Prague’s Jazz Club Reduta opened in 1957 as a small “experimental stage” where artists could connect, discover, and share. The club’s name comes from the Greek word “reduta” referring to places in ancient Greece that were centers of music.
Reduta’s jam sessions have included world-renowned artists such as Acker Bilk, Dave Brubeck, Chris Barber, and Wynton Marsalis. Within a year of its opening, aspiring artists boosted the club into one of the most popular scenes in Prague.
The political situation in 1958 prompted many Czech artists to express themselves openly and freely. Reduta was one of their first emerging ‘small stages’.
After several successful years Reduta began operating two entertainment scenes simultaneously – a jazz club on one side and a cabaret-theater on the other. Today black light theatre and marionette performances still can be seen at the jazz club.
In the 1960s, Reduta’s support for new authors evolved into a traditional “text-appeal cabaret”. With Soviet occupation in 1968, the cabaret’s performances became more complicated.
Following the lead of cabaret, jazz performers were free and nonconformist, Reduta had a great reputation in the community and became a sought after “art intelligence center” that played an integrating role in Prague’s cultural life.
At the end of the 1980s Reduta became a center for the Czech non-violent Velvet Revolution against the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia.
In the 1980s US President Bill Clinton helped bring famous personalities to Czechoslovakia and he participated in club jam sessions as an amateur tenor sax player. Reduta was a popular place for avant-garde artists and powerful political and cultural intellectuals to meet and interact. Madeleine Albright, former United States Secretary of State, was born in Prague. She is one of the many famous personalities who frequented the jazz club.
I’ve enjoyed several interesting evenings at Jazz Club Reduta, including a marionette performance of Don Giovanni and a tribute to jazz great John Coltrane. I’m looking forward to Spanish flutist Jorge Pardo’s appearance later this month. In January France named him the Best European Jazz Musician of 2013.
Reduta supports all genres of jazz production – traditional, mainstream, funk, fusion, and contemporary. The club also promotes big bands, Latin, blues, soul, and gospel music and provides a great opportunity to enjoy excellent music and theatre while interacting with Prague locals.