Wayne Shorter Quartet
featuring Brian Blade, John Patitucci and Danilo Perez
“Nietzsche wrote that life could be justified as being only an aesthetic phenomenon. This means relinquishing
the need to be intelligible. Aesthetics are exactly that which defies meaning. Here, music served as his constant
example. Any attempt to discern the meaning of a piece of music would thus be more misleading than
erroneous. Music makes palpable what great art demonstrates: to speak about its meaning is more than
Success always brings something suspect with it. What is gained with ease tends to belittle the effort behind the
creative struggle, erasing the difficulties that mark the thankless path that the artist treads. Art must possess the
propensity toward oblivion, toward the fall, contained in the asceticism of life as a condition for salvation.
Persuading us to follow a certain faith that is situated beyond-desire and whose main explicit logic is the
symbolic alchemy of internal reflection makes sacrifice a personal investment that will only reap rewards if it is,
or appears to be, made without asking for anything in return.
The notion of time contained in the music of Wayne Shorter contradicts analyses with its easier, lighter side in
which art transposes itself into a strange economic mechanism, accusing the utilitarian side unfettered by regard
for profit. All is made manifest as if there existed some tangible number that reduces us to symbolic offerings of a
work of art without price, subject to the simple process of a commercial exchange. Jazz is seen as a mirror of
human capacity interpreted at a certain time in history which made the sound event’s main form more real,
defining itself, appointing and dramatizing itself (as opposed to other arts) and always in the opposite direction
of economic concerns - with a mission to resolve the lack of identity instituted by a particular group of men in the
The content of a piece of work is quite beyond superficial characteristics. The artistic product possesses an
accumulation of references that mark the place where the most applicable meanings are located, as well as the
reasons that imbue it with sense, yet do not belong to nor are situated in the space outside its command. Thus, we
have to try to ascertain what causes its impulses, far from the place where they originated, and to investigate, in
an unaccustomed way, and respond to the stimulus of permanent re-creation of the self.
When someone wishes to limit the language that is applied to a correct viewing of the world - staying within the
horizons of objective comprehension or acting rationally with understood facts - he suffers from the inability to
reencounter firm narration, perceiving thus a permanently empty space. Wayne Shorter presents this notion of
consolidated time in a firmly luxuriant way. It is only a simple sensation of disenchantment that can succeed in
reconstituting the wealth of successful approaches so that, within the notion of an incorporated language,
semantics can be fixed upon the experienced object and can transmit what is felt.
A negation of emotion and sentiment that aims at senseless equality may be understood as the inability to
comprehend the existence of something that deserves our respect and consideration, or as an attempt at artistic
normalization independent of spoken language. This normalization cannot be summarized as the task of finding
official formulas once the function of art has been dutifully assigned as the urgent need to invent, create or
produce something. Frequently, the act of searching for meaning includes encountering its own nonsense, and
this opposition dawns on us as being the need to ironically look upon the moment of regenerating what has
Criticism does not suspend the order established by the systemic affairs of societies, nor does it create a new
terrain for reconstruction, limiting itself to providing the synthesis and restructuring of material overused in the
past. The memory of symbols helps to ponder the sorting and dispositions that allow for new access to a mutating
reality. The cult of this original moment, including the music of Wayne Shorter, re-establishes itself in the
present instantaneous artificiality of aesthetics as a constant desecration of nature.
Art can also be an escape. In a yanking impulse, the artist is attracted by a something striking his imagination as
odd, a force able to carry him off to sensually explore the reign of the atypical and the land of disarray, depicted
in a notion of beauty that, being new, is anti-natural. We are arriving at the stage where what is being made more
real is the aesthetic assimilation of decadence, the observation that this is the last of the rest, the saturated
consumption remade in a normal format, certified by the totality of unnatural acts within a society already
incapable of being further shocked by provocations or scandal.
The difficult task is to pull music from this admitted indifference and to bestow upon it an autonomous
dimension, one that is justified by truth unencumbered by ideological baggage. A person who wishes to
undertake a course that negates reality and the learning it entails will have to (just as someone who wishes to
write and perform music) follow a path of loneliness in his examination and libertine exploration of the spaces
opened up by freedom, releasing himself from the commitment of the vast majority that pleads for intellectual
submission in the face of true challenges.
Jorge Reis, Nelson Cascais, Bruno Pedroso, Pedro Moreira
featuring John Ellis, Alan Ferber and Brad Shepik
A moral crisis is clearly visible. There are too many interests that have come forth in art and music that are too
difficult to maneuver. The fading boundaries of creativity are being handed over more and more to the
management of opportunities and ambitions. This fact makes the mediatization of jazz a desertion plan for the
grand proposes of our artistic performances. Circumscribing us with pragmatic attitudes where each individual
deals exclusively with his own minor affairs, careerism officially jumps to the foreground in our lives.
To have a vigorous operating image takes on increasing importance, and knowing how to occupy all available
spaces and to act socially has become a fundamental art in life, a survival ritual, facilitated by formality and by
the bureaucracy of good manners. Activities surrounding jazz have been subjected to this regime of dark humor
via a glorification of injustice that hurls us toward global impoverishment.
All activities intrinsic to art, in terms of their own justification, should entail the endeavoring to seek out an
unadulterated conscience capable of sustaining an effective capacity for defiance. This Collective displays the
presence of a widened awareness, expressed in the ample freedom to assess, which is only possible through a
scrupulous respect for the equality of opportunities, actions and revelations.
It is well known that common sense demands reflection as to what lies outside the natural state of reasonableness
and balance. When the various writings and ideas about jazz have been taken into account, immediately
debilitated by the inexistence of a sufficiently audible counter-discursive mechanism, the revealed fundamental
element of de-negation, it can be concluded that monopolies continue in active development and that everything
is repeated in a selfish process of affirmation. Success, the fruit of isolation, and the absence of tendency,
together, guide us to the absurd and to those fragile proceedings of erasure and omission which weaken content
and jeopardize the reading of peripheral vision of all those who are situated on the other side.
New proactive elements prepare its globalization, from which no one expects to see anything awe-inspiring. The
cult, which has grown worse by revolt as well as by the praise from marginal entities, rushes in, always in an
amazing way, without any type of significance, in a totally uncovered world full of deceitful movements. The
gesture of moral indignation, lacking in any action or foundation, remains forever dependent on the prevalence
of tame customs.
We must recognize the relativity of those senses and evaluations fed by disagreements and uncertainties. To
criticize and ponder jazz is to go further into what we know, yet always as subordinates to the limits of reason,
experience and knowledge. However, there is no possible demonstration of this music’s significance at the
present time. These limitations do not mean that the many analyses done in that past were poorly executed; they
are behind us, stating that we continue to confront the unknown and avoid being closed in by passive ignorance
of a retro vision.
This musical collaboration, brought together exclusively for the Festival under an arrangement between
Guimarães Jazz and a group of musicians, demonstrates how it can be disagreeable to transform jazz into an
object of nostalgia. Seen through the thick background of history, jazz becomes something of the past whose
analytical frame of reference has been displaced, constricted and made more specific. It would be more
intriguing to entertain the notion that the successive moving about of the focus of interest has brought music
closer to us, more at our scale, enduring in an enormously vast universe.
A work of art is great when it is born to a certain time, place, and culture and issued from the genius of the
creator, forming a whole of many distinct parts. Notwithstanding, the work is free from its limitations to become
the link between people of all ages and cultures. This is the phenomenon of acquired universality that conveys us
toward transcendence, at times apparently negated by more materialistic and simplistic visions.
Marc Copland, Tim Haggans, Drew Gress & Jochen Rückert
“I never had much taste for the ‘grand theory,’ and when I read works worthy of being placed in this category,
I can’t help but feel a certain irritation when I approach that typically schooled combination of false boldness
and true caution. I could reproduce here dozens of those pompous, almost empty sentences which, many times,
finish off with a disconnected listing of proper names followed by a date, that humble procession of
ethnologists, sociologists or historians who have provided ‘the grand theory’ with material for meditating on it,
and who bring to it, as a tribute, the testament of ‘positive proof’ indispensable to the new academic
We are permanently searching for an emancipated version of resistance, one that allows us to assume more
relevance in our deeds. The work of art, in its artistic fullness, becomes a completely sensitive object, an element
possessing specific structure, able to bring people to a consensus of wide universal meaning. Aesthetics flow out
as a concrete, fleshed-out model of minimum possibilities of common thought, gathering up meaning along the
crucial path of the search for truth.
The music of Marc Copland, thus, takes on greater worth as part of the active process of detecting truth which is,
in itself, an instrument that assesses what is real. The individual becomes complete in these contexts through the
synthesis of the universal and his specific world. The author appears as a mediator, someone who strives to
surmount limits by calling for the reconciliation of the universal and the personal spheres, yet facing the
apparent impossibility of achieving it.
People tend to view the world as an enormous amusement park, a predictable framework of entertainment
without any apparent meaning other than the satisfaction of immediate desires. Art requires that decisions,
choices, options and selective processes be made, such that it translates into a work about itself and about the
world as external reality.
Recognition bothers those who let themselves be imprisoned by simple deeds and futile actions, and in favoring
the lightness of active or proactive measures, innovative idea potential gets left behind. What is needed is to have
passion for the world as it is, which does not discount the possibility of sparking actions within that world that
will lead to change. This reality poses interesting questions with regard to how we bring our deeds into harmony
with our fundamental love for what gave us origin.
To enjoy music and appreciate what exists within it is to recognize that what it represents cannot be
extinguished. The musical space spreads beyond its limits, beyond the transformations imposed by social,
political and economic forces, interfering with space and words which, whether they concur or not, influence the
passions and take an active part in the elaboration of the world.
The artistry of Marc Copland displays a totality in transformation, in revolt, with critical awareness of life being
an essential part of creative clarification, well seated in the identification he has accomplished for that effect. The
existence of jazz presupposes the act of its own transformation and this action implies the need to proceed
critically in terms of jazz. Whoever complains about or denounces the time given to or the lack of interest in
critical processes is afraid of feeling everything that may be at stake, event those truths that were always firmly
held, or is afraid of becoming a prisoner of the argumentation surrounding the way music is analyzed.
Transforming actions are important parts of that reality where we intend to take action. If hopes can feed the
desire for transformation, and if they can help diminish our suffering when solutions of change are recognized,
this means that ill-feeling is also necessary for us to carry out firm modifications for persistent and bothersome
states of dissatisfaction. Fear appears as something pushed away from the possibility of our going to the deep
core of art, to the encounter with an unknown reality that reveals a totality that does not separate us from the
work of art, but inside which we would live with an infinite degree of perception and satisfaction.
It is human for us to want to experience in music some type of unique feeling of delight in order to be more
present witnesses of the moment of innovation. People aspire to be an integral part of an exclusive core, a small
visionary group with access to new sounds in their music, unaware that in many cases what they are listening to
contains precious little that is original. In jazz, the yearning for discovery can be sensed.
ESMAE Jazz Sextet
Ivan Silvestre, João Pedro Brandão, António Pedro Saramago, Alexandre Dahmen, Carl
Minnemann, Marcos Cavaleiro
ESMAE, the Superior School for Music and the Performing Arts, has undertaken the important work of jazz
education and promotion. The ESMAE Jazz Sextet, made up of students, was awarded the prize for the Best
Combo in a competition of jazz schools held at the 4th Jazz Fest in 2006 at the Teatro São Luís. Musicians Ivan
Silvestre and João Pedro Brandão tied for the Best Soloist award and Marcos Cavaleiro received an Honorable
With great artistic potential and an exciting, budding future ahead of them, the group has represented the school
in various concerts at the Centro Cultural de Belém, previous Guimarães Jazz Festivals, the National Theater of
São João and the Teatro São Luís.
Abdullah Ibrahim Trio
“... Let us stop aiming at originality at any price, at wanting everything that is always “new,” even when it is
not. Originality is the illness of the century. Certainly, it goes pleasantly well with our narcissism, but it is
more correct, I believe, to understand first and foremost what unites us with the grand concepts of the past,
before we wandering off simply in search of the “unheard.” (4)
If we want the fullest benefit of perceiving and comprehending the implications of our choices, we must also
know how to preserve the identities of the present time. With Abdullah Ibrahim, variety in the discovery of jazz
makes it such that we must have an encounter with an essential bonding point or a common point, without our
putting aside our need to evaluate. The most original moments are found in processes and constructions that are
extremely difficult to capture, which makes the distance between each one of us, and the realities contained in
this distance, profound mechanisms of triumph and knowledge.
Jazz is an epiphenomenon whose essence is found outside itself, and through which it is difficult to transmit
ideas. What we write is nothing more than an effect wherein we place our short-term, impersonal aggressions
selected on the day when a disappearance makes us confront the grand anonymity of our origins.
Music remakes itself through common experience and the concept of life joined with its intervening agents. We
individualize ourselves in it and produce a third term between the personal and the universal, that which does
not exist inside us, and we adopt pathways where no one is completely the same. Even our own most individual
reactions are born of shared references, making them richer. The root that makes these inter-subjective relations
real is the source of art and of jazz, which guides common experiences and furnishes them with a more ample
The structures of language make the attempt at unity real, deduced in the logic of being right and having a firm
argument based on legitimate distrust, inseparable from the valorization of the subjective and the individual,
sometimes accumulated in vanities that unbalance the very possibility of there existing an authentic relationship
with other people. Without this possibility of an opening for all lived experiences, jazz becomes dry music - the
equivalent of accepting certain rules whose content we do not need know for them to control our emotions.
We will not have to wait too much before facing a more serene end. There is really only a little left that might
interest us in musical works. The fact that music will never reach a definitive point of realization means that
knowledge about this work is truly impossible to place. The music of Abdullah Ibrahim represents a well-
expressed life, always within itself as an experimental state.
The ideal of work as wisdom is a notion that objects to the impossibility of knowledge that is as non-practicable
as it is demanding, and which poses serious questions as to the difficulties we individually have in understanding
music. Relativizing the values used in its comprehension can help us understand why it is difficult or even
impossible for the entire ideal construction to happen.
There exists a love that is humble and totally unattached - aesthetic love. Its intention is not to possess anything,
nor is it afraid to lose anything. Similarly, the love that we have for a beautiful landscape does not imply that we
feel any type of desire to possess it. It is because of this that we find peace in ourselves and in the system of
pushing away interests, and at the same time we feel pleasure because we manage to love freely without
covetousness or excluding preferences or that completely particular recognition or fascination for the creative
Alexis Cuadrado, Alan Ferber, John Ellis, Mark Ferber and Brad Shepik
Music should establish a narrow and direct relationship with truth. When this relationship is being created with
its basis placed in information gathered about the most important events, a grave error is being made because to
inform is to interpret, to choose and to take a position. The forces that currently move information around imply
that we need to have at the ready massive doses of choices and interpretations in rapid circulation, without ever
having time to proceed with useful assimilation and its real appreciation. Thus, what grows larger is a system of
perception that makes it impossible to extract other truths from truth. We know that truth is not information and
that it does not always coincide with events. Although we today possess more knowledge than in the past, this
does not mean that what we currently read about jazz firmly can convey its essence in the future.
The experiences of this group of musicians reveal that there is not any extreme competition among its members.
In appropriating a phenomenon that does not belong to them in order to establish arguments of their own
interest and to protect a piece of power that concerns them, they succeed in creating an instantaneous moment
contained in each performance, which helps them to triumph in a state of satisfaction that is neither selfish nor
In contrast with the powers instilled in jazz, the musicians seem to want to zealously manage and learn to uphold
their music, which should be a type of counter-power - the condemnation of technical fidelity flowing from the
dominator relationship that humans have over other humans whenever ugliness appears in the fear of being
ridiculed or not being invited back to some event. This context, manipulated by an association of interests
nourished by expedients of information imposes fear over the person who dares speak out. The pseudo-vanguard
is currently dealing in this type of confrontation. And this is even more serious than the power is economic. Even
more serious is the fact that the truth cannot be spoken, being that the state of separation is one of the most
worrisome aspects of jazz and of the information that accompanies it. The difference between public and private
discourse warns us of the delicacy of a moment that obliges us to question the democratic formula of its own
Discredit is much more visible behind the brilliance. Although everyone is aware of this fact, time is still being
wasted with fantasies of omission by those who can no longer endure the secret of refusing yet wishing to say a
few things in public.
If a person has a certain superiority over others, it is not because he knows better what is good or hates evil more,
it is because he knows more truths, at least in the area we are concerned with, and because he as obtained more
means of analysis, criticism and argumentation. His purpose is not to give lessons in morality nor to judge, to
denounce or to condemn, but rather to understand and explain. The easy success of those who do not condemn is
due to the simplified methods that they use, putting off worries about truth and positive values. Thus, they have
the conclusion drawn that these means of information provide shelter for many of those who become
professionals or wish to become professionals in these activities of derision, with this attitude being essentially
the antithesis of any tendency toward the truth.
We have ceased expecting the best for some time now. No one believes in anything. The hour of lucidity and
courage is found in the possibility of our participating in something, in the moment that we consent to belonging
to a group of people that enjoys art and its more relevant manifestations without adhering to a plan of action and
transformation. In this context, all the militancy in jazz is out of joint and has no type of justification because it
does not have an activist objective.
The music of Alexis Cuadrado, Alan Ferber, John Ellis, Mark Ferber and Brad Shepik reaffirms, without
propaganda intent, that space where subjectivity is supreme and where the autonomy of the critic must
necessarily contain heteronomy. This fact packs in, even more, the need for us to situate ourselves in the time
when the vanguard will have exhausted itself and the ideologues will have found their end, snuffed out in the
final revolutions of salvation. There exist only people who are quite stirred up but who have nothing interesting
to add. Intelligence is a frequent visitor to all spaces, but the courage and amplitude of the view is not quite so.
AUTHOR: IVO MARTINS
EDITION: Guimarães Jazz Annual Journal #1 - Câmara Municipal de Guimarães/ Associação Cultural Convívio/ A Oficina
DATE: November 2006
“If a strategy, by its own nature, brought with it a guarantee of a result, if calculating it were a sure thing, one
would no longer be talking about a strategy. Strategy implies a conjecture, which is, to a certain extent, to
trust in the ‘not-knowing’ or in the incalculable: one calculates because there is something incalculable or
unknowable that cannot be ascertained beforehand. Thus, a strategic gamble consists of always making a
decision, or more paradoxically instead, delivering oneself over to a decision or making a decision that cannot
be completely justified. ” (1)
Jazz needs to engage itself in a continued effort of resistance, to push forward in the midst of the general decline
in aesthetic patterns. Threats coming from the democratization of culture have made this art susceptible to the
ever-growing process of mediatization to the extent that all those things which do not allow us to escape the
illusory well-being of banality and emptiness end up being revealed through an ample process of weakening of
Meanings are part of the context of contemporary existence and are useful to contradict the general tendencies of
aimless people, those who are subject to a state of apathy inclined toward determining forms of future
relationships, transferring them to other less materialistic values. The lack of sense has become a type of discrete
charm of daily living, acted out in the midst of numerous social events and presenting itself in subtly
participatory invitations. Appeals to emotional disaffection reflected in the various systems of communicative
mediation transform the notion of freedom into a question of commercial transparency.
Intended to begin a new era of search and satisfaction, based on entertainment as well as in the pursuit of other
insignificant social objectives, the creative act seems to emerge more and more from the exhortation of the
advantages of fulfillment without effort. The premise behind each person’s individual initiation is revealed
through the commitment displayed in the elevation of statutes, almost always associated with the glorification of
lack of knowledge, where what is most important is reduced to a condition of collective participation.
Our fear of being alone takes possession of everything that surrounds us like a contagion that spreads and
overwhelms us with devastation. Salvation is reached through moments when we flee our negation of this
obvious state of discontent. We attempt to find the key-word for a new world of consumer equality where the
limits of desertion are on sale and everything is commercialized at all times through the democratized leveling of
access to credit. In a uniform society made up of common-places, alienation and dehumanization, a collective
psychosis of incapability is born and conformism takes place as if it were a strange, almost mathematical
The larger the quantity of wasted knowledge, the lesser the quality of culture that is domesticated. The results
become what is classified as banal recommendations of everyday actions, stylized acts of taking possession in the
non-aesthetically fundamental part of our lives. Criticism of the dissolution of principals, this sort of cult of
paradoxical and useless rationality, displays itself without a future, eventually by over-attaining consciences in a
conjuncture full of pragmatism.
Reality is affirmed through the balance of common sense, more and more remade via a state of pacification that
results from the serenity achieved when we obtain and satisfy our needs. Little good it will do to question what is
acknowledged as normal and what predominates in all those places where activities are dedicated to negation
and to the utopia seen as out-of-kilter, contradictory and relative.
The end has come for old cosmological constructions, for the great religions and messianic policies. Actions of
resistance are achieved on a landscape of deep isolation, wrapped in total indifference, detected in the act of
veiling the soul in exchange for the slightest opportunity to participate.
In this unbearable attempt to be present, propped up by forms of existence that articulate themselves in life as a
unified-whole, this can only exist in fragmented moments. When we become aware of this and other limitations,
we realize to what extent we are governed by the power of contingency, which is assumed as a rather relevant
force in the dealings of Humanity. A state of inconstancy persists caused by the oscillation of chance and other
irregularities more and more apparent and indomitable.
The conceptual content of contemporary jazz, in its most interesting and possible form, is set forth under the
commonness of the accidental over the rational, translated into music remade in creative moments defined by
barrier-breaking mechanisms that, striking violently at the establishment, manage to survive in a rapidly-
Nothing teaches us to recognize the renewed and different process of reencountering utopia. The change
heralded by the active desire to alter contexts, which we constantly come across in history, is a radical
proposition derived from the inability of Man to find a relationship structure with Nature. This inelegance also
helps to explain the reasons behind our inability to create long-lasting and stable interactions: we will never be
able to establish balance or fruitful adjustments in our lifetimes.
At certain times, art opens up to become a network of small points of interaction, built overtop the failure of that
squandered relationship between Nature and Reason, which is perpetually making itself known. This is a
disjoined reality that sparked the resurgence of a great many interests which wanted to destroy all others just to
confirm its dominion in the area and never wanted to be a definitive end. The set of failed situations from various
revolutions in the past illustrates to what extent they are unable to evaluate their own contexts.
Music, deeply rooted and a reflex of contemporary dangers more often than not initiated in small, trivial and
insidious steps, repeats the transformation of its own truths. The cosmetics of make-believe has gotten us used to
not reacting to the distasteful things forced upon us and to forgiving them, which allows for all sorts of types of
discourse, and many of their speculations, to be repeated without any sort of justification.
The intent is to favor the artist, someone who systematically provokes the different degrees of destruction in
creative features and transformations, acting as a victim of his own work, standing before the evidence given by
accomplices. We are powerless as we watch all these alterations take place, those that prevail in the circularity of
arguments, and we accept their senseless repetition. Levels of guilt or shades of innocence cannot be graded
because the person who once was able to muster the clear conviction to burn books would certainly not hesitate
to burn people at the stake either.
The totality of personal experience is produced under certain historical conditions whose characteristics oblige us
to make use of critical conscience as reflected in the constant attention paid to what is presented to us as pretense
of authority. The practice of establishing a narrative for jazz requires distance in time, and frequently in space as
well. Sources of information provide deep changes in comprehension when we hear something for the second
time or return to it for repeated listenings. If we can identify these contexts as slurs against the world, we will be
able to recognize the importance of time in the process of evaluation and analysis.
Reflectivity also requires distance, yet is not an expedient to reinforce the permanence of subjectivity in the
constant process of acquiring knowledge. Permanence is not a fact but an act, a subjective activity, exercised and
revealed by whomever analyzes it, as a type of objective reflex by means of the elimination of a preexisting
subjectivity. The impossible has become true, and so many times, has become history.
Andrew Hill Quintet
“I would feel justly tempted to say that my experience in writing leads me to believe that one does not always
write with the desire to be understood; there is, on the contrary, a paradoxical desire for us not to be
understood; it is not simple, but there is something in it of “I hope not everyone understands everything in this
text”; thus, if the transparency of intelligibility were guaranteed, it would destroy the text, it would show that
it does not have a future, it does not overflow the present, that it may not be consumed immediately; however,
a certain area of the unknown and the incomprehensible is also a reserve and an excessive possibility - a
possibility that the excess will have a future and therefore will generate new contexts.” (5)
What is essential is not art itself, but what it reveals. What is essential is not music but a certain quality of
silence. Artists help in tolerating the real. Survival is life beyond life, the affirmation of those living who prefer to
live and who are deeply committed to confronting death.
Nietzsche said that we have art so that we do not die of truth. The wise man no longer needs it, so he lives in it.
The less artists have illusions about art, the more their works move us and touch us. This apparent contradiction
makes it such that all artistic works are directed toward something different, which is not necessarily a work of
The music of Andrew Hill demonstrates that creating, in the first place, is refusing, negating, contesting,
confronting, transforming and destroying. A process of salvation for art can be sensed, negating art itself - a
curious way of acting, revealed in one of the primary strategies of the artist on the path to the negation of himself
as well. The artist draws a synthesis between the personal and the universal, inviting us to initiate our own
process of individuation of existences against the collective always committed to taking power, which is assumed
as a unique opportunity that must be taken advantage of if we do not wish to spend the rest of our lives being
harassed by a want of death.
The work of art contains this attempt, this effort to surmount life, and thus it clearly transmits to those of us who
can perceive it, the convenience and the advantages of our making of life, as much as possible, something
sensible arriving from the future. At the same time, it introduces an interesting question that passes for a need to
define particular trajectories that constitute each and every person’s share - a universal ambition through which
we are linked and through which we participate in a state of complete humanity.
In each situation, it is necessary to create an adjusted means of exhibition to invent the rules of the singular event
and to bear in mind for whom it is destined. For Andrew Hill, jazz becomes a mechanism of particularization,
whether it is seen through a restricted group of its performers or by a larger group of people who enjoy it and
Musicians remain present. We recognize them, we love them, and even when we forget their names, we know at
least that their works, like all works of art, carry a hint of their personal characteristics inasmuch as they have
been conceded to all of humanity, given what a work may contain that is non-substitutable, unique or singular.
On the other hand, scientific discoveries occur over time, always completed by other discoveries. Living is not an
art. No art is life. These questions lead us to think about still others that drive us to know more, since supposedly
there is more truth inside of us than outside, although realized individuality does not necessarily have to be
confused with a work of art.
It is necessary to learn how to identify those men who, having reached an individuality able to provide meaning
to an immense collective, possess an almost miraculous alchemy of characteristics aimed in a universal direction.
In the elaboration of their work, some musicians truly dominate the history of jazz, given that others have
considered history internally, in other words, inside the grand boundaries that others have traced while not
surpassing the limit of universality.
Brussels Jazz Orchestra featuring Dave Liebman
The knowledge of what we need in order to think profoundly is frequently minimal. The idea that thought is a
practice more than a representation leads us to affirm that the analysis of music is a unique opportunity from
which we should reap total benefit. When someone wants to learn and absorb what is reflected up to a certain
moment in jazz even more (because societies alter themselves and each era of time invents its own analysis), he
brings to bear certain transforming efforts of speech in order to be able to live a more reasonable life. This does
not mean that a total agreement with everything that happens in the present must necessarily exist.
The critiques of some have become part of the necessary argument that consolidates even further those
experiences and the occasional character of events, getting them to dispense with interests. In the Brussels Jazz
Orchestra with Dave Liebman, everything is unsure and fleeting, and jazz, curiously, embodies this uncertainty,
the notion of real time that escapes us as clear proof of the anxiety of what we hear. In making a type of apology
for circumstance, this state of things suggests that the skeptics are always the strongest through the confession of
their weakness. On the other hand, the dogmatic (the weakest), through an inability to demonstrate their own
strength, tend to vulgarize the language, intending to make it more susceptible to be understood by a wider
public with a guarantee of the immediate support of these majorities.
The deeper a reflection is, the longer and more laborious is the reasoning that it is based in, and the more the
reasoning presupposes time for acquiring particular knowledge, making its understanding inaccessible. If we do
not consider the attempt to explain great music in a coherent way, in accordance with the level of commitment of
those who appreciate it, how can we negate the importance of those who choose to live closely with difficult
acceptance under the tension of the two extremes, the objective and the subjective? Here the doors are open to
territory that is quite fertile in contradictions and frustrations, whose success is improbable and that is so
impersonal and indifferent to the majority of people that it sends us toward a process of solitary affirmation of a
subject that should be forgotten.
The Brussels Jazz Orchestra with Dave Liebman refuses the conformist acceptance of the concept of a work of art
as a pleasant cultural commodity - an event that expels from its content all the negativity of conflict and essential
elements of its creation. The conflictory relationship between interest and refusal denounces the practice of
resistance, indicating conduct against censorship and against the lies that play an active part in the installed
model of alienation. Maintaining this confrontation and remaining in this conflict as a strategy for the sake of
ease in an entertaining jazz temperament is a form of protest against the mediatization of music, the
consumption of art and the transformation of culture into merchandise.
In abolishing the petty moment of delight, the spiritualization of art in its contemplative form, then, expresses an
abstract and de-phasing feeling of reality that reiterates the idea of poverty. Without effort, it is not possible to
avoid the division of art into cultural property, turning it into a “thing-ized” structure that is weakened and
compromised when striving for the maximum pleasure for the consumer and not the re-establishment of its
stylistic essence. What is left in the majority of cases has little to do with the object that is created.
Charlie Haiden Liberation Music Orchestra featuring Carla Bley
“But our techno-culture time has changed radically in this respect. The people of my generation, and the older
fortiori, had become accustomed to a certain historical rhythm: people thought they were able to judge
whether a certain work could survive or not, on the basis of its inherent qualities, for one, two, or as in the case
of Plato, twenty-five centuries. Disappearing and then being reborn. But today, the acceleration of archival
modalities, as well as usury and destruction, transform structure and temporality, the duration of the
inheritance. For the notion of thought, the question of survival (survie) henceforth assumes absolutely
unexpected things.” (6)
Analyses are representations of subjects that express themselves in a field of multiple discourses, turning this
reality a fundamental condition of critical activity. Charlie Haiden Liberation Music Orchestra develops an
idea/concept through which what is said concretely is an open and creative dialogue in various sensitive forms of
understanding music, among the intimate and strange, and among various factions. In his music we can
encounter a description composed of the interaction and the wrangling over the diverse forms of thinking,
common-places and near-discourses, bringing together texts that identify these scenarios of diversity and
describe the utopian textual space where a discursive complexity in a contradiction of voices can be sheltered.
Is it possible that the critic’s text can perfectly communicate what the musicians think, in which direct citation is
suppressed and benefits from a controlled discourse that more or less represents the author? Recourse to indirect
communication is inevitable and it appears to us as always supported at different levels of abstraction. Of little
worth are the questions that can be posed about what is being said. The possibility of living inside the mind of
others, apparently granted to the critic, is always debatable and presents a great many problems. This is one of
the constant questions in reference to a methodology adopted and a material impossible to respond to. The best
way for uncertain situations to describe themselves in music is to redirect an open text, a description subject to
The text survives us. Music pre-exists, leaving us shreds of itself. The always limited attempt at control on the
part of the person who performs a critique, and the vulnerability related to the act of weaving commentaries as
the text-word signifies, both help in understanding the need to strike or rip at what has been written so that it
can cause openings in the discourse of what is structured and attain a vision of relativity over the supreme
authority of the critic.
There do not exist words or neutral forms that belong to only one single person. Language is crossed by intentions
and emphases, and a part of a word belongs to many others. The critique is an interpretative experience,
accomplished via a constrained reality that involves various fields - music, the critic and the public. All the
elements are potentially political and significant because they whirl about among interests that communicate
and make themselves reasonable. Narrations can be innocent or elaborate to a greater or lesser degree, generally
expressing initial ignorance of what is being critiqued - the misunderstandings and the lack of contact.
Writing is ritual or a textualized act which cannot help but maintain an intimate relationship with the
production of a musical piece, becoming text and detached testimony of interpretive activity. The Charlie Haiden
Liberation Music Orchestra allows for a multiplicity of readings and reflects the fact that awareness can no
longer be taken to be the monopoly of certain individuals. Readers of every background will decode all music and
all words in a different way; thus, works of art must naturally be open to the most unpredictable readings.
Practice suggests that the possibility of a text making sense depends less on the voluntary intentions of the author
at the moment of the work’s inception but more on the creative capacity of the person who reads it. Roland
Barthes said: “a text is the agglomeration of quotes extracted from uncountable centers of culture (…) the unity of
text resides not in its origin but in its destination.” An arbitrary preference or merely a personal one, based on the
taste of the writer, cannot offer us rationally defensible principles for the narration.
The inclusion of innumerable histories of groups, some of those up to now unknown, appeals to the sense of
democracy which pushes the discipline to situate itself more and more outside itself. In post-modernism, there
exists a growing opportunity to create music upon multiple narratives and multiple ways of elaborating these
[footnotes from the portuguese, with alternative english source:]
(1) DERRIDA Jacques; FERRARIS, Maurizio, O gosto do Segredo, Lisboa, Fim de Século, 2006 [DERRIDA Jacques;
FERRARIS, Maurizio, A Taste for the Secret, Blackwell, 2001.]
(2) NEIMAN, Susan, O Mal no Pensamento Moderno, uma história alternativa da filosofia, Lisboa, Gradiva, 2005 [NEIMAN,
Susan, Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Philosophy, Princeton University Press, 2002.]
(3) BOURDIEU, Pierre, As Regras da Arte, génese e estrutura do campo literário, Lisboa, Editorial Presença, 1996
[BOURDIEU, P., The Rules of Art: Genesis and Structure of the Literary Field, tr. S. Emanuel, Stanford U. Press, 1996]
(4) COMTE-SPONVILLE, André; FERRY, Luc, A Sabedoria dos Modernos, Dez Questões para o Nosso Tempo, Lisboa,
Instituto Piaget, 2000.
(5) DERRIDA, Jacques; FERRARIS, Maurizio, O gosto do Segredo, Lisboa, Fim de Século, 2006 [DERRIDA Jacques;
FERRARIS, Maurizio, A Taste for the Secret, Blackwell, 2001.]
(6) DERRIDA, Jacques, Aprender Finalmente a Viver, Coimbra, Ariadne, 2005.
TRANSLATION: SCOTT M. CULP