A Jazz Journey Through the Soviet UnionWilliam Minor
Across 9,000 kilometers and six republics of the former Soviet Union, William Minor embarked on a "jazz journey" to observe the development of contemporary Russian jazz, as it responded to abundance of cultural changes.
A jazz writer and musician himself, Minor sat in on private performances and went backstage at several major festivals, witnessing first-hand the artistic release and creativity of Russian musicians. Throughout his travels, the author interviewed musicians, critics, and fans, and reproduces in his book an intimate sense of their aspirations, struggles, successes; they tell of shared resources, networks, and inventive forums for playing and exchanging information.
At the same time, this narrative bespeaks the hard realities of life: the difficulty of getting equipment, the scant number of clubs, and the limited information about the music scene in other parts of the world. Minor's impressions and experiences are a valuable behind-the-scenes look the country and the culture just before the collapse of the communist state.
"William Minor, taking the reader on a tour of the Soviet jazz circuit in the twilight of communism, personalizes the phenomenon with accounts he gathered from folks who, in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, both participated in carrying off this cultural coup and continue to perpetuate the jazz idiom ... a timely and truly astonishing tale, and, in the author's lucid prose, a charming one as well."
—W. Royal Stokes, editor of Jazz Notes