At their peak beginning around 1928 the Weintraub Syncopators was the premiere hot jazz band in Germany. The group was formed by the pianist Stefan Weintraub and saxophonist/clarinetist Horst Graff in 1924. In 1927 pianist and arranger Friedrich Hollander took over leadership as Weintraub moved to drums. They made their first recordings the next year, and in 1930 appeared in the film The Blue Angel with Marlene Dietrich, with whom they also recorded. The band--most of whom were Jewish--was forced into exile as the Nazis rose to power. The worked abroad during much of the ‘30s, touring throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East before settling in Australia in 1937. The performed in Australia until that country was drawn into WWII, when--in a cruelly ironic twist--they were detained by the government as enemy aliens. The Syncopators were as well-known for their comic performances as their instrumental virtuosity.
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