Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: Mumbo Jumbo, Communism and Islamic Fundamentalism

Expand Messages
  • Chris Hayden
    Message 1 of 6 , Sep 1, 2006
    • 0 Attachment
      <<The 1920's in the book symbolized for Reed the 1960's when you had
      similar outbreak of Jes Grew with Soul Music and wild African
      inspired dancing.

      If it gets too powerful the Communists and Muslims will merely coopt
      it, as did America--

      The Rock and Soul and Funk of the 60's became Disco of the 70's and
      it went to sleep once more...>

      --- In SciFiNoir_Lit@yahoogroups.com, Yusuf Nuruddin
      <yusufnuruddin@...> wrote:
      >
      > There was a recent inquiry about Ishmael Reed's novel Mumbo Jumbo.
      The main plot of Mumbo Jumbo involved an "epidemic" --an "infectious
      disease" known as "Jes Grew." Jes Grew (Just Grew) was the code name
      for African American music and dance which was infecting the white
      youth of America and causing them to shake their booties in primitive
      African ways. In Reed's novel, which was set in the 1920s, the
      epidemic broke out in the Gay Nineties (1890s) with Ragtime and again
      in Roaring Twenties (1920s) with jazz --- and the Wallflower Order or
      Atonist Order (Masonic Order) was on a mission to stop the epidemic
      from spreading since they feared that it would destroy white
      civilization.
      >
      > Below read the true story of the spread of "Jes Grew" in Soviet
      Russia and in the Islamic Middle East, and how communists and Muslim
      fundamentalists have tried unsuccessfully to stop the epidemic..
      >
      >
      ______________________________________________________________________
      _
      > source: http://www.salon com/opinion/ feature/2006/
      08/31/beyonce/ index.html
      > Beyoncé Knowles, freedom fighter
      >
      > Why "booty popping" will do to Islamic fundamentalism what
      rock 'n' roll did to Stalinism.
      >
      > By Thaddeus Russell
      >
      > Aug. 31, 2006
      >
      > Soviet soldiers returning home from the western front after
      World War II brought the virus with them. Within a few years, it had
      infected large portions of the Soviet and Soviet bloc populations. By
      the late 1940s, the Communist Party leadership feared it would
      destroy the socialist fatherland from within. But it was not a
      biological disease that threatened communism. Joseph Stalin and his
      commissars called it an "amoral infection" in the minds of Soviet
      youth. It was "American primitivism, " "capitalist cultural
      imperialism" and "bourgeois cosmopolitanism. " But it was really
      African-American culture. It was the same infection that today is
      spreading underneath the police, the laws and the censors of Islamic
      regimes.
      >
      > This month, Beyoncé and Jay-Z's "Déjà vu" is No. 1 on the top 40
      of the biggest Muslim nation in the world, Indonesia. Nine of the top
      10 songs on the United Arab Emirates singles chart are hip-hop or
      R&B. Earlier this year Egyptian rappers MTM -- whose hit song "Ummi
      Musafra" ("My Mother's Away") is about a teenager who holds a dance
      party while his mother is away on holiday -- were voted best modern
      Arab act at the first Arabian Music Awards. Several journalists have
      reported on the vast Iranian black market in Western music and movies
      of all sorts. And everyone seems to agree that youth in Iran are
      engaged in widespread rebellion against Islamic sharia law. Tattoos,
      sneakers, platform shoes, belly rings, and public displays of
      affection are ubiquitous in the most militantly Islamic republic.
      >
      > Muslim leaders are -- rightly -- up in arms over all this. Even
      the relatively liberal cable channel Al-Jazeera has run several
      denunciations of rap in particular and of Western cultural
      penetration in general. Iranian authorities have removed hundreds of
      illicit satellite dishes that constantly reappear. Earlier this year,
      President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad banned Western music and the "social
      corruption" it caused, but was recently forced to call off his
      crackdown. Meanwhile, according to a memoir just published by Osama
      bin Laden's former paramour, the al-Qaida leader might have lusted
      after Whitney Houston, but he considered her music to be the work of
      the devil.
      > It's all very familiar. In 1946, soon after Stalin's chief aide
      warned that jazz would "poison the consciousness of the masses," the
      Central Committee of the Communist Party ordered all state orchestras
      to stop playing the music. Also banned were saxophones, wah-wah
      trumpet mutes, the plucking of bass strings, the deliberate lowering
      of tones to create "blue notes," and the playing of drums with too
      much rhythm. Brigades of music patrols monitored theaters and dance
      halls to ensure that nothing jazzy was being played. Couples caught
      dancing anything other than the waltz, the polka, or Russian folk
      dances were subject to arrest. Members of jazz bands were rounded up
      and sent to Siberian prisons.
      >
      > Soviet authorities were right to fear jazz, but they could not
      stop it. Bootleg recordings were sold by the millions on the black
      market. Stiliagi, or "style hunters," appeared on the streets of all
      the major cities in the Soviet bloc, wearing zoot suits and ducktails
      if they were male or tight dresses and bouffant hairdos if they were
      female. They refused to work and loved to drink, "hang out" and
      listen to black music. Swing and boogie-woogie were early favorites,
      then bebop and rhythm and blues.
      >
      > Unfortunately for the Communist leadership, the emergence of jazz
      fans in the Soviet bloc was only the beginning of a process that
      ended in 1991. The historian Julia Hessler has written that, "in a
      real sense, the stiliagi heralded the advent of an individualistic,
      self-expressive approach to consumption characteristic of the
      consumer societies of the postwar West." Not only did this "vulgar"
      and "decadent" culture continue to spread, but as the '50s ended it
      mutated into something even worse -- rock 'n' roll.
      >
      > The introduction of reel-to-reel tape recorders in the 1960s
      helped create a vast underground culture of fans of rock, rhythm and
      blues, and later disco and hip-hop. In 1968 the newspaper Sovetskaia
      Rossia warned: "The epidemic of bawdy and vulgar songs copied from
      tape recorders is spreading faster than a flu virus." By far the
      biggest dance during the Khrushchev era was the twist, which had been
      introduced in the United States by the black rocker Chubby Checker.
      In Czechoslovakia alone, there were an estimated 200 "twist
      ensembles" that performed the dance in underground theaters.
      Increasingly, however, Soviet bloc youth listened to native musicians
      who made the music their own.
      >
      > Though they avoided the explicit racism of their capitalist
      rivals, Communist authorities clearly understood the source of the
      corruption. A Bulgarian newspaper called young rockers "arrogant
      monkeys, dropped into our midst as if from a foreign zoo." Soviet
      cultural magazines referred to jazz and rock as "mud music" produced
      by an "ape culture." East German Communists more frankly dismissed it
      as "Negermusik. " But the youth in those countries apparently took
      the association with African-Americans as a compliment. The first
      rock band in Poland, formed in 1958, was originally named Rhythm and
      Blues and subsequently changed its name to the Reds and Blacks.
      > By the 1970s, desire for music frequently turned to hatred for
      the USSR. Riots broke out at several rock concerts, where the targets
      were usually authorities who attempted to stop the performances. Then
      disco swept the Soviet bloc, soon after it was created in black gay
      New York City nightclubs. It was particularly popular in the Baltic
      republics, where dance clubs were the sites of several uprisings
      against the police. A Latvian newspaper called the country's 300
      discos the "incubators of violence."
      > The Kremlin was forced to acknowledge that popular music could no
      longer be contained. Instead, as one historian has put it, it
      became "the soundtrack of glasnost." In the 1980s, performance spaces
      were opened with official approval from Moscow and Leningrad, the
      censorship of recordings was eased, giant rock concerts were staged
      all over Eastern Europe, and by the end of the decade major American
      and British pop acts were allowed to perform behind the iron curtain.
      Polls of Soviet youth showed that they had far greater knowledge of
      rock stars than of Marx, Lenin or Stalin. When the Berlin Wall came
      down in 1989, East Germans flooded West Berlin record shops.
      >
      > Something quite similar is happening in the Muslim world, where
      the proliferation of satellite television and online music has had
      much the same effect that tape recorders had in the Soviet bloc.
      >
      > In January of this year, Billboard reported on the enormous
      popularity of American hip-hop in the "under-the-radar market" of the
      United Arab Emirates. The Black Eyed Peas, 50 Cent, Mariah Carey,
      Destiny's Child, Alicia Keys and Sean Paul have all performed there,
      and a recent concert by Missy Elliott and Busta Rhymes in Dubai drew
      10,000 fans. A music promoter in the UAE told Billboard that "the
      young adult population in Dubai has shown a significant growing
      appreciation for American R&B and hip-hop music."
      >
      > Most dangerously, Middle Eastern fans of American music fuse it
      with their own cultures. Ruby, the biggest pop star in Egypt, sings
      with traditional Arabic intonations and belly dances, but clearly has
      taken a page or two from R&B divas. Her music is rooted in a disco-
      funk beat and in videos she wears tight, hip-riding jeans that were
      brought back into fashion by black and Latina women in the United
      States. Soon after her first video aired in 2003, Hamdi Hassan of the
      Muslim Brotherhood complained to Egypt's parliament that Ruby's
      performance "went against the morals of Muslim society." She was
      subsequently banned from an Arab music television channel and from
      holding concerts in Kuwait. But perhaps the single most important
      fact about contemporary Middle East politics is that according to a
      study conducted by the pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat, Ruby is more
      popular than any political or religious figure in Egypt. Even worse
      for the future of Islamism, a Cairo newspaper
      > survey showed that, by a wide margin, Egyptian youth considered
      Ruby to be "the most interesting person in Egypt."
      >
      > Islamism is facing an even graver challenge in Indonesia, with a
      special assist from Beyoncé Knowles. In 2003, a 24-year-old singer
      from East Java named Inul Daratista unleashed a sexual revolution
      simply by rotating her lower body onstage in such a way as to cause
      millions of men to worship her and millions of women to emulate her.
      Inul's dance style, which she calls "drilling," is indistinguishable
      from a move that has been ubiquitous in hip-hop clubs and videos for
      years, and which Beyoncé recently brought to the mainstream,
      called "booty popping." Islamic authorities in several Indonesian
      provinces have banned the dance, Muslim clerics have called for a
      national boycott of Inul's performances and pray for rain to keep
      fans away from her shows. She is also frequently cited as a reason to
      pass the hotly debated national anti-pornography bill. Nonetheless,
      Inul regularly draws audiences of more than 10,000, and millions of
      pirated VCDs of her performances have been sold
      > in Indonesia. The singer-dancer, whose name means "the girl with
      breasts," dresses much like her pop counterparts in the Middle East,
      but she also has diamonds embedded in her teeth, a fashion statement
      made famous by American rappers.
      >
      > And who is the most popular singer in Iraq? "That's easy," said
      ABC Baghdad correspondent John Berman in a "Nightline"
      segment. "Lionel Richie." "Grown Iraqi men get misty-eyed by the mere
      mention of his name. 'I love Lionel Richie,' they say. Iraqis who do
      not understand a word of English can sing an entire Lionel Richie
      song." Asked to explain this phenomenon, Richie, who has performed in
      Morocco, Dubai, Qatar, and Libya, could not: "The answer is, I'm
      huge, huge in the Arab world. The answer as to why is, I don't have
      the slightest idea."
      >
      > Why, then, does black music get so little praise from the would-
      be evangelists of democracy? If African-American music helped bring
      down the Soviet Union and is a mortal enemy of Islamic
      fundamentalism, why has it not been promoted by American political
      leaders as a beacon of freedom? The answer might be that, by
      necessity, leaders of all political varieties share a devotion to
      social order. This may explain why no less a liberal than Franklin
      Roosevelt banned jazz in concerts sponsored by his Works Progress
      Administration, or why rock 'n' roll was denounced by both Democrats
      and Republicans for causing juvenile delinquency in the 1950s. It
      could help us understand why civil rights leaders such as W.E.B.
      DuBois, Martin Luther King Jr., and Al Sharpton, who have all sought
      a share of responsibility for the nation, have collectively attacked
      every form of black popular music from jazz to rap, or why Tipper
      Gore and Susan Baker, the wife of Ronald Reagan's treasury secretary
      > James Baker, could find common cause as co-chairs of the Parents
      Music Resource Center, which called for censoring rap, R&B and rock
      lyrics.
      >
      > Of course, the form of black pop music currently ascendant, hip-
      hop, is attacked by American political figures across the spectrum
      for promoting sex, consumerism and "irresponsibility. " Ironically,
      these critics sound very much like their enemies in Tehran.
      Naturally, the Bush administration has nothing good to say about hip-
      hop, and American liberals are generally "disappointed" when Arabs
      are more interested in vulgar pop songs than in democracy. But if we
      are serious about promoting freedom -- here or in the Middle East --
      there may be no better way than to promote Beyoncé.
      >
      > Yusuf Nuruddin <yusufnuruddin@...> wrote:
      > Harold Bloom, the noted Yale literary critic (who happens to be
      white and Jewish) placed Mumbo Jumbo on his list of the 500 greatest
      books of world literature, i.e., one of the 500 most important boks
      ever written.
      >
      > See Henry Louis Gates, Harvard's famed African-Americanist,
      treatment of Mumbo Jumbo in Black Literature and Literary Criticism.
      Gates first earned his reputation as a literary scholar with his
      analysis of Mumbo Jumbo.
      >
      > I am 56 and I first read the book 30 years ago in 1976 when I
      was 26. It is a mind-blowing experience of the first order. First
      of all there is the STYLE, it is written in a jazz idiom -- although
      most scholars say that it is written in the format of film-clips --
      but whether the analogy is an improvisational jazz motif or cinematic
      film clips, what Reed has done is liberated the novel by defying
      conventional structure --and it works. Next there is the CONTENT.
      Reed deals with some of the most fundamental issues being debated and
      discussed in black studies today:
      >
      > (1) What is the African contribution to world civilization?
      > (2) What is the African contribution to American civilization?
      > (3) What is the model that we nedd for our cultural reascension
      and liberation --an Inner City hoemgrown Islam or an
      Afrocentric/Ancient Kemetic and West Arican Traditional Religion.
      >
      > Jes Grew -- which is taken from a statement about Topsy in
      Harriet Beecher Stowes' Uncle Tom's Cabin -- (How did she get here? --
      she just grew) becomes a metaphor for infectious black music and
      dance which is at the center of black culture --an epidemic which
      infects white people and causes them to shakle their boodoies and act
      primitive -- as in the Gay Nineties (1890sZ) when they were infected
      by Ragtime, and the Roaring Twenties 1920s or Jazz Age. This is a
      roman 'a clef, although set in the 1920s it was making statements
      about contemporary black culture: Soul Music/Rhythm and Blues, Funk,
      Disco Beats, Hip Hop/Salsa/Reggae --this is the World Beat -- it is
      the life force of the planet. In essence, Reed is arguing that black
      people are the life-force of the planet, that our music dance,
      rhythms, cosmic conception of the world, our orishas or deities,
      etc., animate and give life and power to a world that would otherwise
      be dead and lifeless. However some some stiff
      > Eurocentric white supremacists -- tyhe Wallflower Order or
      Atonists (this goes back to the monotheism of the Pharoah Akhenaton
      which was an antithesis to the polytheism that exitsed beforte) want
      to stamp out the African life-force, especially when they see white
      people being "infected" with it, by the black presence in the US.
      the wal;lflower Order feels that this African life force would cause
      the destruction of white civilization, everyone would be come black
      in spirit. It is Fear of a Black Planet that drives white supremacist
      to denigrate and devalue black culture. Then there is a whole
      reconstruction of Ancient Kemetic (Egyptian) History which puts a new
      light on all of world history which is seen as struggle between
      varuious secret societies. Freemasonry I think is being lampooned in
      the novel as the Wallflower Order. There is the idea of the WORK of
      the secret societies, secret undertakings which decide the course of
      world history. There are the two protagonists
      > Papa La Bas (named fo the the Yoruba orisha Elegba) who is a
      voodoo priest or hougan and his best friend Abdul Hamid Sufi (a
      Muslim brother who is a polymath and bibliophile self-educated while
      in prison) who argues with La Bas that Islam is what black people
      need (think Malcolm X or Elijah Muhammad, or Noble Drew Ali, etc.),
      while La Bas says we need to back to our African Traditional
      religions of polytheism, spirit possession, etc. There are several
      subplots going on, ther is the Mutafikah (mutha fu..kas) who steal
      back the sacred artifacts of Third World people which have been
      stolen and put in European Museums, thus robbing the third World of
      its fetishes which have sacred power. there is a whole subplot about
      Freudian Psychology being afaid to delve deeper into the subconscious
      of man, as Jung did with Jungian analysis and the concept of the
      > collective unconscious -- wbecause it would reveal the primitive
      African origins of man and African belief sysytems as the fundamental
      substratum of the psyche.
      >
      > There is just a whole lot going on in this book, it is a three
      ring circus with plots and subplots going on all at once, and it is
      written in a style that DECEPTIVELY would have people believe that is
      is MUMBO JUMBO --i.e., UNDECIPHERABLE JIBBERISH, when in fact it is
      the other meaning of Mumbo Jumbo --a spell, a spiritual incantation
      which holds you under its sway.
      >
      > Anyway i only read it once all the way through 29 years ago,
      although I have picked it up several times over the years to read
      certain sections over again, so my memory is fuzzy. But all I can
      tell you is PLEASE READ THIS BOOK, it is one of the deepest books
      ever written.
      >
      > Yusuf
      > akanke01 <hunni79@...> wrote:
      > I'm under 50 years old, tried to read Mumbo Jumbo and
      couldn't get
      > into it. And I really tried. In my youthful way, I then decided it
      > was crap. Now, I haven't burned it or passed it off on some
      > unsuspecting reader yet...by all means, please give me a reason to
      > try again...?
      >
      > Akanke
      >
      > --- In SciFiNoir_Lit@yahoogroups.com, "ravenadal" <ravenadal@>
      > wrote:
      > >
      > > I read it in my sane and sober youth when I read most authors,
      > > including Reed, sequentially. Freelance Pallbearers, Yellow Back
      > > Radio Broke-Down, Mumbo Jumbo, The Last of Lousiana Red and
      Flight
      > to
      > > Canada. I loved the crazy-cool jazz of his titles.
      > > Reed coined one of my favorite expressions: "Writing is Fighting"
      > > (from his collection "Writing is Fighting: Thirty-Seven Years of
      > > Boxing on Paper").
      > >
      > > The real question is "has anyone under the age of FIFTY read Mumbo
      > > Jumble?"
      > >
      > > ~rave!
      > >
      > > --- In SciFiNoir_Lit@yahoogroups.com, "Chris Hayden" <Frofidemus@>
      > > wrote:
      > > >
      > > > While reading VALIS I kept thinking about Mumbo Jumbo by
      Ishmael
      > Reed.
      > > > Seems to me that they share many things in common--flights in
      > time
      > > > travel and pov, dispensation with traditional methods of story
      > telling,
      > > > ideas more important than other elements such as character.
      > > >
      > > > It would seem to me that it might qualify, if not as a work of
      > Science
      > > > Fiction, a work of Speculative Fiction, what with it's occult,
      > > > mythological and hoodoo elements.
      > > >
      > > > Anybody read it?
      > > >
      > >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > ---------------------------------
      > Do you Yahoo!?
      > Get on board. You're invited to try the new Yahoo! Mail.
      >
      >
      >
      > ---------------------------------
      > Do you Yahoo!?
      > Get on board. You're invited to try the new Yahoo! Mail.
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
    • Akua
      YEAH! Dig that crazy world spinning thought. Rhythm heard round the world (or not heard re: Ark of Bones by Dumas... that story on members only...) anyway i
      Message 2 of 6 , Sep 1, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        YEAH! Dig that crazy world spinning thought. Rhythm heard round the world
        (or not heard re: Ark of Bones by Dumas... that story on members only...)
        anyway i just wanted to do a long shout out to
        the bit i knew a bit about through this wonderful
        book called the Bass Saxophone that I read like
        Mumbo Jumbo waaaay back in the day and so i
        scanned the web for some bits to quote...

        If only i could hold a mirror up for some young
        folk that showed them their own inherent
        beauty and genius, so they would continue to invent the best and leave the rest



        "The Bass Saxophone highlights a group of
        jazz-obsessed youth in 1944 German-occupied
        Czechoslovakia, who risk their lives to attain
        'inner' freedom by playing, in the words of
        Goebels, 'decadent judeo-negroid music,' or
        'jazz'. The teens give new absurd German and
        Czech titles, authors, and lyrics to forbidden
        swing standards, and thus find a way to fool
        their leaders. One of the young men, Danny, is an
        aspiring saxophone player and a would-be
        womanizer. One day, in front of the town's
        decrepit old hotel, Danny catches a glimpse of a
        bass saxophone, an instrument more legendary than
        real, as it is being unloaded for a traveling
        German dance orchestra. Attracted by the 'brass
        monster,' Danny is drafted to carry the
        instrument into the dilapidated labyrinthine
        hotel, where he meets a bizarre Wehrmacht band of
        crippled and malformed musicians. The freak band
        entices him to jam with them, mixing kitschy
        Mittel-European musical trash with Danny's
        beloved forbidden Swing tunes. In a
        transcendental moment of human togetherness, the
        'inferior race' youth jams with the motley crew
        of German Army musicians, blotting out the war
        reality for one memorable night."

        The script is adapted from a short story by Czech
        writer Josef Skvorecky, and follows a Czech
        musician in German-occupied Czechoslovakia during
        World War II. The protagonist is half-ordered /
        half-lured into playing with a group of German
        musicians, and is torn between his loyalty to his
        love of music and his loyalty to his countrymen.
        With the young man in their midst, all of the
        characters find themselves relating the stories
        of their lives before the war. The hero faces the
        dilemma of patriotism, insofar as it relates to
        genuine human interaction, and questions whether
        he has more in common with German musicians than
        he is readily comfortable with admitting.


        . Bassaxofon (The Bass Saxophone): Svobodné
        Slovo, Prague, 1967 (in Babylónsk? príbeh);
        Sixty-Eight Publishers, Corp.,
        translation U.S.A. (Knopf, 1979)

        " I reached for the mouthpiece, attached it, and
        opened the plush lid of the little compartment in
        the corner of the coffin; there they were, a
        bundle of big reeds, like the shovels bakers use
        to take bread out of the oven; I stuck one of the
        reeds in its holder, straightened the edge, and
        putting the mouthpiece in my mouth, moistened the
        reed. I didn't play. I just stood there with the
        mouthpiece in my mouth, my fingers spread and
        embracing the immense body of the saxophone, my
        eyes misty; I pressed the big valves. A bass
        saxophone.
        I had never held one in my hands before; I felt
        as if I were embracing a mistress (Domanin's
        daughter, that mysterious lily among aquariums,
        or Irene, who didn't give a damn about me; in
        fact I couldn't have been happier if I had been
        holding Irene, or even that girl of the fish and
        the moon). I stood there, a little slumped, and I
        saw myself in the mirror of the dressing table,
        hunched over with the bass saxophone resting the
        bend of its corpus on the carpet, immersed in a
        sea of shimmering particles, the unreal light of
        a grotesque myth, like a genre painting, though
        certainly no such painting exists: Young Man with
        Bass Saxophone. Yes, Young Man with Guitar, Young
        Man with Pipe, Young Man with Jug, yes, young man
        with anything at all, but not with bass saxophone
        on worn carpet, young man in golden haze of
        afternoon sun penetrating muslin curtains, with a
        mute bass saxophone, the Disney-like rococo of
        the wardrobe in the background, and the man with
        his chin sticking up out of the pillow like a
        corpse. Just a young man with bass saxophone and
        sleeping man. Absurd. Yet that was the way it was.

        I exhaled lightly. A little harder. I felt the
        reed quiver. I blew into the mouthpiece, running
        my fingers down the valves; what emerged from the
        bell like a washbasin was a cruel, beautiful,
        infinitely sad sound.
        Maybe that's the way dying brachiosaurs wailed.
        The sound filled the beige chamber with a muted
        desolation. A fuzzy, hybrid tone, an acoustical
        alloy of some nonexistent bass cello and bass
        oboe, but more explosive, a nerve-shattering
        bellow, the voice of a melancholy gorilla; just
        that one sorrowful tone, sad, like a bell -
        traurig wie eine Glocke; just that one single
        sound."

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Chris Hayden
        ... world ... only...) ... leave the rest
        Message 3 of 6 , Sep 2, 2006
        • 0 Attachment
          <<Did you ever see the movie Swing Kids?>>

          --- In SciFiNoir_Lit@yahoogroups.com, Akua <akua@...> wrote:
          >
          > YEAH! Dig that crazy world spinning thought. Rhythm heard round the
          world
          > (or not heard re: Ark of Bones by Dumas... that story on members
          only...)
          > anyway i just wanted to do a long shout out to
          > the bit i knew a bit about through this wonderful
          > book called the Bass Saxophone that I read like
          > Mumbo Jumbo waaaay back in the day and so i
          > scanned the web for some bits to quote...
          >
          > If only i could hold a mirror up for some young
          > folk that showed them their own inherent
          > beauty and genius, so they would continue to invent the best and
          leave the rest
          >
          >
          >
          > "The Bass Saxophone highlights a group of
          > jazz-obsessed youth in 1944 German-occupied
          > Czechoslovakia, who risk their lives to attain
          > 'inner' freedom by playing, in the words of
          > Goebels, 'decadent judeo-negroid music,' or
          > 'jazz'. The teens give new absurd German and
          > Czech titles, authors, and lyrics to forbidden
          > swing standards, and thus find a way to fool
          > their leaders. One of the young men, Danny, is an
          > aspiring saxophone player and a would-be
          > womanizer. One day, in front of the town's
          > decrepit old hotel, Danny catches a glimpse of a
          > bass saxophone, an instrument more legendary than
          > real, as it is being unloaded for a traveling
          > German dance orchestra. Attracted by the 'brass
          > monster,' Danny is drafted to carry the
          > instrument into the dilapidated labyrinthine
          > hotel, where he meets a bizarre Wehrmacht band of
          > crippled and malformed musicians. The freak band
          > entices him to jam with them, mixing kitschy
          > Mittel-European musical trash with Danny's
          > beloved forbidden Swing tunes. In a
          > transcendental moment of human togetherness, the
          > 'inferior race' youth jams with the motley crew
          > of German Army musicians, blotting out the war
          > reality for one memorable night."
          >
          > The script is adapted from a short story by Czech
          > writer Josef Skvorecky, and follows a Czech
          > musician in German-occupied Czechoslovakia during
          > World War II. The protagonist is half-ordered /
          > half-lured into playing with a group of German
          > musicians, and is torn between his loyalty to his
          > love of music and his loyalty to his countrymen.
          > With the young man in their midst, all of the
          > characters find themselves relating the stories
          > of their lives before the war. The hero faces the
          > dilemma of patriotism, insofar as it relates to
          > genuine human interaction, and questions whether
          > he has more in common with German musicians than
          > he is readily comfortable with admitting.
          >
          >
          > . Bassaxofon (The Bass Saxophone): Svobodné
          > Slovo, Prague, 1967 (in Babylónsk? príbeh);
          > Sixty-Eight Publishers, Corp.,
          > translation U.S.A. (Knopf, 1979)
          >
          > " I reached for the mouthpiece, attached it, and
          > opened the plush lid of the little compartment in
          > the corner of the coffin; there they were, a
          > bundle of big reeds, like the shovels bakers use
          > to take bread out of the oven; I stuck one of the
          > reeds in its holder, straightened the edge, and
          > putting the mouthpiece in my mouth, moistened the
          > reed. I didn't play. I just stood there with the
          > mouthpiece in my mouth, my fingers spread and
          > embracing the immense body of the saxophone, my
          > eyes misty; I pressed the big valves. A bass
          > saxophone.
          > I had never held one in my hands before; I felt
          > as if I were embracing a mistress (Domanin's
          > daughter, that mysterious lily among aquariums,
          > or Irene, who didn't give a damn about me; in
          > fact I couldn't have been happier if I had been
          > holding Irene, or even that girl of the fish and
          > the moon). I stood there, a little slumped, and I
          > saw myself in the mirror of the dressing table,
          > hunched over with the bass saxophone resting the
          > bend of its corpus on the carpet, immersed in a
          > sea of shimmering particles, the unreal light of
          > a grotesque myth, like a genre painting, though
          > certainly no such painting exists: Young Man with
          > Bass Saxophone. Yes, Young Man with Guitar, Young
          > Man with Pipe, Young Man with Jug, yes, young man
          > with anything at all, but not with bass saxophone
          > on worn carpet, young man in golden haze of
          > afternoon sun penetrating muslin curtains, with a
          > mute bass saxophone, the Disney-like rococo of
          > the wardrobe in the background, and the man with
          > his chin sticking up out of the pillow like a
          > corpse. Just a young man with bass saxophone and
          > sleeping man. Absurd. Yet that was the way it was.
          >
          > I exhaled lightly. A little harder. I felt the
          > reed quiver. I blew into the mouthpiece, running
          > my fingers down the valves; what emerged from the
          > bell like a washbasin was a cruel, beautiful,
          > infinitely sad sound.
          > Maybe that's the way dying brachiosaurs wailed.
          > The sound filled the beige chamber with a muted
          > desolation. A fuzzy, hybrid tone, an acoustical
          > alloy of some nonexistent bass cello and bass
          > oboe, but more explosive, a nerve-shattering
          > bellow, the voice of a melancholy gorilla; just
          > that one sorrowful tone, sad, like a bell -
          > traurig wie eine Glocke; just that one single
          > sound."
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
        • Akua
          Nope, never saw Swing Kids, Chris... tell me more
          Message 4 of 6 , Sep 2, 2006
          • 0 Attachment
            Nope, never saw Swing Kids, Chris... tell me more
          Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.