Jazz has exerted a large amount of influence over the music of the Czech Republic, and in turn, the Czech Republic exerted lots of influence over the worldwide jazz scene. In the 1930s and 1940s, jazz was regularly being played in many of Prague’s establishments. But in 1948, the communist regime took control and essentially banned the performance of any kind of jazz in the country. This did not stop many, though, and the main protagonists of this revolt against the ban were the Prague Radio Jazz Orchestra, led by the world-renowned musician Karel Krautgartner. Slowly though, restrictions were lifted and by the end of the 1960s, jazz was acceptable again.
During this new period for the Czech jazz scene, one of the most famous groups was the SH Quartet, who regularly performed at Reduta, Prague’s first-ever dedicated jazz club. This bar is open to this very day, and visitors can still enjoy some amazing jazz performances here. Junior Trio was also immensely popular in this period, and one of the members – Jan Hamr – wrote the hugely successful theme tune to the hit US show Miami Vice.
Nowadays, the jazz scene in Prague is not quite as vibrant as it once was, although it is still possible to catch many great performances. One of the best contemporary jazz musicians in the city is Jiri Stivin, who was massively popular in the 1970s and still draws large crowds. Others, such as Emil Viklicky and Milan Svoboda, are also extremely popular.
Jazz Clubs listing
AghaRTA Jazz Centrum www.agharta.cz
Blues Sklep www.bluessklep.cz
Jazz Dock www.jazzdock.cz
Jazz Time www.jazztime.cz
U Malého Glena www.malyglen.cz
Ungelt Jazz & Blues Club www.jazzungelt.cz