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Harlem in MontmartreA Paris Jazz Story between the Great Wars$
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William Shack

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780520225374

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520225374.001.0001

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The Golfen Age

The Golfen Age

The Thirties

Chapter:
(p.76) 5 The Golfen Age
Source:
Harlem in Montmartre
Author(s):

William A. Shack

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520225374.003.0005

In spite of catastrophic world events at the beginning and end of the decade, and the turmoil they caused in the music industry, the thirties were some of the richest years for jazz. On the morning of Tuesday, 29 October 1929, front-page news in Le Figaro—a brief report on the financial crisis in Wall Street—did not slow the Parisians' ritual consumption of large gulps of café au fait to wash down hunks of bread. The Wall Street crash heard by Parisians was more a squib than a great explosion but it sent shock waves throughout the community of expatriate Americans. Harlem in Montmartre was no comfort zone, no shelter from the impact of economic depression on the black entertainment community. Unlike white Americans in Paris, members of the black community had their wealth in musical and entertainment talent, not in marketable commodities or assets bought, sold, and exchanged on international monetary markets. Black jazz in Montmartre nightclubs had spread like wildfire arranged to a musical score in the age of le tumulte noir, but the popularity of making noise and stomping feet masked the precariousness of the black jazz scene, which the Great Depression now pushed to the edge of the economic abyss.

Keywords:   economic depression, Harlem, Paris, Montmartre, jazz, Great Depression

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