written by: Karl Lennart Westerlund

The sound of jazz is a witch’s brew of uproar and syncopation, of flaming youth and urban American street life of the seductive jazz age. The sound of jazz is a wooden rollercoaster, a King Kong aeroplane, a homeless dog, an unbaptized child and an uptown traffic jam. It’s vertical, horizontal and diagonal, it’s upside-down, inside-out and it spins round and round. It often sleeps all day and sneaks* around all night. By nature jazz likes to hold hands with diamonds and furs, but behind the scenes it fraternizes with hoodlums and thugs. Its sound screams, cries and roars, but is also warm and gentle, soft and caressing. Jazz is flamboyant and lily-white, uneducated and street smart. It holds its head high, and frequently offers headlines to read, champagne to drink, prostitutes to pay; modernism — a pitched baseball in the spring of 1912.

The picture of jazz is a transparent butterfly and a hungry grizzly bear standing in a dark forest. It’s ethereal and raw, it’s unspoken and savage. It tends to be progressive, but is restrained by conservative values and orthodox translations. The picture of jazz is the picture of cradles and coffins: an abandoned orphanage covered with snow, a drunk licking the outside of his empty bottle, an unread newspaper blowing in the wind. The rhythm of jazz liberates human beings from themselves, from their persona, dignity, titles, promises and commitments, from their past as well as their future. Jazz dancing is a piece of madness and an addictive drug to consume or avoid.

Lennart Westerlund in spotlight. Photo: Groovy Banana

The symbiosis of jazz music and jazz dance encapsulates Louisiana voodoo and mysticism. The integration of the two reveals the metal heart of a shining saxophone and the African spirit of plasticity and joy, crossing borders and barriers, living on Mars or in underwater caves. The objective DNA of jazz is sound and picture, inseparably connected to each other through bones, muscles, nerves and blood, representing an immortal erotic affair of passion and desire. JAZZ — a witch’s brew of body and soul, an elixir of life and dusky death in an ancient river.

 

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