Current development of popular music and jazz in Slovakia

Over the last twenty years the distribution and marketing network to sell CDs, audio and video cassettes, sheet music with the most varied music styles has got much stronger. A great number of rock and jazz clubs has been established in Slovakia. Rock clubs are logically doing the best, as their activity is very appealing to teenagers. Jazz clubs are not doing so well. The most famous ones in Bratislava include Randal club, Klub Radosť and Bastión, in Banska Bystrica Club 77 and Irish club. Among jazz clubs the most popular are Jazz Café and Hlava XXII – Catch XXII in Bratislava (despite a great effort it was not possible to make V-club and other venues run again) and in Banská Bystrica Smädný mních- Thirsty Monk and Národný dom- National House have been there for a long time. Recently jazz musicians Peter Kolarik and Teo Bindas (also known as the editor and dramaturg of the Slovak Television) opened Jazz Club 12 in the city centre with regular Tuesday’s “Jam Session”. Similarly, in Košice Gejza Szabados operates Jazz Club Kassovia and in Prešov it is Jazz Café.
In addition to clubs there is a growing new generation of musicians. Their activity is therefore an essential educational component. Therefore much more care should be paid to the moral and artistic aspects of their activities.
Progress is happening also in the field of education, science and journalism. At the Conservatory in Bratislava as early as 1980 Bohumil Trnecka started teaching arranging and composing of popular music and jazz. He also established the Big Band of Bratislava Conservatory. The school gates are fully opened to jazz and rock. D. Húščava teaches saxophone, J. Bartos trumpet, M. Jakabcic harmony and improvisation and A. Bartosova singing. At the Žilina Conservatory a student band, the Slovak Young Swing Generation under the direction of M. Belorid, is active.
At several universities professors teach the history and theory of jazz or popular music. Theses, professional monographs and studies in reputable journals (Hudobný život – Musical Life, Slovenská hudba – Slovak music) on this subject are written. The circle of journalists, musicologists and critics working in the area expands from year to year.
The singers of older “mainstream” rock and pop continue to maintain the favour of the audience. Both new and older songs of P. Nagy, R. Muller and P. Hammel are very popular. On the radio we can hear older and newer hits of Elán, Midi, Vidiek, Metalinda and Tublatanka. Zóna A band plays punk-rock while melodic rock is performed by younger groups IMT Smile, Gladiátor, Komajota, No Name and others. “The beat with folk elements” which was made popular in the 1990s by the band Senzus, is gaining much favour. We can here again “remade” old tangos and Slovak hits of the 1960s and 1970s in countless times repeated sessions of Repete and Šlágerparáda. In Sunday’s spiritual television shows and during the holly masses one can hear sacra rock and gospel. A particular break is recorded in the musical production is still ignored by theatre dramaturgy. The musical Ôsmy svetadiel – the eight continent written by Elán and staged by the director and choreographer J. Ďurovcik has won much popularity.
The situation in contemporary culture is certainly not very flattering and satisfactory. There is a lack of funds for its harmonious development. Although the passivity and commerce has been obvious in recent years in all sectors of culture and art, yet freedom and the market economy have also brought many positive impulses for overall development in terms of the variety of styles, the possibility of issuing artefacts, publicity and journalism, education and management.