It’s 9:30 on a Thursday night and Chinese and foreign jazz fans descend on the JZ Club in Shanghai’s former French Concession. Glasses clink and the splashing sound of cymbals ripple through a cabaret setting bathed in soft red light.
Andrew Field, an American historian, says clubs like JZ represent a return to Shanghai’s cosmopolitan past.
“You will see Chinese musicians playing with Western musicians or African musicians,” says Field, who works at nearby Duke Kunshan University. “Jazz really became the soundtrack of the modern city, not just in Shanghai, but worldwide in the ‘20s and '30s. It was the musical language of the city. It was about speed.”
Photos: Frank Langfitt/NPR, JZ Club and Courtesy of Andrew Field