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Nightclub capitalism and expatriate jazz musicians in Paris

Scott M Cashman, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The proliferation of the American music business has created a power elite which shapes and controls the popular music industry. For American blues and jazz musicians in the 20th century, becoming an expatriate served as an alternative to that subjugation. That alternative existed in the 1990s in some degree, though Europe too has fallen under the influence of American marketing of artists popular in the United States. This dissertation discusses the community of American expatriate jazz musicians currently living in Paris. These musicians derive the bulk of their income working in Parisian nightclubs and restaurants. Paris is often the focal point of a myth that Europe celebrates its blues and jazz musicians. The myth's logical conclusion is that expatriate American musicians find easy success in Europe. The community of working American musicians in Paris, however, must struggle to live, thereby replicating the existence of many of their counterparts in America. For a musician to now increase their European stature, and to increase their personal stature and fulfillment as a musician, building a career in the States prior to relocating to Europe is a more practical career plan. In the present, nightclub capitalism is international in scope and contributes to the shaping of the careers and, more fully, the lives of American expatriate jazz musicians.

Subject Area

Cultural anthropology|American studies|Music|Labor economics

Recommended Citation

Cashman, Scott M, "Nightclub capitalism and expatriate jazz musicians in Paris" (2001). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3027185.