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The GDR was a "jazz country". Whether in the private jazz club in Wurzen, in the Kreiskulturhaus in Berlin-Karlshorst or at the festival in Peitz: the jazz scene in the GDR was lively, diverse and colourful.

Improvisation and spontaneity were the hallmarks of jazz concerts even in the stuffy GDR, where the international stars of the scene came to play.

The stubbornness that was musically and individually lived out at the concerts was not welcome in the standardised socialist everyday life, and anyone who created free spaces far from the state ideology was targeted by the state security.

Nevertheless, despite the common passion for jazz, the conditions for organisers, fans and musicians were different and everyone involved tells their own story about the "jazz country" GDR.

In conversation:

Klaus Ahrens
AG Jazz Greifswald (Eldenaer Jazzevenings in the monastery ruins), AG Jazz Brandenburg/Havel, Jazzclub Berlin

Ulli Blobel
Jazzwerkstatt Berlin-Brandenburg. Society for the Promotion of Art and Culture gUG, author and publisher of "Woodstock am Karpfenteich. The Peitz Jazz Workshop" Vol. 1 and 2.

Michael Kupzok
Jazzklub 725, author of the graphic novel "Jazzklub 725 - Der Jazzklub Wurzen 1978-1985".

Beate Fahrnländer
Illustrator and co-author of the graphic novel "Jazzklub 725 - Der Jazzklub Wurzen 1978-1985".

Moderation: Ulf Drechsel, music journalist (Berlin)

Programme in German


  • Conny Bauer - trombone 
  • Rieko Okuda - piano 
  • Willi Kellers - drums