1960s: a favourable situation for stylistic diversity

The 1960s are the years of the gradual release of the political situation, which had a positive impact on the development of popular and jazz music in Slovakia. There arose a large number of musical styles. A new genre got to the forefront – rock and genres related to it such as rockn’roll, rhythm and blues, jazz, rock, gospel (soul), hard rock, funk, latin pop, chanson, folk, country and western, sacra pop and others. Jazz styles such as be bop, soul jazz, free jazz and jazz latin became a minority. The most popular was mainstream, which included elements of all styles of jazz and popular music and which was very popular with the general audience: it was strong and simple cantilena, clear harmony, simple form with a version and a chorus; lyrics are about love and hate. The crucial role here was played by radio and television editors (disc jockey) who wanted to win listeners for their programme at all costs and who spread “hit news” in an express way through the top charts, entertainment programmes (television show) and television broadcasting of festivals and music shows. The term “hit” was born and so it undermined a balanced growth and suppressed a minority, especially jazz genres. A continuous technical improvement of radio and television receivers and transmitters, phonographs and tape recorders allowed the immediate transmission of information from “outside”; they make it possible to listen to the news of world popular music, hits, and demonstrations of LP records with the editor’s comment. Passive listening to music, however, dampened domestic and amateur music-making as well as lowered the number of visitors of concert and theatre performances. This passivity culminated in the 1980s with the advent of disco style and decadent use of electronics (sequencer, “automatic drummer” PC, playback), which forced out of the bands first string and then wind instruments and later in the second half of the 1980s also drummers and bassists. Contact with the world was kept through the concert activity of foreign jazzmen and Czech formations. At the cinemas the movie Jazz revue was broadcasted. There are first books and professional articles of domestic and foreign authors on jazz and popular music published. In this period a compromise was sought for by the generation of composers who, on one hand were trying to produce hits in favour of average or below average mature listeners and, on the other hand were making an effort to keep compositional and arranging professionalism, as it was reflected more in instrumental works for larger orchestras, usually for Bratislava’s TOČRB (Dance Orchestra of the Czechoslovak Radio) or Brno’s Gustav Brom Orchestra. It affected almost all areas. It was reflected in music, stage, film, musical and operetta production of composers such as I. Bazlik, A. Bouda, A. Brezovsky, P. Hanzely, I. Horvath, M. Novak, J.j. Szabados, L. Stassel, G. Toperczer, B. Trnečka and P. Zelenay. The activity of central media, OPUS publishing house and Slovkoncert agency, as well as the advertising possibilities of popular music composers created at the same time the preconditions for their grouping in the capital city of Slovakia – in Bratislava.