She was one of the biggest stars on the Czechoslovak music scene during the 1960s and 1970s. Known for her three and a half octave soprano voice and down to earth character, Eva Pilarova remained a popular personality and singer until the day she died, aged 80, on March 14, 2020. With the ongoing coronavirus epidemic a public goodbye with the her has not been possible. However, that does not prevent us from playing Mrs Pilarová's greatest hits.
Jazz is alive and well in the Czech lands. A total of 46 records in the genre were released here in 2019, even more than in the previous year. Spoilt for choice, our public radio sister station Český rozhlas Jazz has managed to pick one as album of the year: “Čekání na Toma” (or Waiting for Tom) by the Vilém Spilka Quartet.
Eva Pilarová, one of the most acclaimed Czech singers of the second half of the twentieth century, has died at the age of 80. Famous for her swing and jazz songs, as well as her humble nature and endless positivity, Pilarová won four Golden Nightingale awards and continued releasing albums late into her life.
Czech Christmas wouldn’t be complete without traditional Christmas carols. To mark the occasion, we’ll be listening to an album entitled Christmas for Grown-Ups or Vánoce dospělých. The album was recorded by the Concept Art Orchestra, a leading Czech jazz band, and offers a slightly different take on the traditional seasonal repertoire.
At the turn of the millennium, the group ‘minus123minut’ was among the most innovative and important of Czech bands, known for their live shows and heady mix of rock, jazz, blues and funk. The band was named Discovery of the Year in 1999, cut a few LPs, toured Europe, and then broke up in 2009 after the release of their album ‘Dream’. A few years ago, original singer-guitarist Zdeněk Bína and lyricist-bassist Fredrik Janáček reformed the band, along with Slovak drummer and vibraphone player Dano Šoltis. Today’s show features their newly released
Band leader Ondřej Havelka, with a look straight out of Jeeves and Wooster, has just reached the age of 65. The singer, actor (he has appeared in several movies), theatre, opera and music video director and tap dancer is the most recognizable proponent of interwar jazz in the Czech Republic and has a repertoire jammed with both domestic and English-language classics. He started out in the mid-1970s with the Original Prague Syncopated Orchestra before in 1995 launching a new group, Ondřej Havelka and his Melody Makers, with whom he continues to regularly
One of the most accomplished Czech Jazz guitarists, Rudy Linka, first gained fame abroad after moving to Sweden in 1980 and later learning from jazz titans such as John Scofield and John Abercrombie in the USA. Today he lives mainly in New York, but has also become a popular music personality in his native Czech Republic, founding one of Europe’s biggest summer jazz festivals and hosting his own shows on Czech Television and Radio. We caught up with him in Prague, while he was preparing this year’s Bohemia Jazz Festival.
Bohemia JazzFest, one of the largest summer music festivals in Europe, gets
underway on Monday evening in Prague.
Headlining on Monday at the Old Town Square is the Stefano Bollani Quartet from Italy. Also on the programme is Austrian guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel and his quartet and the Lorenz Kellhuber Piano Trio from Germany.
Bohemia JazzFest was launched in 2006 by acclaimed jazz guitarist Rudy Linka. It now draws nearly 100,000 jazz fans to historic town squares throughout the Czech Republic.
All the concerts are open-air, free of charge, and feature headline performers playing in medieval settings.
Dr. Miloš Krajný is one of a number of people who have just received the Gratias Agit, the Czech Foreign Ministry’s award for those who have promoted the good name of the Czech Republic abroad. A highly successful expert on allergies and immunity in his professional life, he has also devoted a lot of energy to advancing Czech music in Canada, the country he has called home since 1968. Dr. Krajný was born in 1941 and when we spoke I first asked what, if any, were his recollections of the war.