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Our article The Kids Went Wild in Batavia is also available with the two earlier articles about Drugs and Jazz in Batavia as a download e-book (pdf) here. Hotel des Indies 1919 -1930, popular for weekend raves.

“The memory of things gone is important to a jazz musician.” – Louis Armstrong Joey Alexander’s nomination for two Grammy Awards has created a heightened international interest in Indonesia’s jazz scene, yet he is not the first child prodigy to emerge here playing jazz piano. Jazz arrived in what was then the Dutch East Indies […]

Our recent research into the history of jazz in Indonesia has focussed on that played and heard before 1942 when the Japanese brought the Dutch East Indies into World War Two. From section 2.6 of this document (pdf), we know that jazz was first heard in 1919 when the Deca Park Theatre announced: “Something new! […]

In our researches for A History of Jazz in Indonesia, we discovered that the first time that the music genre was heard in the country was back in 1919. Naturally, this lead us to investigate both the sound of the music and the nature of ‘society’ at the time. The music was easy: the first […]

Continuing our research into the connection between recreational drugs and their role in the popular dance scene in Batavia in the 1920s and 30s, we got to wondering about cocaine. After all, if the Ella Fitzgerald could record a song about it in 1938 … They call it wacky dust It brings a dancing jag […]

My original title was Women Jazz Singers of the 1920s and 30s, but that’s too long. And it’s taken me a long time to assemble the 20 tracks of 20 different singers I invite you to download. It’s been an interesting ‘journey’, not least because I didn’t know that Cab Calloway modelled his act on […]

Jazz is viewed by many as the music of freedom, of creativity and emotion, yet it arose out of the stench of slavery and bondage. Americans are proud of their heritage, and many are happy to proclaim that it is the home of jazz.  On February 26, 1917 in Chicago, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, […]

I have already written about the arrival of jazz in Batavia in 1919. What was heard until the invasion of the Japanese in 1942 varied little from the sounds of imported 78rpm platen and transcriptions from sheet music. However what is little known in Indonesia is how Javanese ‘traditional’ music came to be an influence […]

Seminal jazz musician Ireng Maulana died early yesterday morning of a heart attack aged 71. He was raised in a musical family: his father was a guitar player and his mother a piano playing singer. His love of jazz, shared with his elder brother Kiboud, who passed away in June last year, probably came from […]

Our research into the History of Jazz in Indonesia is currently focussed on the pre-war years. From 1919 up until 1941, one tune is cited more than any other as being very popular at the social gatherings, be they at high end hotels such as Hotel des Indes or at weekend matinees at Tjikini Swimming […]