Obituary: Ekkehard Jost (1938 – 2017)



German musicologist Ekkehard Jost died 23 March 2017 at 79. Jost's contribution to jazz research cannot be overestimated: in 1975 his book "Free Jazz" was the first in-depth study on the matter, and it was translated into several languages. Among his further publications "Europas Jazz, 1960-80" from 1987 is the first organic panorama of the new European jazz in the Sixties and beyond unfortunately available in German only.

Jost in 1990 was crucial in establishing the Darmstadt Jazz Archive, now the most important jazz research resource in Europe. Ekkehard played baritone saxophone with great gusto and in a wide range of styles; among his recordings, the suite dedicated to the Spanish Civil War is a testimony to his open commitment to social and political discourse.

His family and personal histories intertwined with World War II and the division of Germany were the sources of endless great stories always told with wit and humanity, making the social gatherings of many academic meetings as relevant as the official proceedings. His criticism was extremely helpful in the process of research for the “Shared History of European Jazz” project and book: his sharp mind and warm humour will be sorely missed.

Francesco Martinelli

Photo: CC BY-SA 3.0 - Dontworry - Eigenes Werk