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The History of European Jazz

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Nominated for the 2019 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Awards for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research
Nominated for the 2019 Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards for Book of the Year

In the course of almost a century, European jazz musicians not only produced a corpus of work worthy of much wider appreciation, but also adopted strategies to adapt to the varied reception that the music evoked, which ranged from joyful acceptance to outright prohibition, the latter often involving survival and protest in equal measure. As the first organic overview of the history of jazz in Europe, and covering the subject from its inception to the present day, this volume provides a unique, authoritative addition to the musicological literature.

Entries are written in a narrative style and are presented on a country-by-country basis. Each article is authored by a jazz history specialist from the specific country who contextualizes the music in the cultural landscape of that country, discussing the most influential figures of its development, and referencing the sometimes considerable literature available in the national language. This unprecedented pool of authors makes much of this information available in English for the first time. Further chapters cover related subjects: the history of African-American entertainers before jazz, the cross-national traditions of Gypsy and Jewish music, festivals, films, and avant-garde music. The book also draws on the newly available resources created by the extensive work being done nationally by various jazz archives. Chapters contain in-depth bibliographies, rare photographs and illustrations, and suggested listening lists.

Supported by the Europe Jazz Network with funding from the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, this volume will serve as an inspiration for new generations of listeners and musicians.

Published: Sep 4, 2018

Book Contributors


Section Chapter Authors
Series Editor's Note Alyn Shipton
European Jazz: Stories that Needed to be Told Francesco Martinelli
Part 1: Western Europe
1. France Xavier Prevost
2a. Great Britain: 1900 - 1960 Alyn Shipton
2b. Great Britain: 1950-2010: Late-flowering Seeds of the Triangular Trade Duncan Heining
3. Ireland Cormac Larkin
4. Germany Martin Pfleiderer
5. The Netherlands Bert Vuijsje
6. Belgium Jean-Pol Schroeder
7. Luxembourg Marc Demuth
Part 2: Scandinavia
8. Denmark Tore Mortensen
9a. Sweden: 1919-1969 Jan Bruer
9b. Sweden: 1970-2000 Måns Wallgren
10. Finland Juha Henriksson
11. Norway Bjorn Stendahl
12. Iceland Vernhardur Linnet
Part 3: Central Europe
13. Poland Krystian Brodacki
14. Czech Republic Yvetta Kajanova
15. Slovakia Yvetta Kajanova
16. Hungary: The road to independence Gabor Turi
17. Romania Virgil Mihaiu
18. Austria Andreas Felber
19. Switzerland Bruno Spoerri
Part 4: Eastern Europe
20. Russia: Ninety-five Years in Search of an Identity Cyril Moshkow
21. Belarus Dmitri Podberezsky
22. Ukraine Alexander Yudin
Part 5: The Western Mediterranean
23. Spain Chema Martinez
24a. Portugal: 1920-1974 Pedro Cravinho
24b. Portugal: 1974-2010 Rui Paes
25. Italy Francesco Martinelli
Part 6: The Baltic States
26. Latvia Indrikis Veitners
27. Lithuania Ruta Skudiene
28. Estonia Tiit Lauk
Part 7: South-East Europe
29. Greece Sakis Papadimitriou
30. Former Yugoslavia (including Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Vojvodina and Kosovo) Mike Mazur, Iço Vidmar, Eleni Novakovska, Edin Zubčević
31. Bulgaria Vladimir Gadjev
Part 8: Europe/Asia
32. Turkey Hulya Tuncag
33. Azerbaijan Rain Sultanov
34. Armenia Armen Manukian
Part 9: Themes
35. Early African American Entertainers Rainer Lotz
36. Django Reinhardt and jazz manouche Michael Dregni
37. Jews and Jewish Music Gabriele Coen
38. The Avant- Garde: Black-and-White Atlantic Dialogues, c. 1960s Michael Heffley
39. Film Selwyn Harris
40. Festivals George McKay
End Matter
Subject Index Francesco Martinelli
Index of Works Francesco Martinelli


The History of European Jazz is a monumental work of international scholarship, which has been part-funded by the EU. The large format, two-column layout means that each page is twice the size you would find in a conventional book. There are 742 pages, with 45 contributors from across the continent.
The importance of this book [is that it is] published in just one language – English. At last, we have a single publication that brings together a vast collection of knowledge and ideas and traditions, many of which have never travelled beyond certain national boundaries. Each chapter not only narrates the development of jazz in each country but includes a separate bibliography and listening guide.
To call
The History of European Jazz fascinating is something of an understatement. Every chapter is full of extraordinary information.
Peter Jones, Jazz in Europe

One of the most ambitious projects in jazz scholarship... the first extensive look at the history of indigenous European jazz as written by the experts of each country or region...covered in detail previously unavailable to English readers...
Named as one of the best jazz books for 2018
The New York City Jazz Record

As one slightly sceptical observer put it to me, “The project really is limitless in its scale.” Indeed so. Jazz in Europe over the past century is a vast, disparate and more or less inexhaustible subject. So it is definitely to the credit of those involved that they have not only managed to pack so much in between the book’s black covers, that they have given it such a sense of order and structure, and that the standard of the English and of the proofing are so good. It is also very well illustrated and the picture captions are detailed and highly informative.
...the cultural, historical and economic contexts in the different countries are never the same. And the approach of allowing a specialist from the country concerned to tell each story gives that authentic sense of where the music comes from.
...books on this ambitious scale are increasingly a rarity. The fact that this one has received the backing to actually come into being, and that it has been done this well, is nothing short of a miracle.
London Jazz News

It's taken some time, about a century in fact, but finally, thanks chiefly to editor and jazz historian Francesco Martinelli of Siena Jazz, the first comprehensive, pan-European history of jazz sees the light of day. And what stories they are too -complex, colorful and sometimes tinged with tragedy. Though jazz celebrated its centenary in 1917, what this book demonstrates time and again is the longer historical view, whereby the back and forth migrations of people between continents and across national borders over many centuries, and the cultural exchanges and assimilations along the way, have all fed, and continue to feed, into the complex mosaic that is jazz.
There have been excellent jazz histories of individual countries to be sure, and sweeping—and generally less satisfying—historical overviews of European jazz are not uncommon, but for its scope, detail and academic rigour
The History of European Jazz: The Music, Musicians and Audiences in Context is simply unprecedented in its ambition. What also sets it apart from most general European jazz histories is the fact that the jazz histories of the forty-odd countries examined herein have been written by experts native to their respective countries, ensuring an authenticity and insight that would be missing from any single author's necessarily narrow overview.
The chapter authors are, without exception, distinguished jazz journalists, authors, promoters, academics and curators.
All About Jazz

A precious first step for both academia and music journalism.
Jazz Tokyo

Much to praise and enjoy in this book
Jazz Journal

Great for classrooms, libraries, and scholars, this work opens the door for anyone interested in jazz in Europe from its inception to the present and is a strong starting point for further research for scholars seeking to contribute to the field.
Library Journal

The History of European Jazz, edited by Francesco Martinelli, gets my vote as the most significant work of jazz scholarship of 2018.
Ted Gioia

The book is able to take the discourse about its topic to a level higher than ever achieved before.
Magyar Narancs

A worthy achievement and a wonderful reference source.

As well as being a paean to the glorious polyphony of jazz history, The History of European Jazz will serve as a solid reference work. The book's ordered, nation-by-nation layout will ensure that it becomes an indispensable resource for anyone writing about jazz in Europe.
The comprehensiveness of
The History of European Jazz
is perhaps its biggest draw… The book adds valuable detail to the well-trodden paths of continental jazz history, such as the British ›traditional jazz‹ revival, the foundation of jazz festivals in Nice, Juan-les-Pins, or Montreux (to name only a few), or the numerous jazz scenes that emerged behind the Iron Curtain. But generous attention is also given to the many stories that have been previously neglected.
Samples (journal of the German Society for Popular Music Studies)

This book will become a valuable resource for musicologists and audiophiles worldwide. I look forward to owning my copy and recommend that any reader obtain a copy for themselves.
ARSC Journal