Freedom Sounds: Polish Responses to the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s 1958 State Department Tour

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Conference Title

Society for American Music


Carleton University


Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Conference Dates

March 17-21, 2010

Date of Presentation



This paper focuses on the 1958 U.S. State Department-sponsored tour of the Dave Brubeck Quartet, with the majority of the research considering the impact of the Polish leg of the tour on both Polish culture and that country’s emerging jazz genre, at a time when jazz was contested territory between East and West. The author argues that jazz, and Brubeck in particular, played a key role in raising the expectations for artistic and political freedom of expression in Poland. A little known aspect of Cold War cultural diplomacy, the “Jazz-Lift,” will also be analyzed.