Tag Archives: jazz

Dave Holland, Jazz in China, and Censorship

The Winnipeg Sun has a clever title for this article though: Spotlight – Holland invaded China – two times

As the Chinese government slowly eased its restrictions on jazz, bassist Dave Holland had a whole new audience to win over.

The communist government banned what it deemed decadent music when it came to power in 1949, driving the once thriving jazz community in places like Shanghai — known as the jazz centre of Asia — underground.

The ban was lifted in the mid- 1980s, and western artists have slowly been allowed to visit the country. Holland has toured the country twice, finding a new generation of die-hard fans getting turned on to the music denied from their parents.

“China is obviously a developing situation. For many years they were denied access to jazz and if caught playing it, you were in trouble. For that reason alone it’s a developing thing, but there’s a dedicated and serious group of people that love the music,” he says.

“It just goes to show you music crosses political borders and geographic borders and touches peoples’ hearts.”

For almost 40 years Holland’s new fans in China had no way of hearing one of the most respected and talented bassists and composers to emerge from the exploding jazz scenes in England and America in the 1960s and ’70s.

Being denied the appreciation of art in any form is a terrible tragedy of censorship, and it makes absolutely no sense. My America is no stranger to this practice – from the historic cases of censoring James Joyce, Henry Miller, and John Steinbeck all the way up to today, the Land of the Free still must struggle to counter the tyranny of thought oppression.