A live encyclopedia of jazz

Jazz Hot n°1, Mars 1935

Founded in 1935 by Charles Delaunay –the son of great painters Sonia et Robert Delaunay– and by a team that includes among others Hugues Panassié, Pierre Nourry, Jacques Bureau, Jazz Hot is the oldest magazine in the world about jazz that is still in activity.  Orchester Journalen (Sweden) and Down Beat (USA) were created in 1934 and still exist but they were not originally dedicated to jazz as Jazz Hot was.

Charles Delaunay is also the founder of the first jazz label, Swing, and the author of a jazz discography in 1936. This early authentification of jazz as a genuine culture did not happen by accident.

As well as its expertise, it is the international character of the magazine from the beginning that contributed to its originality : Jazz Hot was bilingual in French and in English between 1935 and 1939 and its staff was in France as well as in the USA, the United Kingdom, Romania, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, etc. This choice provides a universal and encylopedic aspect to its content.

Charles Delaunay, Jazz Hot n°11

The history of jazz in France and in the world spreads over the 40 000 pages of the magazine. We owe this alert curiosity to the exceptionnal open-mindedness of its founder Charles Delaunay who supported the magazine morally and financially until 1980. He instilled an amazing enthusiasm to its different teams whose regular renewal contributed to its fervour. Jazz Hot became the birthplace of jazz criticism in France and we can say without exaggeration that everything that is linked to jazz in France was born from this matrix. Charles Delaunay, Hugues Panassié, Boris Vian were of course prominent contributers to the magazine, but we could name many other members who today build the memory of jazz criticism in France: Frank Ténot, Lucien Malson, André Hodeir, Laurent Goddet, not forgetting the innumerable musicians, more or less famous, and distinguished foreign critics like Stanley Dance, Helen Oaklay, John Hammond, Marshall Stearns, Walter E. Schaap, Leonard Feather and Ira Gitler currently on staff.

Today Jazz Hot extends the path started by its renowned precursors. The quality of its editors and their appreciation for jazz has prolonged this adventure over the past 20 years. Precision, information, writing clarity, readability, aesthetic concern, openness to all the jazz movements and independence are what motivates its team. This long adventure could not exist without the communicative passion of its readers who since its origin have brought their essential support to the life and independence of our magazine. They discovered jazz for the first time in Jazz Hot and have passed the love of this music onto their children and friends. The educational mission of Jazz Hot is a daily concern as it was the project at the origin.

Finally these 80 years of history have been animated by that those who participate in the specific field of jazz: musicians, advertisers, clubs, festivals, concert venues. Many of whom can read about their own story in the pages of Jazz Hot.

But all of that would be meaningless without the music, jazz, and without the ability of this music to renew itself while respecting a
culture, which explains the long life of Jazz Hot. It is thus essential for the undertanding and the continuation of this great story of jazz to take into account that its richness comes from the musicians, the readers and lovers, the producers, the concert venues. The good economic health of jazz resides in the ability of most of its actors to use this synergy, to respect and encourage the independence of its readers, of Jazz Hot’s (like any other media), of musicians, of venues and of producers of big or small companies.

Jazz magazines are rare, a publication like Jazz Hot is exceptionnal. It is up to us, jazz lovers, to make the most of it.

Yves Sportis
Traduction Mathieu Perez