The Shanghai Jazz Era

I’ve always had a huge fascination for the Shanghai Jazz Era. I don’t think this is the official name. I’m being specific about Shanghai probably because it’s one of the first places to be greatly influenced by Western culture. And it is this unique fusion of East and West in such a style that never ceases to keep me mesmerised.


Here is the era where the Palladian and Neo-classical architectural styles encounter the modern Art Deco. But that’s not all. Situated in Shanghai, one finds a unique Chinese twist to such designs with the adding of Chinese characters and other uniquely Chinese flourishings.


Even the fashion of that era is truly unique. One finds Western dressing styles along-side traditional styles of dressing. Yet, even the traditional Chinese style can be found, in some cases, to be modified by adapting certain Western features.


The music is especially unique as well! One finds the traditional Chinese classics transformed into beautiful and sometimes even catchy jazz pieces. The mix of Chinese and Western styles is just amazing! I wish there’s a revival (of if there is, I’m not aware of it) of this genre of music.

This is one era that never ceases to amaze me. I cannot stop imagining the creative wonders of this era. It’s nice to know that one can find some traces of this in Singapore as well. Each time I look at colonial buildings or old photographs of Singapore, I can see that the Shanghai Jazz Era did make its way down to this little island.

It would be nice to have a chance to relive such an era. Maybe I should start collecting CDs with music from that period.