From Champagne Flapper to Beer Larrikin: the ‘Australianising’ of Jazz, from 1918 to the 1980’s.
During the first phase of the history of jazz in Australia, there was a mutual antipathy between the music and the sense of Australian identity. By the late 20th century, however, the two had become mutually supportive. This lecture series explores stages in that change, how and when it was achieved, and the role jazz played in Australia’s cultural history.
Lecture 1 – Jazz and social change in Australia in the 1920s
Date: Thursday 12 Nov @ 6.30pm
Venue: Main Theatre T1 (Y3A207), Department of Media, Music and
Cultural Studies, Macquarie University, Sydney
When jazz arrived in Australia at the end of WW1, it immediately became associated with an iconoclastic modernity, an era in which the pre-War world would be turned upside-down. Jazz was associated with modernity in every way: its technological delivery (recordings and film), its perceived musical anarchy, the hustling and often ‘negroid’ popular culture of the USA and, perhaps most intrusively, the arrival of the ‘New Woman’. This lecture explores these connections, with emphasis on the last two, with reference to film, sheet music and the press. This presentation draws on Bruce Johnson’s Scholars and Artists Fellowship with the National Film and Sound Archive.
Lecture 2 – Jazz, the Bush and the Beach: How Jazz found a Home in Australia
Date: Wednesday 2 Dec @ 6.30pm
Venue: Studio 1, Australian Centre for Moving Image (ACMI), Melbourne
Using film clips and sound recordings from the National Film and Sound Archive’s collection, Professor Bruce Johnson, 2009 NFSA Fellow, summarizes the historical process through which jazz passed from being regarded as a depraved form of modern music antagonistic to the creation of an ‘Australian identity’, to a harmonised convergence of the two entities.
Lecture 3: Jazz and Australia: Bridging the Gap on Screen
Date: Thursday 3 Dec @ 5.30pm
Venue: Theaterette, National Film and Sound Archive, Acton, Canberra
Beginning as a music of frivolity at best and depravity at worst, jazz began to align itself with Australian identity in conjunction with larger cultural shifts towards modernity. This lecture explores some of the ways these shifts were represented and accelerated through film, in the transition from silents to sound.