Jazz in Paris: Insights from the Creators of The Lafayette Escadrille Documentary
Perhaps nothing epitomizes the cultural bond of France and the United States better than the joyous reception of jazz in Paris. Introduced by Black American soldiers and musicians during and following the First World War, jazz was embraced by the French and swept the country.
Paris—long the cradle of the avant-garde and where black Americans could live free of racial discrimination—provided a haven for the great American and French musicians who lived and worked there, including Josephine Baker, Sidney Bechet, Ada “Bricktop” Smith, Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli, and Arthur Briggs. Jazz influenced composers like Ravel, and artists like Matisse. Duke Ellington triumphed there in 1933 and played in France more than any other foreign country in his 50-year career.
Co-creators of The Lafayette Escadrille documentary, filmmakers Darroch Greer and Paul Glenshaw, share great moments, characters, and incredible music from this century-long, ongoing love affair.