Wednesday, April 11, 2018



As a sax player in communist Czechoslovakia, I landed the weirdest job. It was a small role in a fantasy documentary about the famous prewar Czech jazz composer and theatrical alchemist, E. F. Burian. Wearing heavy minstrel makeup, I was to impersonate a nameless black jazz saxophonist who, legend has it, lived and played in Prague during the 20ies. Nobody really knew who this guy was or even whether he actually existed. He was more like a ghost of the past, an outlandish and picturesque apparition in a somewhat sheltered, petty bourgeoise Mitteleuropean milieu. And yet, that's exactly what jazz was to a lot of Czechs for decades: a dreamy, yet provocative mirage from a land far away. Later, under the oppressive regime, it also became a wistful and hopeful echo of freedom.

It might seem as if jazz and original Czech folk music are worlds apart. Compare Czech peasant earthiness with the tension of Afro-American rhythms and the primal howl of the blues; the provincial priggishness of a Czech small town to the cool, slick worldliness of a jazz metropolis. But exactly here was the attraction for certain restless denizens of the sedentary Mitteleuropean milieu. Jazz was always a completely different planet. If you dig deeper, though, there are also surprising... more
released June 10, 2017

Osian Roberts - tenorsax
David Fárek - tenor and sopranosax
Vít Pospíšil - piano
Dušan Černák - drums
Jaroslav Šimíček - double bass, componist and arrangements