Jazz reception and rejection in India 1935 to 1947




Redfield, Lee James

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This report explores the reception and rejection of jazz in India from 1935 to partition in 1947. Of central focus is the impact of the global political enviornment leading up to and during World War Two as well as the possible impact of British control of mass media during the 1930s and 1940s. Western media projected racialized Others through media that justified colonial hegemonic structures and Eurocentric racial superiority. I assert that this imagery and constant colonial subtext present in British controlled media impacted Indian acceptance of jazz music. Those that associated jazz with Western colonialism and were opposed to British rule would tend to reject the music and those that recognized the struggle of African Americans as being similar to the struggle of the colonized people of India would be more receptive to the music. I also explore how the mechanical reproduction of sound through recording and broadcast technology was fundamentally at odds with widely held Indian musical values. The report then touches on scene and anthropology of place in the context of live performance at the Taj Mahal Hotel and the music of jazz pianist Teddy Weatherford.



LCSH Subject Headings