Frontierism, intellectual listeners and the new European wave

On the reception of Dutch jazz in DownBeat, 1960–1980


  • Loes Rusch Birmingham City University



Down Beat, Dutch jazz, Reception, national identity


This article engages with the understanding of non-American jazz practices and the global spread of jazz from an American mainstream perspective, through a critical investigaton of the mediation of Dutch and European jazz in the American jazz magazine Down Beat. It explores the role and function of some of the key actors through which the story of European jazz is told; correspondents, American musicians visiting and migrating Europe, European musicians, and European audiences. By exposing underlying defining notions, such as “jazz as an essentially American music practice” and “the intellectual European,” this essay demonstrates how local, non-American jazz practices in Down Beat during the 1960s and 1970s are understood—misunderstood, perhaps—in terms of equality rather than in differentiating terms in comparison with the American jazz tradition.

Author Biography

Loes Rusch, Birmingham City University

Loes Rusch is a musicologist and saxophonist who worked as part of the HERA JRP Rhythm Changes project from 2009-2012. She wrote her PhD on Dutch jazz cultures, focusing on the cultural politics of jazz, concepts of national thought and identity in music, and the relationship between music, representation and cultural policy-making. Currently, Rusch divides her post-doctoral research for CHIME between the University of Amsterdam and Birmingham City University, and she continues to work in partnership with institutions from the arts, heritage and museums sector across Europe. In addition to her work for CHIME, Rusch continues to play baritone saxophone in various jazz and pop groups and works as curator for the Wonderfeel music festival ( in the Netherlands.


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How to Cite

Rusch, L. (2015). Frontierism, intellectual listeners and the new European wave: On the reception of Dutch jazz in DownBeat, 1960–1980. Jazz Research Journal, 9(1), 62–81.




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