Jazz on the border

jazz and dance bands in Chester and North Wales in the mid-twentieth century


  • Helen Vera Southall University of Chester




dance music, hidden history, jazz history, jazz in Britain, music business, popular music


There was a high degree of overlap between western popular music and jazz in the mid-twentieth century. However, histories of jazz and histories of popular music are often puzzlingly separate, as if divided by strict borders. This article looks at some of the reasons for this (including those proposed by Frith (2007) and Bennett (2013). The importance of musical pathways and hidden histories (Becker 2002, 2004; Finnegan 2007; Nott 2002; Rogers 2013) in the context of local music scenes is considered. The importance of taking live music scenes and provincial areas into account when discussing genre histories is discussed, in the context of examples from an oral history study of dance-band musicians and promoters in the Chester (UK) area. These examples help to demonstrate that boundaries between jazz and popular music are frequently less abrupt in practice than they are in theory.

Author Biography

Helen Vera Southall, University of Chester

Senior Lecturer Department of Computer Science, Information Systems, Mathematics and Business Computing University of Chester


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How to Cite

Southall, H. V. (2014). Jazz on the border: jazz and dance bands in Chester and North Wales in the mid-twentieth century. Jazz Research Journal, 7(1), 49–77. https://doi.org/10.1558/jazz.v7i1.49