hitler hated jazz

19° International Jazz Festival of Punta del Este |they look good them jewish kids.. that young lustrous dark brown curly wurly hair, planets away from the frizz it becomes if they keep it long through later years…  they got good taste in clothes too, passed on to them by parents who passed on a load of other things as well.. like granddad’s immaculate big band record collection. they’re bright.. pleasingly dry and sarcastic from the earliest age.. it takes time for them to warm to outsiders, and old winston loves this..these young minds can’t be bought or patronised.. it’s all winston thinks about as he sits in the corner figuring a way to tell them the music they’re playing sounds depressingly perfunctory. they’re staring at him now.

you clubbed all your good money together for me to come here and listen and be some kind of sounding board…..so i guess i better do my job yeah?   you look great y’know.. this might confuse you, but as a black man, i have learned to judge a book by its cover.. y’know.. the details.. so i’m getting a sense of inherent taste from you all.. i love your wool and the way you all wear your hair.. no stupid cheap tricky haircuts…..the trouble is you’re all too comfortable, when your history, just like mine, is frightening. i guess it’s good that you’re not walking around in a perpetual state of trauma over what happened to your families only seventy years ago, but i’d like to talk about that because i think it might help you play better….

as you surely already know.. hitler hated jazz… and he hated you too for exactly the same reasons… the thing with jazz is it isn’t square..it isn’t base..it’s sophisticated. it breaks rules and harbours intellectual rebellion…. better still.. it was invented by the black man, who hitler probably hated even more that you….that’s me and you.. the black man and the jew alive and well here in new york city .. you and i always came together here in this metropolis of art… it’s the only place you or i found acceptance all those years ago.. there’s a reason why your fathers are all in music publishing or the theatre. it’s one of the few places where we were allowed to flourish or feel human all those decades ago.  

there’s one story where hitler’s henchman, joseph goebbels had a jewish jazz band play for nazi officers in the evenings following mass executions…a horrible unfunny sense of humour… i see all the trumpet players here are nervously fondling their trumpet mutes while i’m talking…hitler banned them, but you and i love how it transforms the tone. when you push that mute down into the bell end of your horn,  you’re putting one big finger up the worlds worst philistine in living history.

jazz has wild history.. it is very much yours and mine. think about that before you play.. think about a load of things. enjoy having a little more intention through awareness. don’t just play it to be some kind of 21st century hipster. play for the love of you and i. play more together and less separately.. feel the miracle of being ever better than what you were only one hour ago …… play me something…

they look at each other through a maze of upmarket spectacles and curly wurly hair, then dive sweetly into duke ellington’s ‘satin doll’.. a classic written by duke’s fay homosexual arranger billy strayhorn.. for the first time ever there’s a hint of verve about their sound..they follow that up with count basie’s ‘l’il darlin’..a lovely slow piece that makes winston cry ever so discreetly as he leaves, waving his walking stick while they continue to play on.

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