Legendary Czech jazzman Milan Svoboda’s ‘Swinging Hat’

Milan Svoboda

Composer, conductor, jazz pianist and pedagogue Milan Svoboda, now in his seventies, has a new CD out called ‘Swinging Hat’ 

Milan Svoboda has long been a leading figure on the Czech music scene. He founded his first orchestra, the Prague Big Band, already 45 years ago, and hasn’t slowed down since.

Over the decades since, dozens of great Czech jazz musicians have performed in or with the band, and Svoboda has shared the stage with a range of international stars.

Photo: Supraphon

He has always focused exclusively on interpretations of his own original compositions with a completely characteristic sound.

Svoboda has recorded 14 albums, performed at major European festivals, and won numerous awards.

His creative scope is immense, spanning from modern jazz to musicals, contemporary classical, and stage and film music – the latter especially in the 1990s, when he collaborated with director Karel Kachyňa.

The composition ‘Coffee Meditation’, for example, features in the Oscar-winning film The Imitation Game, about cracking the enigma code. Svoboda also achieved great success with the ballet ‘Mowgli – The Jungle Book’, which was rehearsed several times in the United States.