in the waning years of the Raj, how, exactly, had it gotten there? Jazz Worlds/World Jazz aims to answer these questions and more, bringing together voices from countries as far flung as Azerbaijan, Armenia, and India to show that the story of jazz is not trapped in American history books but alive in global modernity.
Monumental in scope, this book explores the relationship between jazz and culture and how they influence each other across a range of themes and settings. Contributors offer an analysis of the social meaning of jazz in Iran, a look at the genesis of Ethiopian jazz and at Indian fusion, and chapters on jazz diplomacy, Balkan swing, and that French export par excellence: Django Reinhardt. Altogether the contributors approach jazz—in these global iterations—through the themes that have always characterized it at home: place, history, mobility, media, and race. The result is a first-of-its-kind map of jazz around the globe that pays tribute to the players who have given the form its seemingly infinite possibilities.