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Croatian Jazzman Inspired by VOA - 2002-02-25

A VOA Snapshot - Part of VOA's 60th Anniversary Coverage

At VOA, we often talk about the impact of our news broadcasts, but there's also plenty to say about the impact of our music, particularly our jazz. In the 1950s, when communist governments disapproved of jazz, VOA was a musical lifeline for young musicians like Bosko Petrovic in Croatia. "We found there were regular programs every night at the VOA Jazz Hour with Willis and his beautiful voice Mr. Voice was he," Mr. Petrovic recalled.

Like many music lovers all over the world, Bosko Petrovic learned about jazz from VOA's Willis Conover. Soon he dropped his violin lessons and formed a jazz combo, imitating the sounds he heard on VOA and creating some of his own.

Bosko Petrovic and his friends created what became known as the Balkan jazz style, and attracted the attention of Willis Conover.

"He asked to meet us musicians from Zagreb and we started talking. We liked each other and later on, many times, I had the privilege not only to talk to him in front of the VOA microphones, but he came to Zagreb twice to co-lead with me the Zagreb Television jazz festivals in Zagreb that I was organizing," Bosko Petrovic said.

Willis Conover also joined Bosko Petrovic in celebrating the 25th anniversary of his band -- the Zagreb Quartet in October of 1984.

Croatia's most famous jazz musician now runs a jazz club in Zagreb and owns a jazz recording company. He still performs around the world. Willis Conover died in 1996. Still, when Mr. Petrovic comes to Washington, he often visits VOA to talk about his two favorite subjects, jazz and his old friend Willis.

To write to us about our anniversary, send an email to Or, send regular mail to Anniversary, VOA News Now, Washington, D.C. 20237, USA.