Jazz Club Summit


The leaders of Hungary’s jazz clubs gathered together at the end of May in the town of Szekszárd. It was the third such summit of club leaders – the first conference took place in 1979 in Tatabánya and the second in 1981 in Szolnok.

The meeting – organized at the initative of the Jazz Section of the Association of Hungarian Musicians – focused on the present situation of jazz in the country, the clubs’ possibilities and the urgent need for independent management for jazz musicians. The results hold out some promise of changes in the local jazz scene. The participants pointed out that the present economic crisis has caused a decline in cultural activities in general, but has had an even greater impact on minority art forms such as jazz. It is becoming more difficult to organize concerts and provide enough work for musicians. In this situation the clubs occupy an important place in the country’s jazz life by promoting live music and popularizing jazz among young listeners. But now it is necessary for the clubs to find different ways of sponsoring such activities, because the audience alone cannot support jazz on the desired level.

Also, the club leaders felt that the time has come for more effective, private management.  Until now Hungarian jazz musicians were forced to manage themselves because state agencies did not care too much about the music. Although the National Philharmonic has started to show some interest in jazz, this does not lessen the need for other possibilities. The new laws on the books make room for more varied private activities, so there is hope that jazz musicians might benefit from private management, too. And this may lead to a revival of jazz in the future.

(Jazz Forum, 1983/4)