Marcus Wyatt’s ZAR Jazz Orchestra Into Dust: situation normal, all fired up


“What could be more mysterious than a work of music?” writes US jazz critic Ted Gioia. “When the aliens arrive from their distant galaxy, they won’t have much trouble understanding our food, sex and politics – those all make perfect sense. But they will scratch their green scaly heads at why people plug music into their ears or get up and dance when the band starts to play. ‘Captain, we are unable to decipher the messages hidden in these three-minute bursts of sound and the earthlings refuse to give us the code.’ (…) And jazz performance may puzzle them most of all. What could be stranger than a band playing the identical song, night after night, but making it sound different each time?” ( )

Gioia has it right, of course. The shock of jazz’s new happens in process, in the moment, in the playing, whatever the repertoire and…

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