Jazz Record

Re-discovering the East End's Yiddisher Jazz scene

From the 1920's to the 1950's swinging hot Jewish dance bands were the talk of the town in the East End. 

Way before the arrival of hipster cafes, Cross-rail construction, and sari shops, London's multicultural melting pot was the epicentre of London Jewish life. Yiddish was spoken on the streets and talented young Jewish cockneys were putting their own unique stamp on the rhythms taking the western world by storm.

Levy's record shop in Whitechapel was the epicentre of this scene, a place where the community could buy records and where couples could be scene waltzing to songs about Jewish life. Years later, traces of the Yiddisher Jazz phenomenon were scarce. Not Until broadcaster Alan Dein did some digging, inspired by his Easter European Jewish roots. He compiled a fascinating new collection of recently-discovered Yiddisher Jazz sounds, featuring legendary big band icons like Ben Ambrose. He called the record: "Music is the most beautiful language in the world."

The songs move from tributes to Brick Lane beigels to Yiddish ballads about life before the war. They are relics of another world, salvaged from charity shop. Now they’ve found a new life online, ready to pass the beautiful language of Yiddisher jazz on to new generation.