The Historiography of Jazz in Europe

A history is a certain selection of events, written or told in the form of a narrative, an ongoing story. The way the selection is made, the ‘why and how’ of the selection is the historiography, the historiographical approach. The historiographical approach to Jazz in Europe is to look at jazz as music and to look at its development in the various styles. This approach is the ‘musico’-historiographical fundament of a more comprehensive history of jazz in Europe.

Not taken as point of departure is looking at the cultural, economical and political developments of the various countries of Europe in order to explain how jazz developed. The cultural, economical and political context is not completely left out. The context is seen as the ‘Umwelt’, as surrounding factors, as the canvas against which jazz in Europe has developed. The context and the changes in the contexts are described elsewher.

The historiography of Jazz in Europe, the way to write the History of Jazz in Europe, has to keep account with the three main phases of development of jazz in general. The three phases are: the historical phase, the institutional phase, the digital phase.

In the historical phase, the historical styles in jazz were formed: New Orleans Style, Swing, Bebop, Cool Jazz, Hard Bop, Free Jazz, Rock Jazz. There is a general agreement on the names of these styles, the most important musical characteristic, the most important musicians and the most important works. The historical phase started in the mid 1910's and runs till the end of the 1970's.

In the institutional phase the styles of the historical phase were continued and rediscovered but no new styles were developed. In this post-modern period the re-examination of the past of jazz was done in higher professional education and in universities. The increasing number of jazz festivals offered an as broad as possible range of styles in their program. The number of jazz clubs decreased and the number of performances spaces, concert halls and theaters where jazz was offered increased. The institutional phase rums from the end of the 1970's till the end of the 2010's.

In the digital phase the historical phase continues but undergoes a paradigm shift. The effects of digitalization have an deep and game-changing impact on all aspects of daily live and human behavior. <to be continued>