Accepted at first, USSR proclaimed US jazz as a symbol of Western decay
May 11, 2020 10:15 PM   Subscribe

The history of Soviet jazz began on Oct. 1, 1922, when the first jazz concert with amateur musicians was held in Moscow. Several years later the popular American jazz bands of Frank Witers and Sam Wooding (Archive.org recordings) visited the Soviet Union, giving a series of concerts with huge success. [...] At first, Soviet jazz bands played American jazz, but gradually more works by Soviet jazz composers became popular. However, soon the Soviet leadership’s relation towards jazz changed. In the 1930s jazz was proclaimed as an example of bourgeois culture and hugely criticized. Why American Jazz was first welcomed and later banned in the USSR (Boris Egorov for Russia Beyond)

Bonus link: Brief History of Jazz in Russia (Russia-InfoCentre, with music samples)
posted by filthy light thief (9 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
ctrl-f "adorno"
hmmm
posted by juv3nal at 10:58 PM on May 11 [6 favorites]


I was in St petersburg last October and and went to a Russian music store, it had a pile of accordion music books that I bought (I own a accordion shop) one of the books explains jazz and had several examples including Art Van Damme which was awesome since I have never seen this available in the US.
posted by boilermonster at 11:41 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]


On a distantly-related note, I recently learned that the Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich (who'd written some none-too-jazzy 'Jazz Suites' in the '30s) attended a concert by the Cannonball Adderley Quintet during a visit to the US in 1959:
When Dmitri Shostakovich, the Russian composer, went to hear his first authentic American jazz. he went to the Jazz Workshop and sat for an hour attentively listening to Cannonball's group. He made no comment whatsoever, which is in itself a comment of sorts. But he dug. He smiled appreciatively several times. applauded vigorously on occasion, and leaned forward intently to watch a Louis Hayes drum solo.
The Russians were the only people in four weeks who did not move a muscle in time to the band... (source).
posted by misteraitch at 11:56 PM on May 11 [5 favorites]


(I own a accordion shop)

If it isn't called "The Squeeze Box" then you are dead to me
posted by thelonius at 3:36 AM on May 12


I don't usually derail like this, but people should know that the source, Russia Behind the Headlines, is a Russian government-owned rag that uses popular interest articles like this to pull readers into its disinformation efforts on other topics. I hadn't looked at it for a while and so didn't know that it is currently pushing Epstein and COVID conspiracy theories, as well as promoting overtly bigoted articles by the likes of James Allsup and Jared Taylor. Caveat lector.
posted by senor biggles at 5:22 AM on May 12 [5 favorites]


Maybe they only thought they would like jazz, then got bored.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:30 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]


Post-first coffee of the day correction: I clicked too many links myself and confused RBTH with Russia-Insider. The author, Boris Egorov, apparently writes for both.
posted by senor biggles at 6:13 AM on May 12 [2 favorites]


ctrl-f "adorno"

Hear Theodor Adorno’s Avant-Garde Musical Compositions (Open Culture, with information on Adorno's life and theories).
For those who don’t, Adorno was an integral member of what was called the “Frankfurt School,” a group of early twentieth-century German scholars and social theorists who were highly critical of both Western capitalism and Soviet communism.
Was this the topic you were looking for in the OP links?
posted by filthy light thief at 10:22 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]


Oh sorry so as not to be totally obtuse, Adorno was of the Frankfurt school which can be characterized as neo Marxist (not that I'd call the Soviet Union neo Marxist but the tenuous connection is there) while Adorno himself has an essay (On Jazz, pdf) in which he outlines his intense dislike of jazz.
posted by juv3nal at 3:44 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]


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