TamTam Books News

Friday, November 25, 2005:

(Melbourne University Press)

Well, this book came to me at the right time. In fact it would make a nice companion piece to the “Manual of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.” Colin Nettelbeck’s “Dancing With DeBeauvoir” is an incredible social history of Jazz in French culture – and how it affected literature, films, and of course the night life in our neighborhood of choice, Saint-Germain-des-Pres. Nettelbeck gives a fascinating background on how and where Jazz ended up in France – and how it affected key figures of French culture in the early 20th Century.

The heart of the book of course is Boris Vian and his social world – which did a lot to promote American Jazz artists in Paris. But also special mention to two key figures, Hugues Panassié and Charles Delaunay who really started the ball rolling with respect to introducing the aesthetics of Jazz to their fellow citizens. Reading about Panassé and Delaunay’s running disagreement about New Orleans Jazz (Panassié only liked that type of Jazz) and Be-Bop (Delaunay a fan but also admired the Trad artists as well) is both amusing and how both were passionate about music.

This is a first-rate book that also covers Louis Malle and Jean-Luc Godard’s interest in using Jazz as soundtrack music to their films. After reading the book, I am more than ever fascinated with Paris via 1950’s.

Tosh // 12:51 PM

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