2022: the Year of Russian Jazz

January 11, 2022

Happy (super late) new year, everyone! I hope 2022 is kinder to us all. And, in my own over-excited fashion, I hope it has many new adventures in store.

My adventures, for once, are set in stone, actually – I tend to plan ahead, so if you want to find my diary wide open you’d best book me for the spring of 2023.

That sounds funny, but seriously, 2022 is a big year: in 1922, a gentleman called Valentin Parnakh organized the first-ever jazz concert in Soviet Russia. That means we’re celebrating 100 years of Russian jazz in 2022!

So who was this Valentin character, how did he manage to bring an American art form to Moscow during Soviet times AND get permission to present it at a theater, and how did the genre evolve, springing from a culture that was so firmly rooted in classical music and opera? What are Russian jazz standards and where did they come from?

These are all questions I will be asking journalists over the next 9 months, in an effort to promote this anniversary and, of course, explore their answers, thoughts, and insights. There is so much to learn about the genre we all love so much, and about its continuously changing place in history. I can’t believe I’m spending my early 30s promoting such a significant historic event in culture, so please, go on this adventure with me. I’ll probably tell you how excited and honored I am about 200 times a month, but I promise, we’ll have fun along the way.

Let’s talk jazz, baby.

 

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