Book Review by Willard Manus

"The idea of this book--not a history of jazz in Europe, but a series of essays dedicated to the complex, broader subject of the relations between Europe and jazz--came to me in 2008," confides Luca Cerchiari, a professor and archivist at Padua University (and author of books on Scott Joplin and Miles Davis). Joined by two other jazz scholars, one from France, the other Austria, Cerchiari has put together a 504-page tome, EUROJAZZLAND, which University Press of New England has recently published in the USA.

Despite its academic orientation, the tome contains much that will be of interest to the "ordinary" jazz fan. On the human interest level, it brings to life the European experiences of such (black and white) American musicians as Paul Whiteman, Sidney Bechet, Mezz Mezzrow, Benny Carter, Duke Ellington, Stan Getz and Stan Kenton. That these great artists brought jazz to Europe is a given; what's less well known is just how much they themselves were influenced by European music. The cross-fertilization that occurred, not just between Old and New World musicians but between jazz, folk, pop, sacred, secular and classical genres, was quite remarkable. In sum, the bouillabaisse that is jazz contains more ingredients and spices that most of us ever imagined.
"In many cases it is American jazz (and African and Asian jazz) that looks on Europe as a potential source of renewal...European classical music has been an inspiration for American jazz since the thirties. It was so inspiring that it led to the birth of the Third Stream jazz in the fifties; the Third Stream jazz is a no-man's land between jazz and classical music...Nowadays many American jazzmen look on Europe as the home of a freer and more unconventional jazz, which at times leads to a funny exchange between European jazzmen who look on an America that no longer exists and American jazzmen who look on a Europe that no longer exists," is how one contributor to EUROJAZZLAND puts it.

As the editors conclude, the book "proves that jazz is simply too rich and varied for one country to claim, define, or contain." (