The History of European Jazz

The long-awaited HISTORY OF EUROPEAN JAZZ book curated by Francesco Martinelli and Alyn Shipton, published by Equinox Publishing, and strongly supported by EJN through the funding of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union, has officially been launched at the European Jazz Conference in Lisbon on September 15, 2018. The book is the first organic overview of the history of jazz in Europe from its beginnings to the year 2000 and includes 750 pages, 250 images, 40 articles and 45 contributors. 


The increased circulation of people and ideas within European jazz does not correspond to an awareness of a shared history. There is often a missing key cultural and ideological frame of reference. A group of researchers leaded by jazz historian Francesco Martinelli (Siena Jazz Archive) and by series editor Alyn Shipton (BBC Radio 3) collected updated information about history and current situation of jazz in Europe. The resulting volume published by Equinox Publishing (UK) and distributed throughout Europe and beyond, presents a linear narrative of the history and development of European jazz, as well generating awareness that will open new possibilities of circulation for musicians both across Europe and globally.

From Reykjavik to Istanbul, from Lisbon to Moscow, from Athens to Vilnius, the volume provides and organic overview of European jazz history covering its linear narrative from its inception to the year 2000 presented on a geographical basis in 34 articles country by country. All authors are jazz history specialists from each country, contextualizing the music in the cultural landscape of that country, discussing the most influential figures of its development, and referencing the sometimes considerable literature available in the national language. An unprecedented pool of authors makes the most of this information available in English for the first time. 6 further chapters cover related subjects: the history of African-American entertainers before jazz, cross-national traditions (Gypsy and Jewish music), festivals, films and avant-garde music. The book draws on the resources made available by the national jazz archives; each chapter contains an in-depth bibliography and a suggested listening list.


A short video introducing the book is available here: