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Jazz from Socialist Realism to Postmodernism

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Edited By 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 Personalities after the Downfall of the Iron Curtain: Matúš Jakabčic and His Contribution to Slovak Jazz

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Abstract: Jakabčic significantly contributed to the establishment of Slovak jazz as a natural and viable component of the European setting. This affirms that jazz artists from the post-communist countries have naturally seen themselves as being integral with European culture and, above all, they perceived the multicultural development of European music as an unified whole.

The Slovak composer, arranger, guitarist, producer and teacher Matúš Jakabčic is an eminent artistic figure whose professionalism greatly contributed to the integration of Slovak jazz into the European jazz scene. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, the concept of multiculturalism in music spread to Eastern Europe. Multiculturalism has brought new opportunities and trends, but also challenges confronting Slovak jazz musicians which they overcame in different ways. The author of this study presents a profile of Matúš Jakabčic, an insight into his musical development, and analyses his distinctive artistic qualities and endeavours to incorporate a deep academic knowledge into his own compositional, arranging and interpretational style. The original and progressive elements of Jakabčic’s compositions have steadily become a part of the universal jazz language employed in Slovak jazz music. Jakabčic has played a role in shaping the Slovak jazz scene; older and younger generations of experienced jazz musicians, as well as leading foreign artists have performed in his ensembles.

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