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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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Penetration of Jazz into Various Genres and Subcultures


Abstract: This study emphasizes the versatility of jazz styles, points out the penetration of jazz music into various subcultures, and it particularly examines these phenomena in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Due to the heterogeneous character of music it is very difficult to differentiate the characteristics of a style and define the jazz influences in it.

Jazz is a universal music that has influenced several generations and still attracts new audiences and musicians. Along with various kinds of European dance music, the early jazz, in its hot dance and swing forms, was the only genre of popular music. The dissemination and progressive differentiation of pop music was accompanied by two interesting occurences. Jazz became autonomous and existed in parallel with classical and the evolving popular music. Jazz was no longer an independent music category as its elements or principles were adopted by other genres and styles, mainly in the late 1990s. In the next decade, jazz experienced its golden age through a fusion with rock, and a little later with the advent of funk. Nowadyas, due to the heterogeneity of music, jazz elements, or at least its principles, can be found in almost every genre and style. This study examines the manner of jazz music penetration into world music development and within the former socialist countries, Czechoslovakia in particular.

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