“The Devil With the Devil Says I: Old Scratch in Early American Modern Music”

At Diabolique, Heather Drain writes about the Devil in American music. “Rock & Roll might still be the bogeyman to repressed, misguided fundamentalist types, but it wasn’t the first modern musical genre to get labeled “the devil’s music.” During the 1920s, Jazz was branded with that very same satanic descriptor. (Why do I have feeling Paganini is somewhere threatening to haunt me for not including him? The classical era will have to be delved into another time, Sir.) Jazz, like all forms of expression, is at its best when it has teeth, heat, and pure-as-a-Saint’s-smile vision. In the 1920s, Jazz was a musical infant that exploded into this world big, bold, and beautiful and it touched the vibrant pulse of youth culture. After all, they did not call it The Jazz Age for nothing.”

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