Bernard Etté
Bernard Etté

ernard Etté led and conducted a „typical jazz trio“ as early as 1923 in Berlin. In the sense of Berliner Melange! That was the very Berlin style jazz. It took several years of practice before it got really jazzy.

Berlin had long attracted a wide variety of people for its industry and entertainment. This was intensifying after World War One.. Berlin was an open city. Very poor, but it was highly industrialized. Promissing many jobs. In the beginning most people came from the Netherlands, France, Swisserland. Or they had Czech or Bohemian backgrounds. Among them But also there were many artist, many musicians with their own musical traditions. This now was creating a cultural variety of a new scale. (see Blom, Philipp, Die zerissenen Jahre, 1918 – 1938, München 2014)

However it was the American music to be there. That thing now was called Jazz! So they mixed up all their musical styles ading them some jazz marks. The outcome was called Berliner Melange. They sold it as Berlin jazz. And they were up to date!

Bernard Etté and his carrer

Between 1924 and 1927 Ettè played a central role in the intercontinental jazz transfer. His chapel was employed on the ocean liners between Hamburg, New York and Bremen. Associated with the travels were country vacations during which he could experience jazz in his country of origin. The ocean liners were the second most important way of transmitting jazz to media such as vinyl, film and radio.

Back in Berlin

He then led one of the city’s top orchestras and was accordingly well paid. With all the jazz these orchestras had in the meantime, their music went on being always characterized by the Berlin melanche. The best example of this is provided by Bernard Etté’s biggest hit: “Ausgerechnet Bananen” from 1924.

Bernard Etté, Copenhagen

See also: KIND OF GOLDEN – The Friedrichstadt