Polish jazz

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Polish jazz has a history that spans periods of both acceptance and political repression.

Before communism (1930–39)[edit]

The beginning of jazz in Poland is difficult to determine. As early as the 1930s, clubs in Warsaw, Kraków, Rzeszów or Poznań would play some jazz. This tended to be swing and some of it was influenced by the traditional classical music. American popular music (particularly songs by George Gershwin) was in great demand.[1] Eddie Rosner is considered to be the first Polish jazz musician of significance.

Stalinist repression (1945–58)[edit]

After the Communist takeover, jazz was initially repressed. Although groups like Melomani existed, jazz was officially condemned and forbidden from the radio.[2] Musicians learned about jazz by listening to a shortwave radio broadcast of Willis Conover's Voice of America Jazz Hour or smuggling jazz records from abroad.[3] Soon Polish jazz musicians started organizing concerts and the first official jazz festival took place in Sopot in 1956.

Liberalisation (Out of the Underground 1958–67)[edit]

After the death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, jazz in Poland gained renewed freedom. In 1958, Dave Brubeck visited Poland and the nation's jazz scene became influenced by cool jazz. By the sixties, three strands had emerged as dominant; trad jazz, "mainstream", and free jazz. Krzysztof Komeda became the leader of a modern jazz movement that did not copy the American way of playing but developed its own "European" style, especially with his album Astigmatic[4] recorded in December 1965.

Polish jazz musicians[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Polish culture article
  2. ^ All About Jazz article on Polish jazz
  3. ^ Jazz Records in Poland
  4. ^ European Jazz
  5. ^ [1] Sławomir Kulpowicz in World Catalog
  6. ^ de:Sławomir Kulpowicz Sławomir Kulpowicz (German article)

External links[edit]