Edited By Gertrud Pickhan and Rüdiger Ritter
From ‘Jazz in Poland’ to ‘Polish Jazz’
Abstract Polish jazz should be regarded as a complex socio-cultural rather than just musical phenomenon. The contribution to this volume traces the development of jazz, a music style attractive to Polish musicians and listeners because of its Western character, into a music representing freedom, independence and modernity, in short, a music synonymous with an anti-communist attitude. It is argued that the period 1945–1960 was pivotal for the development of the jazz scene in Poland and the growth in popularity of jazz itself. In Poland, jazz has been perceived both as an inspiring artistic enterprise and an important cultural alternative, which explains why it continues to play such an important role in the country’s national identity construction and cultural diplomacy today.
Jazz cannot be separated from the era of industrialisation and urban civilisation; it is a part of this, its echo, its poetry. So if it is not possible to suppress it, to shut it down, to kill it, as the hardworking boys from Po Prostu had wanted – then one must do something else, and that is: establish Polish jazz
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