Sweet Jazz


INTERRACIAL:  Cass Porter thought she’d left racism and discrimination in the South. Life in New York offered better opportunities, yet it was far from color-blind. The shade of her skin closed doors, even among her peers. Cass could be singing the blues but she’s a fighter.  She keeps things lively with her talent as the star of a Harlem jazz club. When The Big House needs a new jazz singer, Cass won’t let the only talented player get kicked out its doors because he violates the club’s “Colored-Only” policy. When Randy pursues a deeper relationship with Cass, she has to overcome old hurts plus bigotry.  Will she choose the love of a good man or succumb to pressure?


“Sweet Jazz” revisits an era when Jazz was popular. The acceptance of this art music didn’t dismantle color barriers.  Segregation continued - no matter a person’s success or talent.  Prior experiences ingrained hatred reversed upon others, as experienced by Cass’s friend and love interest.  Randy’s point-of-view is shared, but his background seemed to merely rationalize his actions rather than give a proper drive. His job at The Big House was an occupational hazard; yet, he continued to return.  A strong motivation could have added complexity and depth to his character.  The heroine, Cass, provided a unique and interesting perspective, yet there was an emotional distance despite her revelations.  As the stakes for the protagonists are raised, so is the story’s tension.  “Sweet Jazz” hits the right notes as historical fiction with romantic elements.


Anna Fitzgerald