Em tempos o site da Reason publicou um artigo sobre o papel das emissões de jazz da "Voz da América" para a URSS durante a Guerra Fria:
During Conover's four decades as a Voice of America (VOA) deejay from 1955 through the mid-1990s he upended communist cultural policy just by playing prohibited, "degenerate" American music that his overseas audience longed to hear. Most Americans have never heard of him, but in the postwar era he was one of the best-known, and certainly one of the most popular, Americans in the world. He had millions of devoted followers in Eastern Europe alone; his worldwide audience in his heyday has been estimated at up to 30 million people.
Conover managed to tour Soviet Bloc cities occasionally during East-West thaws, and, to his great surprise, was greeted at airports like a celebrity by huge cheering crowds. Moscow cabdrivers recognized him solely on the basis of his distinctive baritone voice. Writer James Lester has collected a series of remarkable quotes that suggest the emotional depth of Conover's impact on his audience: "In 1982, when Conover was in Moscow as an MC for a group of touring American musicians, someone took his hand, kissed it, and said, 'If there is a god of jazz, it is you.' Another young Russian wrote touchingly to him, 'You are a source of strength when I am overwhelmed by pessimism, my dear idol,' and still another greeted him in Leningrad with, 'Villis! You are my father!'"
Conover never said a political word, letting the jazz do the talking. What did the jazz say? The late Russian dissident and novelist Vassily Aksyonov was to make jazz integral to his fiction, especially in his 1984 portrait of the 1960s Moscow intelligentsia, The Burn. According to Aksyonov, his circle admired jazz for "its refusal to be pinned down"; it was a release "from the structures of our minutely controlled everyday lives, of five-year plans, of historical materialism"; it was, for those trapped in the Soviet system, "an anti-ideology."
"When you are in a jail, that music makes you wonder what kind of country produced it," pianist David Azarian once told Down Beat magazine. "I tell you, Conover was America's best weapon to destroy socialism and Communism." (...)
Of course, the Soviets tried to jam his hour-long show, "Music, USA," but their battle against jazz (and, later, rock music) was a hopeless one. Poland soon proclaimed that "the building of Socialism proceeds more lightly and more rhythmically to the accompaniment of jazz," though communist authorities elsewhere continued to classify jazz as the music of degeneracy and "hooliganism." By the time the short-wave dust had settled, however, Radio Moscow would be programming jazz by Russian musicians in an effort to make itself sound more hip to its own foreign audience. Of course, many of the younger Eastern European musicians—and some Cuban musicians, too—received their inspiration and jazz educations from Conover (as many testimonials on the Willis Conover Facebook Page attest). And since Conover assumed a slow and deliberate speaking pace, many of them learned English from him as well.
O que me chama a atenção para isto é que me dá a ideia que, a certa altura, o jazz até era, no Ocidente, um género musical com uma certa popularidade entre os meios intelectuais comunistas ou "compagnon de route" (ou talvez esteja enganado e a popularidade do jazz fosse sobretudo entre a esquerda radical anti-soviética?). Mas talvez seja uma regra geral - talvez os géneros artísticos mais populares entre a esquerda intelectual do Ocidente fossem exatamente os mais dados a serem considerados no Bloco de Leste como "decadentes".