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Jazz in The Netherlands

Like in many other European countries Jazz makes its intro as a new dance music around 1930, but even far before this period there have been performances of early Jazz. For instance the Fisk Jubilee Singers have performed for King Willem II in 1877 and much later the well known king of the marching bands John Philip Sousa came to The Netherlands with his band in 1900.
The breakthrough of Jazz should have to wait for introduction of the gramophone disc and the first available jazzrecords after the first world war in 1918.

After the war, Amsterdam baded dance instructor James Meyer heard the Original Dixieland Jass Band (ODJB) and decided his dance-school also needed such a band. In 1920 he established the James Meyers Jazz Band which was the first Jazz Band in The Netherlands which followed soon with a second band called the Royal Dancing Band quickly gaining popularity for the genre all around the country.

However, popularity wasn’t very broad yet where many Jazz was not understood yet be traditional music “critics” and looking down on the “negro-music”.
After the 1930’s Jazz would be unstoppable after impressive visits and performances of the Duke Ellington orchestra, Louis Armstrong and many more. Jazzlovers gathered in clubs (in the beginning called “hot music” instead of Jazz where this could have caused negetive associations) and performances where organised.

During the second world war in 1941 there was a ban on dance so only theatres could host events. Later also musicians couldn’t use the word “Jazz” anymore where it wasn’t seen to following the “European spirit”. 

After the war in 1945, the Dutch Jazz scene could flourish again and especially in cities like The Hague and Amsterdam which are still the main Jazz cities in The Netherlands today.






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