Jazz Behind the Iron Curtain

by Gertrud Pickhan (Volume editor) Rüdiger Ritter (Volume editor)
Edited Collection 318 Pages
Series: Jazz under State Socialism, Volume 1


Jazz has never been simply music. From its very inception, jazz has been imbued with social meaning. This is what makes this kind of music an interesting field of study not only for the music historian, but also for the sociologist and the cultural historian. In the state socialist countries of East-Central Europe after World War II, jazz acquired a special meaning as a symbol of the American way of life, a symbol of freedom – at least for its admirers. The ruling elites and the establishment regarded jazz as music of the class enemy, a music of social degeneration. These contrasting views on jazz led to hot debates over jazz and the implementation of complicated policies towards jazz music and the jazz scene, which oscillated between affirmation and repression.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2010. 316 pp., num. ill. and examples of notes

Biographical notes

Gertrud Pickhan (Volume editor) Rüdiger Ritter (Volume editor)

Gertrud Pickhan is Professor of East-Central European History at the Institute for East European Studies at Freie Universität Berlin. Rüdiger Ritter has graduated in History of East and East Central Europe and Musicology. Both conduct a research project at Freie Universität Berlin on Jazz under State Socialism.


Title: Jazz Behind the Iron Curtain