New book explores Jewish involvement in the world of American jazz

Charles Hersch, chair of the department of Political Science at Cleveland State University, has written a new book titled Jews and Jazz: Improvising Ethnicity, which explores the intersections between the Jewish community and jazz music.

jews-and-jazzSince the very beginning, many Jewish artists, such as Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Stan Getz and many others, have played an important role in the development of the American jazz idiom. Yet, the reason as to why that is has rarely been examined or discussed.


Hersch aims to do just that by looking at Jewish identity through jazz in the context of the surrounding American culture. He argues that, since its early days, Jews used jazz to construct three different kind of realities: to become more American, to emphasize their minority outsider status, and to become more Jewish.

Jews and Jazz: Improvising Ethnicity is out now in paperback and is available to buy on



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