Did Jazz Help Keep Spirit of Free Thought Alive During the Communist Rule In Eastern Europe?

Hungarian Jazz Critic Gabor Turi Will Discuss Jazz in Europe Since WW II

The Rutgers Institute of Jazz Studies launches its 2013-2014 series of free public “Jazz Roundtables” this month with a look at jazz during and after the Communist reign in Eastern Europe.

WHO:  The speaker, Gabor Turi, is a Hungarian jazz critic who has been writing extensively on jazz since the 1970s for national and international papers. He is a visiting Fulbright Scholar at the Institute of Jazz Studies for three months.

WHAT: “Jazz in East Europe During and After Communism,”  a talk that covers the 40-plus years after WW II in all East European countries under Communist rule.  Almost unanimously these were hard times for jazz, which the Communists initially labeled as “music of the declining capitalistic system.”

WHEN: Wednesday, Sept. 25, 7-9 p.m. Refreshments served.

WHERE: the Dana Room, John Cotton Dana Library, 4th floor, 185 University Ave., Rutgers-Newark Campus

BACKGROUND:  Despite Communist opposition to jazz, the "sound of freedom" found its way to the ears and hearts of thousands of jazz aficionados in the region and led to underground movements. The free spirits of jazz, on an intellectual level, helped contribute to opposition of the oppressing regimes, which ended in the dismantling of the infamous "iron curtain." The political changes and the freedom, introduced in 1990, opened the way to renewed creativity in the jazz community, manifested by the progress in jazz education, recording, concert and club activities. The development of jazz in East Europe is well represented by the growing number of talented and highly trained musicians who strive to make names for themselves and for jazz as a unique art form now exposed, after decades of political control, to commercial interests.

MEDIA CONTACT: Vincent Pelote, interim director, Institute of Jazz Studies; 973-353-5595; pelote@rulmail.rutgers.edu