Historian Deirdre O’Connell tells the untold story of Australia’s Jazz Age. She captures a time of wonder and flux, when Australians sensed a world growing smaller, turning faster — and, for some, skittering off balance.
Go back to a time when American movies, music and dance brought together what racial lines kept apart. A spirit of youthful rebellion collided with the promise of racial perfectibility, stirring deep anxieties in white nationalists and moral reformers. African American jazz represented the type of modernism that cosmopolitan Australians craved — and the champions of White Australia feared.
In this talk hear about William Rogers Campbell "Sonny" Clay, an American jazz pianist, drummer, and bandleader, who had an unusual impact on the development of Australian jazz. From the wild jazz clubs of Prohibition-era LA to Indigenous women discovering a new world of black resistance, Deirdre O’Connell brings into focus a vibrant cast of characters from Australia’s Jazz Age.
An ‘engaging and imaginative study’ Sydney Morning Herald
‘A fascinating read … Through numerous, short, engaging portraits—all of them based on prodigious research—O’Connell brings this social geography to life with skill and intelligence.’ The Australian.
About the author: Deirdre O’Connell is a historian, teacher and author whose books explore the lives of travelling entertainers in Australia and the United States to chart the circulation of modern ideas and popular culture.
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