I’ve been reading Francis Spufford’s excellent, if odd, Red Plenty, which is basically a social and economic history of the Soviet Union in the late 50s and 60s told in the form of a novel.

There’s a scene in it where he mentions that jazz was popular among the young intelligentsia of the time: and if his account is to be relied on, the Soviet jazz scene of the time was every bit as divided into modernists and trad fans as the UK one apparently was.

‘”Blue Horizon”,’ declared the band leader. A clarinet began to hoist the troubles of the world skyward, by patient stages.

‘Does this suit you any better?’ she asked Kostya.

‘Not really. I don’t like Dixieland any more than I like swing.’

‘Kostya’s a bebop man’ said Valentin. ‘He’s strict in his loyalties.’

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