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Jazz from Socialist Realism to Postmodernism


Yvetta Kajanová, Gertrud Pickhan and Rüdiger Ritter

In the 20th century, jazz was an important artistic form. Depending on the particular European country, jazz music carried different social, political and aesthetic meanings. It brought challenges in the areas of racial issues, the politics of the Cold War between East and West, and in the exploration of boundaries of artistic freedom. In socialist Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Hungary and Poland, the situation began to change after 1956 and then 1968, when the ideologists shifted from the aesthetics of socialist realism to postmodernism. In Western countries such as France and Italy, jazz transformed from a modern to a postmodern period. This volume deals with the impact of these changes on the career development of jazz musicians – even beyond 1989 – in terms of various phenomena such as emigration, child prodigies, multiculturalism, multi-genre approaches, or female jazz musicians.

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Jazz in France 1917–1929: the Missing Object of the Reception



Abstract: When working on a history of jazz outside the United States, any author is predictably confronted with general historiographical problems created by this particular situation. This brief overview intends to propose a basic framework for thinking about some of the specificities of history and historiography of jazz in Europe.

This paper will address three main issues that have arisen from the experience of writing the jazz history of a European country, namely France: How has racism in and outside America affected the movements of musicians; Is there a difference of intensity in the music from the United States and elsewhere or is it simply their representation? How does it affect the recognition process? Did jazz, in the early times, get a better reception in Europe? What can we infer from a short survey of literature and press, both in the United States and France?

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