Tributes to the extraordinary musician Coco Schumann
Our DoppelHouse Press family is heartened to see so many touching tributes being paid to Coco Schumann.
Smithsonian published a feature on Coco’s extraordinary success under horrific circumstances, noting that he “began his career during a fraught time for German jazz musicians.” Having survived the Nazi concentration camps because of his music, “Schumann returned to Berlin and once again played jazz in his native city. He performed with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Marlene Dietrich, and became one of Germany’s first well-known players of the electric guitar.”
The BBC online remembers Coco’s words: “I am a musician who was imprisoned in concentration camps…Not a concentration camp prisoner who plays music.”
Another piece in The Independent highlights some of Coco’s stories and his daring nature.
And finally, a beautiful tribute by Emily Langer in the Washington Post also sheds light on why he is such a celebrated personality in Germany: “An uncle gave him his first drum set, which Mr. Schumann played in Berlin cabarets until he had saved enough money to purchase his first guitar. But by the late 1930s, the Nazi government under Adolf Hitler had begun to suppress jazz, which the regime condemned as ‘degenerate’ because of its association with Jewish and black composers and musicians. Mr. Schumann, whose partial Jewish heritage made him particularly vulnerable to Nazi anti-Semitic persecution, nonetheless continued to perform.”
By remembering his humor and storytelling, his quick fingers and soulful compositions, as well as his remarkable story of survival, we hope that Coco’s legacy will live on.