I Discovered Jazz In America
A beautiful quote by Jean-Paul Sartre from his article I Discovered Jazz in America from 1947, after listening to jazz musicians play at Nick’s pub, New York:
… they are speaking to the best part of you, the toughest, the freest, the part that wants neither melody nor refrain, but the deafening climax of the moment. Goes well with this blog here, I would say…
More from the article: Jazz is like bananas – it must be consumed on the spot. God knows there are recordings in France, and some sad imitators. But all they do is give us an excuse to shed a few tears in pleasant company. Like everyone else, I really discovered jazz in America.
Now the fun part: In France, the jazzmen are beautiful but stupid, in flowing shirts and silk ties. If you are too bored to listen, you can always watch and learn about elegance. At Nick’s bar, it is advisable not to look at them; they are as ugly as the musicians in a symphony orchestra. Bony faces, mustaches, business suits, no velvety looks, muscles bunching up under their sleeves. They play. You listen. No one dreams. Chopin makes you dream, but not the jazz at Nick’s. It fascinates, you can’t get your mind off it. No consolation whatsoever. /../ No chance to take the hand of the girl beside you, to make her understand, with a wink, that the music reflects what’s in your heart. It is dry, violent, pitiless.
Now I don’t know about the situation in France, but I’m also totally digging American jazz 😀 This is the real thing, after all!