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Enter Jazz music which was much more appealing to the young audience. Before the Second World War, bands playing in restaurants and bars of Warsaw, Krakow or Poznan already had "jazz" elements in their repertoire. After the war, the initial period of fascination by youngsters with jazz music was quickly suppressed by the communist authorities. The next stage in the history of Polish jazz was called "the catacomb period" because during that period, jazz was played unofficially as an underground music in private houses. Two events changed that. First Stalin died in 1953 which brought a political "change" that brought freedom also in the field of art. Second jazz pianist Dave Brubeck visited Poland which had an enormous impact. It was the beginning of the development of an authentic jazz movement in Poland and the start of Polish pop music.

The tradition of Polish modern jazz takes its origin directly from relating to the American classics. During the fifties and sixties, Polish musicians reached for records of Charlie Parker and Dizzie Gillespie, of hard-bop quintets (The Jazz Messengers and Julian Cannonball Adderley), as well as for the records of bands led by Miles Davis and John Coltrane. It would be difficult to overestimate the influence of the radio programmes of Willis Conover, broadcasted by the Voice of America, on the development of jazz in Poland. The main promoters of modern jazz during the fifties were Andrzej Trzaskowski, Jan Ptaszyn Wroblewski, Andrzej Kurylewicz, and Jerzy Milian. Today modern jazz is promoted by Michal Urbaniak, Zbigniew Namyslowski, Wojciech Karolak, and Wlodzimierz Nahorny.

There is a lot more to say about Polish jazz but this is a website for European pop music so after thise we’ll zoom into that segment. For further reading check the very good essay of Tomasz Szachowski in the website of the AM Institute

Footnotes: Tomasz Szachowski; Polish Jazz (Adam Mickiewicz Institute)





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