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Jazz Behind the Iron Curtain, 1961–1966

Jazz Behind the Iron Curtain, 1961–1966

(p.114) Chapter 5 Jazz Behind the Iron Curtain, 1961–1966
Jazz Diplomacy
Lisa E. Davenport
University Press of Mississippi

As both modern and traditional jazz gained greater respectability, internationalist impulses dramatically intensified in the Soviet bloc. American and Soviet officials acknowledged the strong appeal of jazz among the Soviets even as Soviet jazz debates raged and often revolved around jazz music as Soviet intellectual property. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs increasingly viewed Soviet jazz in the context of cultural internationalism and accordingly changed its approach to cultural diplomacy with Soviet bloc nations. Cultural activities as part of jazz diplomacy began to target those countries that had grown increasingly independent from Moscow by espousing national communism in the 1950s and 1960s. A turning point in the Cold War cultural divide between Americans and the Soviets was the visit of the Polish jazz group the Wreckers to the United States in July and August 1962 to perform at the International Jazz Festival in Washington, D.C.

Keywords:   jazz music, Soviet bloc, Cultural Affairs, cultural internationalism, cultural diplomacy, cultural activities, Cold War, Wreckers, jazz diplomacy

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