Jazz Moment

Saw the word “chimes” in the last post and had a flashback to my favorite jazz piece:


Thank you for making me pick up Josef Skvorecky’s “Red Music”, my favorite essay about the liberating power of music. He was a teenage swing fan–and by his own account–bad saxophone player in Nazi controlled Czechoslovakia. There are times and places where music is politically dangerous because it frees you.

“And despite Hitler and Goebbels the sweet poison of the Judeonegroid music (that was the Nazi ephithet for jazz) not only endured, it prevailed–even, for a short time, in the very heart of hell, the ghetto at Terzin. The Ghetto Swingers…there is a photograph of them, an amateur snapshot, taken behind the walls of the Nazi-established ghetto during the brief week that they were permitted to perform–for the benefit of the Swedish Red Cross officials who were visiting that Potemkin viallage of Nazism. Ther are all there, all but one of them already condemned to die, in white shirts and black ties, the slide of the trombone pointing diagonally up to the sky, pretending or maybe really experiencing the joy of rhythm, of music, perhaps a gragment of hopeless escapism.”

He soon found that the Leninist-Stalinist successors to the Nazis hated music that wasn’t state controlled. Eventually he had to make tracks to Canada after the Russian tanks returned in 1968. This essay can be found in “The Bass Saxophone”.

Another great music book: Beneath the Underdog, by Charles Mingus. Fun music book: One Train Later, by Andy Summers of the Police. Fan only music book: U2 by U2 (got it for Christmas from Mrs RML’s page designer).

@Jesuswalksinidaho: I love Skvorecky, who combined a love for sex, jazz and cigarettes as only Czech dissidents can do. Jos jedno pivo molim vas!
@redmanlaw: Another great music book is from the 33 1/2 series, specifically the one on Double Nickels on a Dime by the fantabulous Minutemen. A buddy gave me a copy signed not by M. Watt but by Fournier.

Then there’s Scar Tissue by Anthony Kedis (Red Hot Chili Peppers); The Dirt, about Motley Crue (four fucking stars); and Herion Diaries, Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue – Harrowing.

@Nabisco: I’ll have to pick that one up. Saw them at a barrio punk house in Albuquerque on a piece of road called Dead Man’s Curve.

Add a Comment
Please log in to post a comment