The history of the American Civil Rights Movement is easily traced through jazz because the history was so palpably driven by events and personalities. As terrible as they were, villains like Orville Faubus and tragedies like the Montgomery church bombing were natural inspirations for jazz composers and improvisers. As a result, jazz became a cultural touchstone of the movement, with the music assuming a documentary gravity comparable to newsreel footage of police attacks in Selma and Birmingham.
However, many crucial movements in modern history do not have the same kind of blow-by-blow narrative that can be quickly mirrored in music. Their pace can be comparatively glacial, with few turning point events. The unthawing of Cold War Europe is a salient example of a social transformation that did not generate obvious selections for a companion CD.