Heyday Quotes

Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Categories: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Almost immediately after jazz musicians arrived in Paris, they began to gather in two of the city's most important creative neighborhoods: Montmartre and Montparnasse, respectively the Right and Left Bank haunts of artists, intellectuals, poets, and musicians since the late nineteenth century. Performing in these high-profile and popular entertainment districts could give an advantage to jazz musicians because Parisians and tourists already knew to go there when they wanted to spend a night out on the town. As hubs of artistic imagination and experimentation, Montmartre and Montparnasse therefore attracted the kinds of audiences that might appreciate the new and thrilling sounds of jazz. For many listeners, these locations leant the music something of their own exciting aura, and the early success of jazz in Paris probably had at least as much to do with musicians playing there as did other factors. In spite of their similarities, however, by the 1920s these neighborhoods were on two very different paths, each representing competing visions of what France could become after the war. And the reactions to jazz in each place became important markers of the difference between the two areas and visions. Montmartre was legendary as the late-nineteenth-century capital of 'bohemian Paris, ' where French artists had gathered and cabaret songs had filled the air. In its heyday, Montmartre was one of the centers of popular entertainment, and its artists prided themselves on flying in the face of respectable middle-class values. But by the 1920s, Montmartre represented an established artistic tradition, not the challenge to bourgeois life that it had been at the fin de sie¨cle. Entertainment culture was rapidly changing both in substance and style in the postwar era, and a desire for new sounds, including foreign music and exotic art, was quickly replacing the love for the cabarets' French chansons. Jazz was not entirely to blame for such changes, of course. Commercial pressures, especially the rapidly growing tourist trade, eroded the popularity of old Montmartre cabarets, which were not always able to compete with the newer music halls and dance halls. Yet jazz bore much of the criticism from those who saw the changes in Montmartre as the death of French popular entertainment. Montparnasse, on the other hand, was the face of a modern Paris. It was the international crossroads where an ever changing mixture of people celebrated, rather than lamented, cosmopolitanism and exoticism in all its forms, especially in jazz bands. These different attitudes within the entertainment districts and their institutions reflected the impact of the broader trends at work in Paris-the influx of foreign populations, for example, or the advent of cars and electricity on city streets as indicators of modern technology-and the possible consequences for French culture. Jazz was at the confluence of these trends, and it became a convenient symbol for the struggle they represented.

Jeffrey H. Jackson
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