Reduta Jazz Club - History

Reduta Jazz Club

As a small experimental stage Reduta opened its doors for the first time at the end of 1957, thanks to the idea of the aspiring artists and the enterprising spirit of the owner, they turned it from a night wine bar to one of the most spectacular scenes, what has the former State Theatre Studio operated. And why the name Reduta? Redutas were places in ancient Greece, centers of fun and music.

The overall political situation in 1958 prompted the efforts of many artists to express themselves the freest way, to the time they lived in. And Reduta became the first from the newly emerging “small stages”, which deeply and significantly influenced the development of theater and music not only in its time but even the next decade.

Performances in Reduta were peculiar forms of modern literary cabaret, which were called Text-appeals and their effort was to impress (appeal) the audience the nicest way possible with its lyrics, which they narrated, performed by acting or sung. These nights soon gained popularity and their creators – excellently improvising actor Ivan Vyskočil and exceptionally talented songwriter and singing contrabass player Jiří Suchý – prepared for Reduta with their guests more than forty of evenings. These performances more than once changed into jamm sessions. Soon the leader domestic jazzmen began to meet here. After several years Reduta starts to operate two scenes simultaneously at its premises – jazz club on one side, and cabaret-theater stage on the other.

In the sixties Reduta supports the arrival of new authors and protagonists, which evolve the tradition of text-appeal cabaret. Their successful working is getting more and more complicated due to the occupation by Soviet troops in 1968, thanks to the ill will of the official guardians of culture.

In the 70’s Reduta is becoming a set of the monopoly artistic agency Pragokoncert. Thanks to the consistent normalization cultural policy Reduta theater begins to lose its face and increasingly moves away from its original text-appeal tradition.

With the coming of the eighties it is particularly jazz performances, which are an expression of free and nonconformist will, like text-appeal cabaret was before. Because of their high repute Reduta becomes a sought after art intelligence center and played an integrating role for a long time in the not very rich spectrum of Prague’s cultural life.

Ironically, the production agency Pragokoncert brings internationally famous personalities to socialist Czechoslovakia, such as Wynton Marsalis, Chris Barber, Aki Takase, Albert Mangelsdorff, Cecil Taylor, Karin Krog, Ronnie Scott, Enrico Rava, Tomasz Stanko and others. During the favorite night jamm sessions were meeting both - the avant-garde artistic sphere and intellectuals of the dissent which later became new political garniture.

So Reduta becomes at the end of the eighties one of the centers of the Velvet revolution, one of the places that determine not only art policies. A place where political and cultural persons meet, a place of many other individualities, like former American president Bill Clinton, who as an amateur (tenor) sax player in 1994 actively participated in the traditional jamm session.

Current dramaturgy set Reduta and Pragokoncert into a new qualitatively different light – the artistic concept is consciously committing to tradition, along with their new projects they want to become what they’ve long been – a place of clever humor, timeless music and especially intellectual entertainment.