1950 – Present

After February 1948 and especially in the 1950s a new turning point for the development of popular music came. Jazz and modern dance music known as the “music of the West,” and “cosmopolitan music” fell into disfavour of the new totalitarian regime. By closing state borders, installing radio jammers, with the official ban on the spread of “Western music” and private companies – the media, publishing houses and agencies – and with a strong censorship through so-called artistic commissions free creation was ruined as well as its spreading and contact with foreign countries. These facts had a negative impact also on the development of modern music of other genres i.e. avant-garde and it can be said that on the whole culture. Political power strives to offer the listener as a compensation “entertainment show – estráda”
“folk” fun of colourful musical and stylistic range known as “mass song” (building, greeting or pioneer songs and marches) also called “melodic nocturne” at a slow pace and undemanding rhythms and harmonies. Lyrics and librettos had to include “phony optimism”, “political songs” had an ideological content. News “from the West” were intentionally damped down and a conformist education because of the above-mentioned reasons did not provide any education in the field of music. But this led to the complete opposite: an interest in the American music grew. This creates “opposition” satirical cabaret, later protest song (folk) as a manifesto for freedom of speech, movement and world peace known as the hippie movement. In the 1950s it was first fashionable American styles boogie woogie and modern jazz that become popular: be bop, cool jazz (West Coast jazz), hot jazz (East Coast jazz), hard bop, a little later rhythm and blues and country and western but, mainly however rock’ n roll. The electrical engineering, audio-visual equipment of phonographs and tape recorders, communication technologies of radios and televisions improve. Foreign stations London and Luxembourg were listened to. Inhabitants of Bratislava are able to “tune” the Austrian radio and television. The cinemas broadcasted American revue films Snow Romance with Glenn Miller and The Model with music by J. Kern. There were from time to time prominent personalities (e.g. F. Candrix Orchestra, G. Bell Dixieland and others) coming to Slovakia to hold concerts. In the whole territory educational talks were established, later also Municipal Cultural Centres and rich clubs of industrial and agricultural businesses. They supported the work of mostly young amateur and professional groups often by giving them the space to practise or the founder’s license to operate; they purchase for them often hardly available and expensive musical instruments and score material. Poetic melody, nonchalant expression, humour, easy South American and swing rhythms are the main features of mainstream popular music from the second half of the 1940s and 1950s. Apart from songs composers also wrote instrumental music – marches, polkas and waltzes for brass bands, dance suites for “Big Bands”, mass and pioneer songs, stage and film music, but also operettas and musicals (new generation of composers M. Broz, M. Lanik, A. Lieskovsky, V. Matusik, M. Novak, T. Seidmann, G. Topertzer, Vasica I., V. Wick and others).
In the second half of the 1950s more radical process of differentiation between the middle stream of modern popular music – swing and modern jazz, represented by be bop and cool jazz, could also be seen in other countries. Swing ensembles are relevant for their birth. Bratislava becomes an important centre of events. American jazz scene began to be copied intensively.
The most significant personalities of modern jazz of 1950s are: J. Henter, J. Hnilicka, J. Laifer, S. Pohanka, P. Zelenay, M. Belan, L. Bystricky, A. Bouda, L. Deczi, Gerhard, A . Gondolan, V. Hidveghy, B. Hronec, J. Fazekas, M. Jurkovic, J. Kajzar, I. Kuruc, F. Kuruc, G. Koval, J. Lehotsky, K. Ondrejicka, E. Padusitzky, P. Polansky, G. Riska, I. Ruppeld, J. Skvaril, J. Sivacek, B. Trnecka B., M. Vecera, J. Velcovsky and others. Tatra revue, founded in 1957, became an important centre of cultural entertainment and concert performances of leading musicians in Bratislava. Here the orchestras of J. Berczeller and J. Laifer were formed and later performed and here also the chanson singer H. Hegerová started her career.
Jazz and popular music also flourished in the metropolis of Eastern Slovakia in Košice. Since 1946 first dance and jazz ensembles of F. Grossman, J. Csicsillo, L. Dobro, J. Mottol, A. Friedmann and J. Sopka with musicians like J. Bevolyar, J. Hajnal, V. Szirmai, J. Hanus, M. Likavsky, V. Begala, L. Tropp, R. Hajnalova, J . Novotny, J. Olajos, L. Sahlica, E. Sepesiova, G. Szabados, J. Szabados, V. Szirmai, E. Svab, G. Toperczer, O. Berger, L. Gerhardt, J. Hajnal, L. Martonik, L. Tropp, C. Zelenak and others, have started to play in social clubs (Imperial, Slavia, Worker’s Cultural Association, Sokol on Tyrš’s waterfront). In Banská Bystrica several ensembles (Melódia, Sásovčania, Rýsovci) ware established after the Second World War whose repertoire was wide-ranging in the nature as well as genre. They had a distinctive sound, as they used saxophones and percussion. The bands performed at dance festivals, representative balls in the National House, the Catholic League, Under the bowling alley, Under a green tree, at a small station under Urpín, in Sliač and elsewhere. Traditional jazz, swing and later also modern jazz are appealing to these musicians. They establish larger orchestras with rhythm and wind section as well as two-chamber combos by American and Czech patterns. Several important personalities of the then as well as current jazz in Banská Bystrica grew from this background. Those have been the pianists M. Babic, M. Baksa, P. Bodnar, I. Kaca, A. Melicher, I. Nagy, G. Roletzky, V. Stolar, A. Vagner, M. Zlamal, J. Tesak, the saxophonists S. Ceman, V. Chochol and J. Galbavý, V. Škrabala, M. Talaj; the trumpeters P. Janicek, J. Karvas and V. Vizar; the trombonists V. Vizar, double bass players M. Kaliski, D. Kollar, violinists F. Eremias, J. Moravcik, a singer K. Konarik, the drummers R. Striez, M. Zuzanek and others.