China: Censorship of American jazz concert



Authorities censored American jazz concert

American jazz pianist Harry Connick Jr. bumped up against China’s cultural restrictions when he was forced to make last-minute changes to his performance in Shanghai on 8 March 2008. Officials also refused to allow him to perform a revised set list.

Players in Connick’s band told a reporter from the Shanghaiist that ‘government people’ showed up an hour before they were to perform in Shanghai. The officials from the Cultural Bureau went to town on their set list, crossing off a number of tunes they disapproved of and replacing them with “safer” tunes. Tunes which the band did not happen to have charts on hand for.

Thus explains the extraordinary number of solo piano-with-vocals tunes heard throughout the show. J.Q. Whitcomb, a musician living in Shanghai, said the concert mostly featured Connick playing piano by himself, with the band sitting on stage doing nothing.

“Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was not able to give my fans in China the show I intended,” Connick said in a statement.


The Shanghaiist – 12 March 2008:

‘Harry Connick Jr. concert last Sunday disappointing; Ministry of Culture to blame?’

TMZ – 15 March 2008:

‘China Fears Harry Connick Jr.’

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