EDITION: Guimarães Jazz Annual Journal #4 - Câmara Municipal de Guimarães/ Associação Cultural Convívio/ A Oficina     DATE: November 2009 

Unraveling the interpretation of the dominant medium with a view to working
to secure the white spaces which enable the creation of one’s own imagination.

Interpersonal navigation through an intimacy-oriented labyrinth (1)

If looking at music from its very origin to the present day and considering it as the process of mimetization of
sounds coming from nature, it is understandable just how alive and well at present is the idea of initial discovery
of the possibilities underlying the manipulation of sounds, along its unending path from the random to the
constitution of systems, and from there to the attempts to break away and flee from those rules and conventions.
With one hundred and fifty years having passed since the appearance of jazz, one might acknowledge how this
music could be considered to be the last stone placed in one of the most complex structures built by man - the
system of music. We have seen nearly two centuries’ worth of intense and uninterrupted artistic activity over
which the immense possibilities of improvisation as a musical strategy have hung like a shadow. In the history of
music, there has always been the tendency to establish new ideas from already-existing musical formats, and in
this more recent historical period, we are present at the opening up of new territories of creative exploration
located between the two extreme margins of an art form that is susceptible and open to countless political
processes of the multitudes thirsting for change - on the one hand, for the ideals of freeing a humanity in
suffering, and on the other, the need for progress and development in spite of all the hardships and errors. This
strange desire to create persists as part of a utopian project of universalist weight in search of an ideal principle
of justice, something which has followed Man for centuries. The moments within this immense artistic invention
communicate amongst themselves, and in this dialogue they express the possibilities for synthesis of the temporal
categories of the past, present and future via each one of their characters - actors in an existential drama of
humanity which has lived out its madness and its fears.

We are thus intertwined by the guide-wire of memory, something which is also situated in the sound formula of
jazz which directs us as if there were the same narrative, repeated unendingly, in an odd feeling of a journey over
time - an interpersonal navigation through an intimacy-oriented labyrinth, where each corridor is
transformed into a version of the previous one yet always different. Looking at all the forms which knowledge and
information have attained, we become aware of the fact that everything which is discovered comes from the
inclusive forms of the expansive terrain of a life well lived by each individual as well as from the creative impulse
from internal worlds. Along the way we go on successively accumulating the many doubts which surface like
entrance-ways opening up to a new idea which has already been summarized. Everything is repeated in another
stepping-off point found in each simple and abstract musical equation. In this movement there is no longer any
place to go forward or back, nor are there any locations of arrival or departure. The musical experiences lie out
flat and converge in the prolonged process of global construction which makes everything progressively familiar
in a transforming closeness of existence, in survival, and in the ideal place where we can freely abandon ourselves
in the vestiges of all social references. In this odd feeling of accompanying we detect a singular and protective
imagination that appears to follow us.

The explanations given about jazz almost always take us back to a more general point of view and reveal a
situation which does not change the final event where this music is condensed.  The last moment of hearing it is
linked, in a spontaneous way, to our attention, represented by the wider bond of the forces called up by creation
and invention which lead us to perform tasks of personal searching whose beginnings are anchored in emotions
in a raw, unrefined state, awoken by contact with sound and where each ending emerges just as so many other
initial stimuli.

The history of music has always tried to order and chronologically sequence the countless feelings experienced by
following a set of condensed ideas already contained in many musical works from the past. Abolishing the
presuppositions of the historicist and rational framework of reading, a musician’s date of birth and all other
biographical information must necessarily be denied in order to let all prejudices and commitments fall to earth,
with each one of us off on a detour and ready to perform, however impossible our apprehension, the liberating
assessment of knowledge. This recently-acquired freedom allows us to center our attentions exclusively on the
process of imagination-building and enables us to listen just to the music. Although subject to the aggressive
mechanisms which render something out-of-date and wear it down, the creation of music seems to contain
within itself some redeeming and indestructible idea whose intangible core of pleasure is kept intact, able to
escape the assaults and the obsolete states of various contexts, thus surviving unharmed or untouched. This
ability to change by taking off from profoundly unalterable structures gives us the chance to reach the central
element of the system via the complete perception of what makes up creative talent - although the market where
music operates still favors more business-oriented features. Jazz is a music form which, from its birth, needs to
resist and to refuse to believe in the viability of societies which base themselves in a time of war and aggression; it
has nevertheless over time lost its marginality by being increasingly integrated into the system. The strength and
the recognition of these factors, and the marking of a path that is made from the margin to the center, favors the
utilization of the music in a new context of centrality as a liberating image of transformation - a universal,
guiding and peace-making symbol. However, the music has lost its dimension of confrontation and negation
which had fed it, today acting more as a symbol and criterion of aesthetic viability than as an engine that
produces creative power. Jazz has lost its habitat in contemporary society, and this loss has given rise to the need
to adopt other strategies for survival, ones which will not let it be absorbed by the external. These strategies make
up a new narrative founded in the ideas of the trajectory, of the journey, of wandering, of encounters and of the
happenstance of each case, bringing us back to the old myth of what is secret and what is mystery - moments
which are part of this secret imagination of power and freedom, condensed in the image of the solitary, and at
the same time worldly.

At the present time, this scenario seems rather worn out and non-functional, and it will be abandoned in the
future, thus becoming a small ghost-world whose main characters will remain forever suffering the horrors
resulting from the problems caused by the deterioration of the conditions of permanence in the individual
memory and the presence of history, both condemned to barely survive as distant echoes which float over a
discourse serving only to make things uniform. The global crisis of not-remembering would thus be a devastating
totality acting over our entire planetary system and would be a tragedy of global proportions, both present and
permanent. What we can find in this already-begun story will not be the beginning of yet another type of
participation. We must find another type of explanation for some of the features of those men who, bound
together as brothers, built jazz and risked being taken for the world’s downtrodden - the nomadic peoples who
wander about a devastated landscape. The emerge thus as groups of vagabonds, men without the slightest
reference to stable life, whose behavior appears to us as being out of kilter and incorrect, awkward and oddly
impersonal, merely holding on to a dream of an idea of resistance.

The importance of all beginnings (2)

Jazz assumes the role of a nomadic music form which wanders along in the context of the American landscape.
The songs emerge in an unusual way, originating from fortifications of marginality, yet with the passing of time
everything seems to be turning routine. The great moments in this music are brief spaces of performance which,
although open and intense, close right away and return to the state of apparent peacefulness from which they
have just come. The accumulation of different angles of vision, their overlapping and coincidence are more and
more present aspects of this music. The advances achieved are the result of the many activities and artistic events
that gave jazz the status of an unfinished art, as if it were possible to reach definitive artistic results.  However, in
this integrating and inclusive sound experience, the ephemeral and the fleeting acquire greater visibility,
enabling the appearance of renewed forms and many other styles quickly transformed into paradigmatic
structures, the testimony of a moment or an era. Without celebrity superstars, without objectives and without the
loss of movement, jazz attempts to maintain the principles that have made it an identifiable and personalized
musical form and an artistic process, with its genesis located a bit along the margins of those fast-paced, noisy
roads of an America booming with growth. In spite of this, its aesthetic development and the mutation of its
genres and styles occurred at dizzying speed, a parallel to the hyper-accelerated and compacted history of the
country. The highway, as a symbol of movement and rhythm (essential elements of jazz), can be considered as
one of the means through which this music was built, emerging as a part of its own imagination - the
representation of the horizon and the destination, the route traced out by one’s taste for the journey - propelling
us as if by obligation toward the future. Its actors are people without a perspective, living day-to-day without
concerns about tomorrow. Continuity and linearity are revealing features of a musical form in the same way that
discontinuity, uncertainty, fracturing and the chaos of broken sounds appear to us as referential spheres,
indispensible for reaching the determination of jazz’s singularity. Time and place seem to be out of phase and yet
intensely coherent although they do not have any clear connection between each other and are subject to a state
of generalized fragmentation. Jazz places itself within this broad process of loss of historical consciousness which
produces speed and favors the importance of all beginnings, stepping off from its spatial nothingness and
its temporal void.

Dissolution and fragmentation of identities (3)

Jazz can be considered a musical form which, due to the intensive cultural fusion afforded by the Great
Metropolis, has acquired a dimension that today is recognized as an open and expandable creative network and
an art form based on the presupposition of multiplicity able to maintain differences and all uniqueness intact.
Any musical apprehension is always a subjective act. Subjectivity projects itself through a process of cooperation
and communication among groups of individuals with each one in his own turn producing replicas of one
another’s work with other new forms of cooperation and communication, with this reproducing even more
subjectivity, and so on and so on. In this sort of spiral of connections, each moment in the chain takes off from
the creation of more subjectivity, coming together in a common foundation defined as innovation, whose result is
the making of an even richer reality. Today, the phenomenon of jazz is only able to flow when it is part of a more
general process of metamorphosis and constitution, becoming part of the body made up of the innumerable
differences, unchallenged in and amongst themselves, which press onward in parallel ranks and defiant when
confronted with being reduced to a single identity or unit. The grouping thus constituted is called the crowd - a
democratic way to live in close and common proximity. In this way, the body must necessarily be open and
pluralistic, never becoming an entirety divided into hierarchical or functional structures.
Post-modern society is characterized by the dissolution of its traditional social bodies, and it nurtures the
emergence of internal differences, striving to make these more evident. Whereas, paradoxically, modernists want
to protect or revive these traditional social bodies, the post-modernists accept and celebrate the dissolution
and fragmentation of identities (the people) and collective uniformities (the masses). The revivalist
evocation of these types of social forms from the past underlies a reference to nostalgia that is set up to face the
threat of an individualistic and fragmented society. There is an equally nostalgic and out of place tone in the
statements of a certain type of intimacy-oriented and freer jazz when the music goes off in search of new forms
and juxtaposes itself onto other genres by pointing to the non-existence of hierarchies of values, which, as we
have just stated, have no foundation in the world today. Post-modernity today reveals the final moment of the
grand popular narratives and the broad projects geared toward the masses, as identified in the innumerable
symptoms of defeat, visible in centralized forms. Jazz harkens back to a space for organizing networks, one
which causes relationships of authority to crumble, transforming them into relationships of collaboration. When
we distance ourselves from this way of understanding contemporary musical phenomena, we feel a manifest
inability to anticipate musical forms of the future.

The corridors of an immense territory (4)

At a certain moment in its history, jazz seems to re-initiate a structurization based on its past and on the
temporal decomposition of sounds centered on repetition and fragmentation in various acquired and
incorporated styles and genres. The music emerges apparently identical, but this time the surrounding context
makes itself felt through different points of view - the most recent of the forms harkens back to the one just prior
to it, and so on back down the line. Repetitions return at any moment, using other means and other forms of
expression as if they were running along so many other corridors of an immense territory formed by
accumulated and constantly adapted musical practices. In our wanting to follow the richness of its details and its
potential for stimulating the creation and development of new ideas from that which had already been
encountered, we attempt to affix onto jazz the entirety of an immense patrimony which it has already absorbed,
and in this process we have unwittingly found new and unforeseen comprehensive solutions at a moment when
nothing seemed to be happening. It is a question of insistence and perseverance in the search for a renewed idea -
a creative solution able to re-launch new revelations and new entrance-ways. It is only later that we become
aware that advances were made where they were least expected, and many times a surprising pull back is
experienced, with the strange feeling of loss and frustration, since we realize that we indeed were only able to
slightly touch upon a totally intangible sound. These moments lead us to ponder how art is giving out, losing
vitality in those insistent departures toward aimless directions which suggest some end or finality in sight - a
minimally solid and gainful point of arrival. Jazz lives and thrives off of this inconstancy and hardship, recycling
them in the apparent futility of being unable to wrap up or conclude its task at hand. This inconsequential state
brings jazz close to fiction, something which renews itself through its own very limitations.

A certain order in a narrative taken apart in pieces (5)

A fictional narrative can be imagined for jazz; a strategy of replacement is the best to explain it. Creation is a
liberating experience which gives rise to feelings of excitement because one is undertaking a risky activity, and
thus we play off of a state of uncertainty which expresses our cowardly nature. We live among remembrances and
the imagination, among the ghosts of the past and the specters of the future, reviving past moments and
inventing new needs to overcome them. We often confuse this process with reality and unreality and, unsatisfied
with the fear of failure, we must go on to reflect upon the weight of our experience of dread and what meaning
we can make of it. We end up being fearful of fear itself, an insidious mechanism which multiplies in strength
and which knows no bounds. In this type of all-out struggle for cultural survival, achieved through the
affirmation of our identity which we reach in our act of accomplishing something, we learn to use all the
instruments of navigation which the imagination supplies us and we feel that fear is just a part of nature’s grand
defense system and that this struggle will get more and more sophisticated, leading us to continually use
defensive reactions as we confront ever-insurmountable difficulties. Thus, our fiction would have to take several
chapters into account, each one beginning with a description of something produced by us - a representative
event of a leap into the unknown which, once we reach the culmination of the creative act, we denote with a date,
time and place (details which attribute a precise meaning and organize the event on a scale of repetitions of the
same action). This approach to art presupposes the accessibility to return to and perform endless re-readings of
the process and its visible results, crystallized in the pieces of work already carried out. This information is
ordered along a linear timeline and therefore continuous, projecting a strategy of domain over our routines and
following an order which has no leaps nor gaps. In jazz, these chapters would be systematically divided into
multiple and regular periods, at times dangerously and decreasingly attributed to personages who would act and
move about exclusively within the emergent musical context, ending up contributing decisively to the
individualization and the identity of music. Each musician would play the role of separator drawn among the
many singular individualities which, in the context of jazz, would appear as artificial spaces of historical
classification and tidying-up - lapses in time between narratives - exposed in a common wholeness set upon a
complex and diversified collective experience not susceptible to being understood in a piece-meal fashion. We
can thus see jazz and its different historical periods as a whole, detecting movements of more easily recognizable
characteristics; however, if we wish to look closely at music, we must consider each musician individually and the
unique experience he/she offers, which presupposes much closer attention, almost microscopic, to the work

One thing is the clarity of each experience; a quite different thing is the clarity of what that experience means.
Anglo-Saxon culture can more easily individualize these two dimensions since they can distinguish emotion (an
intimate, unconscious process) from feeling (a conscious sentiment and the product or feature which
accompanies the emotion). This skillful way of distinguishing what we feel intensifies the need to continue our
fiction as an essential moment capable of supplying sufficient explanations when we do not know where the
origins or the meanings of meaning are. We all live in the same reality, but each one of us lives his/her own
reality, an intra-reality which alludes to a space in bits and pieces, a separated body in which successive fictional
narratives are stitches that are sewn and darned into the individual parts of the story, putting back into each
creative experience a certain order in a narrative taken apart in pieces. By being fractured, the body of
jazz is transformed into a previously fragmented life, making it possible to act creatively internally. The effective
narrator is the one who can put together all the pieces of this immense puzzle made up of each one of these
personal stories in a reasonably coherent way such that there can be an order which can provide another level of
understanding at the horizon, ready to be discovered. The jazz musician, along with the audience, undertakes a
process of fictional construction while being faithful to the events and dialogues which have occurred throughout
his/her career, but in contrast is unable to radically transform the narrative structure. Actions can appear in an
unordered way, time can be fragmented and the narratives can be more or less coherent or illusory. The musician
does not hide any sentiments but hides behind the music as if behind some abstract way to create in order to
express everything that the artist has felt over the course of his/her life. The musician searches for tonal patterns
lacking in meaning for the listener, and they can attribute their own desired images and symbols. The artist is
walled in by the music, which prevents him/her from passing along concepts and affirming even the slightest
thing. To a certain extent, in jazz, a language written in code is revealed, a set of cryptic experiences without
evidence nor the slightest meaning, able to be encountered in other forms of artistic expression. This abstract
terrain does not close off any force to act or perform, nor is it necessarily related with the material world.

On a sound path (6)

Jazz music, over its history, has become an inaccessible narrator, a dissimulator in a drama of
incommunicability, whether for those who surround it or for those who are listening. The music acquires an
intensely auditory and emotional component although there is also an intrinsically motor dimension to it in that
we involuntarily tend to accompany the rhythm of the music with our bodies even when we are not consciously
listening to it. The act of performing a concert causes physical expressions in the musician which mirror the
narrative as well as the sensations and feelings stimulated by the sound, and it is this fact which explains why
many composers do not compose when they are playing. In jazz, improvisation obeys tested routines and
procedures, obliging us to question the principle from the spot where we perceive of it, contradicting the current
notion which presents it as a musical form exclusively based on improvisation. As jazz lives within music, the pre-
determined structures to which it is linked become evident. Composition proceeds along at a mental level,
coinciding with the performance moment, and this capacity shows that imagining the music can stimulate the
auditory sensibility as strongly as when we hear music.

Expectation and suggestion can intensify the musical image-frame considerably, producing an almost perceptive
experience which emerges in a spontaneous way. Our memory stores up great quantities of sounds and sound
sequences because our ears are being constantly bombarded by music and our circuits or musical networks are
always ready to follow down on a sound path, even without any clear external stimulus. Thus, a person
without music would suffer much more amnesia and be much less faithful to narratives; it would be as if
someone wrote a fiction on fluttering pieces of paper mixed up by the whims of the breeze where many pages get
lost along the creative path being taken. Having no cover or any type of binding to hold the sheets which contain
our story together, life would certainly be more uncertain, unsafe and dominated by a latent sensation of unease.
Despite the apparent order suggested by this pathway of conglutination of narratives, fears, lack of safety and
anguish still persist, serving to inform us about how things are going and obliging us to always take serious stock
of our situation.

The task of emptying out (7)

We can take advantage of any resulting unease by discovering new situations housed among the unfinished parts
of our history. For as exhaustive as its descriptions may be, the narrative is condemned to forever be incomplete,
leaving so many possible endings or solutions open and unfinished. When we end a melody, even using an abrupt
cut-off of the sounds, we still feel it extended in each one of the musical moments that elaborate on the emptiness
or lack of sound. We are permanently reconstituting past events, making it necessary to return to already-
experienced stories in order to reach deeper into them and go beyond their mere surface. We like the idea of
emptiness for the fact that it leaves everything open for us. Jazz is the perfect realization of this task of
emptying out, making available a space full of various fragments and undoubtedly pushing us toward the
disassembled body of a story. All movement contains this mechanism for fragmentation whose aesthetic
possibilities of the optical effect have been wonderfully explored by the kinetic in art. An image cut up into three
strips can still be visualized, giving proof to the internal confusion of a piece of music, but when we act
emotionally regarding what we hear, we manage to reverse this inability to organize ourselves in a creative mode
because creativity does not come from reasoning.

Life gets constantly derailed, and that is why it forces us to have a clear notion of the steps we have traced in the
past so that we can avoid new collisions in the wrong places. We constantly remake our initial narrative by
introducing other parallel narratives and replacement thoughts, anxious to take up again the principle of all
principles at the core of what exists as emptiness and fragmentation. Instead of being just a single anguish, this
beginning is above all an advantage translated into a dimensional difference, able to give us a greater ability to

To define and determine “the new” (8)

Jazz can be considered a type of music that was the harbinger for independent artistic movements that would
emerge at the end of the 20th century. Even today, these non-institutional movements on the periphery will
surface in the context of art in general despite the attempt to define and determine “the new,” and the
aesthetic limitations of its innovative character appear to us today more visible. The scenarios where events
happen today are clearly the same as the ones where things occurred in the past yet the results coming out today
seem new to us. The music is lucky enough to escape all types of labeling, breaking itself into fragments as a
kaleidoscope does, revealing itself successively through increasingly complex forms. This movement in the
direction of a radical conceptualization and rationalization of the artistic process emerges as an attempt to
criticize and question our progressive technological development, which has led to the abandonment of ethical
and aesthetic values as well as the recognition of the disappearance of the conditions necessary for the avant-
garde to exist. The contemporary affirmation of an idea from art as being the manifestation of all art can be
confirmed by the technical independence of the means of realizing the piece of art. Artistic production has
become technologically more autonomous and freer in its possibilities for expression, thus placing itself into the
cultural and social horizon where all genres of stimuli and symbols proliferate. Jazz has begun to feel inspiration
from other situations not directly related to its own existence, adopting all sorts of strategies and diverse artifacts
to keep itself alive, and crisscrossing processes to become increasingly experimental. Its sounds are transformed
into hybrid and mutant sounds as if the musical whole were moving along an exclusively psychological plane.
The ideas and labyrinths formed from this conceptualization open up a space of circulation through the mental
landscapes formulated among the songs, providing for different glimpses and feelings and new processes for
understanding. The jazz coming out of this situation seems to us to be a type of proposed model, a triptych made
up of rhythm, improvisation and mental explorations - a consequence of one’s getting lost in space and time -
whose network formed by all their ramifications makes it similar to the vast synaptic connections within the
brain. Music thus loses itself in successive contacts and happenstance, with incentives and support coming from
its enormous capacity for communication. Information and communication play an intrinsic role in the musical
phenomenon broadened out to areas quite beyond what is being heard - successive crisscrossing or knots in a
huge web where we are situated. We can see the various stylistic overlapping and the formation of complex
musical bodies which have occurred in an artistic and inventive space where the imagination seeks out creative
and successful solutions to resolve the innumerable problems which the world places before those who want to
live in it.

Every act is a performance (9)

What is commonplace is born of our necessity to only be able to communicate via languages, symbols, ideas and
shared relationships, and the result of this communication creates other languages, symbols, ideas and
relationships. The commonplace is the space produced in a dualistic relationship between social activity and
economic activity. The crowd emerges as an entity which corresponds to the subjectivity that emerges from the
dynamics of singularity and the sharing of the commonplace - a commonality. All activity produced represents a
relationship or a level of affection. In this broad context of exchange, the solution to problems or the
transmission of information is fundamentally a performance-based way of acting - the product is the very act, in
and of itself. Whereas the modernist work is mute and given to be set upon presuppositions, concepts and
universal values which speak for themselves and for us, the post-modernist work must be spoken and gregarious
in order to visualize the discourse and the construction of identity which mobilizes linguistic, communicational
and affective appetites. Language can only be produced when used in common; it could never be the product of
an individual standing alone as it is always the consequence of an interaction between a linguistic community
based on the ability to innovate and try out new signs. The present creative activity has managed to change
realities starting off with practices and habits, placed in circumstances different from any previous ones.
Whereas in the past, actions tended toward specialization and the application of defined and fixed activities
repeated over an indeterminate period of time, post-modern actions require a permanent capacity for adapting
to each context, demanding the adoption of more versatile and mutable practices in terms of flexibility and
organizational mobility, operating within a more unstable and inconstant medium where every act is a
performance. Jazz people thus had to resolve problems and exterior matters related to the music and had to
create more personal relationships, generating other ideas that were then used in their language, or in other
words, in their general ability and strength to express themselves from a position of undetermined potentiality
understood in its entire aesthetic form. As with language, jazz can be seen as an act of expression and dialogue,
and in this way, it has shown the need to find artistic solutions able to adapt themselves to these new ways of
perceiving the world and has known how to consolidate its singular position in culture through the processes of
release from musical compromise.
The willingness to liberate (10)

Jazz finds itself placed in the midst of innumerable failures in comprehension generated within a relationship of
continuity, or sometimes of confrontation, or only of latent tension between the narratives created by those who
listen to jazz or the very musicians who play it and the emotional discharge-force released by the music and
manifest in physical form and over which we have no control. At certain moments, these emotions emerge from
out of a fortuitous, intimate and individual place beyond the very sound itself and the circumstances in which the
music presents itself to us. Musical sensitivity, something which we cannot escape once we possess it, obliges us
to realize a process of confrontation, discovering the best personages to accompany us along each fiction and to
circumscribe our space of intimacy. Not everyone appreciates jazz or even music in general, and that is why it is
understandable that they should strive to individually refine the processes of familiarity and understanding that
are both distinct and singular. However, at the beginning of this relationship, the musical phenomenon seems to
us as always being a generalist and common whole, one which allows us, should we not wish to deepen the levels
of understanding, to reach a tolerable degree of consensus for all our views and consequent attempts at sharing.
Apparently, language helps us in the explanatory action of the unintelligible although we know that there exist
various types of listening-ears and necessarily many ways to listen to something. From the most classical style to
the least linear, the failings tend to propagate themselves on the surface of jazz as the willingness to liberate.
Curiously, in the well-known cases of accidental deafness where the part of the brain which receives auditory
input is cut off, this lack of ability causes spontaneous musical hallucinations which reproduce complete music
works once heard in the past and unconsciously stored in the memory.

Sound meanderings and solutions of continuity (11)

A good ear does not guarantee that a person has an exceptional ability to distinguish between good and bad
music. In contrast, many people have a wonderful ear for music, that is to say that they have the correct
perception of tones and rhythm, but it is impossible to know if this talent will help them at all to be good
musicians or to perform or create music. To have musical sensitivity and taste does not necessarily imply the
desire to become a musician or to dominate the fields of musical criticism and taste; in this way, you can inherit
any of these qualities without this indicating that you will be drawn to master techniques for playing an
instrument or composing music, signifying more contentment with enjoying an abstract context for your innate
gifts. There are musicians who possess an enormous capacity to produce melodies without their having any in-
depth knowledge of how musical structures work while other people make a formidable repertoire for themselves
from their sheer stubborn devotion to their art. In the musician’s world, hard work and discipline are features as
important as talent, and both are liable to influence performances. There is an enormous set of variables and
specific situations able to determine the structure, montage and content of our histories. The musician must
bring together all the pieces found while on his/her sound meanderings, and in approximate fashion, should
try to establish solutions of continuity among them. The final image of this experience emerges through a
coherent sound construction found and developed from this vantage-point. What is discovered will be expressed
in the grandiosity of creative acts. The initial narrative, and in this case the projection of the work as a successful
achievement, reflects an image of the all the underlying parts, such as anomalies, the poor fit among the
fragments, their in-focus or out-of-focus parts, the inability to go beyond the limitations or the avoidable
overlapping - in other words, all the actions that have been taken at the moment of succeeding or failing in the
face of the challenge of creation. In a closer analysis, we can see the creases in these bonds (the images pulled up
and yet to be finished, the parts which got wrinkled after being refit, and how all the sounds were before they
were put back up), and the listening to the musical piece requires the perception of the special complexities
involving and related to the whole of the sound being heard, which in jazz emerges as always being incomplete
because it is ready to be played again with a totally different interpretive style. This totality is transformed into a
musical object with meaning through the processes of perception, synthesis and de-codification of the elements
which comprise the totality. The piece of work appears under various forms of dysfunction: the complexity,
syncopation and poly-rhythms of jazz require rigorous readings as well as the ability to establish relationships
among the rhythms. The indispensible elements of music are the clearly distinct tones and their rhythmic
organization. When the melodies lose their tonal qualities, they acquire a non-musical aspect and become
unpleasant to the ear although assimilable as art and holding on to its qualities; however, they require a strong
sense of comprehension which presupposes an extremely complex process of conciliation of many levels of
perception within the auditory part of the brain.

Image-oriented music (12)

The previously-referred to contingencies place difficulties of accessibility onto jazz, but at the same time they
function as a condition allowing for the potential for broadening its musical characteristics, expanding its
creative energy. This music can be considered a sound block which comes undone yet remakes itself in a
succession of scenes and planes of collision. These factors bestow on it a dynamic all its own and inject degrees of
freedom and very unusual overtaking into their movements, allowing for multiple points of view on the same
object. In this way, the music emerges as a filming of the same scenario, cut into various frames which reproduce
the captured image through several cameras. In its execution, different techniques of portrayal are adopted
through rapid movements and accelerations, contrasting with projections and composing broad planes and
closed planes which are given to chance instability. The use of these techniques turns jazz into an image-
oriented musicand thus the partnership relationship which has been established between the cinema and jazz
can be understood. This process is able to stir up new ideas of harmony in these depictions without concern for
order or organization. The harmonizations achieved are the result of the long task of synthesis and search for
meaning. In jazz, a degree of discrepancy which places us as its preferential victims seems to be implicit,
subjecting us to feel that the music and its contexts are out of kilter, with this un-adjustment caused by the desire
to undertake and perform our own image construction. In all these processes, there persists the problem of
bonding with reality from which creative movements are organized, ending up being a representation of the
current time - a time plane not subject to any time sequence and chronology which establishes a mental process
subordinate to a cause-effect logic, which is today in crisis. This fact leaves behind it the traces of the effort to
integrate and the awkward stitches of the failed attempt to completely sew together the parts. Jazz is subject to
many modifications and changes in circumstances which first lead it to destruction and then to reconstruction.
This mechanism emerges as an anomaly and a strange invasion of other musical references. The degree of release
from compromise achieved by jazz confirms the existence of a de-phasing, of a clumsy action of someone who is
not wrong and who does not understand that he is right, as if all answers were to come out too early and not go
well with the questions asked afterwards. This phenomenon returns jazz to a state of nature, an approximation
of the primordial element of music, a certainty near the rare and increasingly singular artistic truth. We are
somewhat surprised by this great lack of synchronization which reaches the sonority and yet takes away nothing
of its identity, as if it were a question of irregular writing about each improvisation, impossible for the intrinsic
qualities shown to overcome. We know about the existence of many insufficiencies sustained in fragile consensus
which serves to relativize the assessment of hearing and the assignment of meaning to the music being heard. In
the confrontation with jazz, our limitations are many and of various types - of both an internal and external
order, and even in the most extreme cases, of a biological and genetic one. For example, amusia is the inability to
hear music, a type of deafness that removes all musical qualities from melodies, yet there are other known forms
of deafness, rarely total deafness, which deal with rhythm, tone and timber. We can speak of the existence of
amusical individuals, but it cannot be debated that musicality is inscribed in the human genome, with remote
evolutionary roots situated beyond those of spoken language. Despite all these limitations and the dependency on
innumerable factors, the act of listening to music still corresponds to an individual ability and possibility which
can later be integrated into broader contexts of the collective experience via processes of consensualization. This
implies an effort with respect to overcoming the obstacles and difficulties which, in a space unique and free of
narrative and creative, allows for the construction and affirmation of identity.

A lesser art able to achieve a totality (13)

It is rather impressive the fact that we are dependent on the functioning of a natural apparatus for hearing (the
ear), one that is extremely complex and able to differentiate among 1,400 distinguishable sounds. When we hear
music, we perceive its multiple features among which are tone, register, timber, volume, pace, rhythm and
Perception is never totally situated in the present because it is also fed from past experiences. We all possess
detailed memories of how things in the past seem and sound, and these memories blend in with each new
perception. Each act of perception is an act of creation, and each act of memory is, to a certain extent, an act of
imagination. Thus, with each act of hearing, we call forth an experience and knowledge, and we establish
processes of the adaptability of our intellectual potentialities. There is, in this context, a manifestation of the
physical and tactile nature of the sounds being heard, something which makes a type of third dimension of music
possible, suggesting to us the aspects of volume, surface, depth of field and texture. This is why so often
situations emerge that link sound with vision, and why the image of a blind artist has a near-mythic resonance in
the history of music, as if the gods had offered to an incapacitated person the alternative gifts of musicality in
compensation for what had been taken away. Blind musicians have a very special role to play in many cultures.
In the world of jazz, blues and gospel, there are important blind musicians who add the word “blind” to their
names, making this nickname an honorific title.
Another interesting situation can be found in the association of music with color. Man has always sought to
establish a relationship between these two elements.  There are countless reports about musicians for whom
music operates as the suggestion of the effects of color. One must admit then that for some musicians a type of
colored music located beyond sonority seems to exist. Color is an essential for musical sensibility and thought
because not only do tonalities have distinct colors but musical themes, patterns, ideas and environments also
acquire chromatic qualities. As was mentioned previously with respect to the cinema, jazz can be considered a
type of language which is disseminated and allows itself to be contaminated, one which surpasses and overflows
its limits, constantly invading other musical types and closely-associated art forms whether it be on the visual or
verbal plane - it is a lesser art able to reach a totality. Through a generalist view it is possible to understand
how all these processes to permanently overcome frontiers are transformed into events which have occurred
under the sign of some benign collision. From here, no type of conflict or violence is born, but rather the fruitful
transformation of music into a machine of chances for creation from any stimulus launched forth by the
conscience - the pyrotechnics of creative possibilities. Jazz builds bridges between the shorelines, establishes
different speeds for the same composition, and introduces a degree of flexibility which easily changes course and
direction whereas the titles and names in the closing credits pass by quite slowly. The multi-speeds found and
associated with this process are based upon the shock and crash of opposites, becoming stabilized in a method of
prolific creation of the developed solutions. In jazz, smooth or aggressive transitions of style, genre and type are
detected. Curiously, these transitions make moments more necessary for the individualization and identification
of its forms. This stylistic disintegration is set upon the fact that jazz is essentially an urban music form, a sound
that is multiple and pluralistic, adapted to the people living in large cities as a totally unfinished and dynamic
form. Inside its wider context, the musical references and adjacent sounds are not totally innocent; they relate
with and to each other as if there were a parallel world oscillating between the real and the imaginary. At times,
it appears to us as a fictional place, at other times, as a creative parkland, and at still others, as the internal world
of each musician in the description of his/her way of thinking, contaminated by a set of life situations, sometimes
key in bringing about the results achieved. The translation of all these questions in music which synthesizes and
stylizes all the sensory and perceptive experiences, without there being an exaggerated distance many of their
genuinely-felt experiences, attracts the public. The public believes that the musician, through his/her
instrument, is expressing successive dimensions as a human being, and they are aware of the fact that the artist
has achieved something: the artist has overcome his/her limitations.

Kinetic music (14)

Music can promote a social bond between the various players in the process of writing, the performance of an
instrument and the hearing of a piece. What starts off as a grouping of individuals without any relationship to
each other can turn into a cohesive group following the same objectives. A concert is a moment shared between
the audience and the performer in a profound relationship of construction and communication of the various
experiences of life, and through this concert a syntony among all the participants is established, integrated into a
discovered unity - a group formed randomly. In the creative expression of all the energy directed at
conglutination, the music acquires conditions of visibility for its physical exuberance, and its games and
inventiveness, assuming a new artistic dimension. In a concert, the music emerges as the essential element for
melding the individuals together in a common wholeness brought together again in ritualistic communion,
playing the role traditionally give to the spoken word. Both are part of the same moment, and music and
language share the same common origins; for this reason recitation often depends on musical rhythm, at which
time it becomes difficult to decide which of the two is more predominant. In this way, the bond between word
and music are configured as a natural process - traditionally (in oral cultures) music plays an important role in
poetry, narrative, liturgy and prayer. In that there is always a minimum expectation about what will be heard in
a concert, we naturally relate with the music played for us, whether it is purely instrumental or accompanied by
spoken word. In both cases we verify a feeling of spontaneity and of the absence of rupture or conflict in the
syntony created between the audience and the performer. This happens because there exists a symbiosis between
the music and the spoken word that remains unharmed if one or the other is absent. Thus, the concert is
considered to be a ritual of sublimation of the idea according to which the music is a means of communication as
powerful as the word.

In all cultures, there are musical forms which explore a regular rhythm or periodic pulsating, allowing for the
temporal coordination between the performers and the listeners such that a synchronized response from the
listener is evoked. This bond seems to be so universal among human beings that it manifests itself in a
spontaneous way, as a rather forward moment in our existence. In this way, the imagination of music or of
rhythm can be a perception as powerful as the hearing of it. The automatic and unconscious marking of mental
time and its expression in the body are such that we feel a deep bond in different areas of the brain which cause
sensory and motor responses. As a musical form, jazz makes a clear apology of rhythm’s potentialities, seen as a
special way of combing movement and sound. The primordial function of music is to establish a bond between
all the individuals and bring them back together. This linking-union takes place through the internalization of
rhythm (a process which turns the listeners into participants and makes their listening an active and
synchronized moment), the reason it becomes very difficult for each person to be indifferent and resist the impact
of being pulled away. The almost irresistible power of rhythm can be felt in many other contexts. While
marching, it serves to perform and coordinate movements as well as to stir up a collection emotional state of the
martial type. Rhythm has a fantastic capacity for moving people, bestowing them with a certain cultural, social
and economic function and able to bring together groups and produce a feeling of collectivity, community and
social interaction. This power represent emotions, external events of histories through gesture and posture,
movement and sound, make rhythm a cornerstone upon which human culture is founded when a signifying
language is absent. It appears in circumstances like a mystery or a skillful apprehension of time, and in this way
it stimulates the attempt to try and dominate and understand it, causing reactions in the body to which we
voluntarily submit ourselves and over which we have no control whatsoever. These relationships define and
unveil our enigmatic and excited silhouettes. Rhythm penetrates us by entering the most intimate door of
sensibility, revealing sensations between anguish and fear, introducing us to, on a broad plane, the main
character of our own intimacy, preparing people for new ways to organize, perhaps more subject to the calls of
our physical body and the movements of sounds. It also sends us the transmission of the enfolding internal
tempest, allowing us to free ourselves from our demons and most obsessive dependencies. It frees us with
immediate effect, irrational and inopportune, creating a movement for the body, an impulse able to instill some
calm and serenity. In jazz there clearly exists an immense exploration of rhythm as a mechanism for freeing
oneself, yet not one serving as an instrument of a power relationship; it is one through which we reach a certain
degree of syntony and balance within kinetic music, which emerges as an image-based consequence of
successive confrontations and collisions.

A moment which becomes a subjective phenomenon (15)

Let us magnify the field of our perception toward the space which symbols provide. Whereas animals react
according to the stimuli limited by their base instincts, we human beings have other and broader possibilities for
action as when we use and intensify our symbolic and metaphorical processes.

Natural, primary stimuli no longer have much of a privileged status, and they end up fading away in a prolific
network of derived stimuli invented by a second, third or nth generation human intelligence. Jazz is a
comprehensive element of amplification, able to provide for this type of transforming endeavor, and yet one
which obliges us to undertake a type of immaterial production of what is acquired. It forms a set of complex
actions where innumerable factors blend together, which go from intelligence, information and communication
to relationships and affection. Constantly sending us signals, it causes a creative potential to emerge in each
individual making him/her a receptor able to try out new sensations in the attempt to interpret and put all the
received structures into a structure. We are reliving the remembrances of things deeply felt along our lives and
the imagination which has accompanied us since birth. Feelings are intellectual experiences, encoded zones of
knowledge-acquisition which, because they have a cryptic nature, make us feel that we are lords of unexplainably
delightful and exciting things, impeding us at times from identifying the music we are listening to. A situation of
musical understanding is always an experience lived out in some contact with a creation and situation generated
by the perception of the clarity of its meaning, configuring itself as something completely distinct. Confusion, as
well as the ability to perceive of the artistic product, comes from the rupture in which our intelligence, for as
lucid as it may be, is not aware of all the elements impressed upon a work of art. Reaching the awareness of this
impossibility takes us to a state of great volatility - a moment which becomes a subjective
phenomenon, a state unable to isolate or identify each one of its parts, printing an always artificial feeling of
solidification upon the process of enjoying music, in the fragmented understanding of the real structure. Jazz
may cause some uneasiness, an unpleasant situation of confrontation with the desire to understand; it is always
difficult to explain the reasons why we enjoy jazz because we do not know its origins or which type of sensitizing
elements of the imagination are involved. This makes jazz a type of music which calls out for meaning to the
emergent generalized emptiness -- a hole caused by the lack of object of sufficiently clear analysis of where many
sound and artistic elaborations come from. Understanding is always a phenomenon that is transversal,
applicable and necessary to all forms of art perceived through a difficult to understand circular causality because
we are accustomed to using a linear or rectilinear type of thought. This type of thinking, through which the
tendency is to accept that behind each cause there exists a certain effect, leads us to the reciprocity of influences
and in this context, the effect becomes the cause or its opposite. As the reality of a sound world, it appears to us in
an intense way and presents itself in a hybrid event in which the beginning becomes the end and vice-versa. Jazz
allows us to live out this reality according to a capacity of its own. Each person lives out his/her life in accordance
with his/her experience, knowing how to invent and then survive inside the world he/she has thus imagined. The
difficulty of feeling the different tendencies in jazz is comprised of the desire and the will which is duly
experienced, which obliges us to understand this phenomenon in an open and plural way, one increasingly
similar to an artistic whole in movement in the context of other human creations through which we gradually
understand what is necessary to acquire in relation to the successive elements of reference and comprehension.

Training which exercises the desire for freedom (16)

In jazz, as in all forms of learning, situations of confrontation are created between already acquired knowledge
and the data or information passed along via the experience of our first contact with the new. We are obliged to
prepare an implied narrative structure in the organization of the totality of these moments - a unique process of
individualization which cannot be disassociated from the relationship with the music being heard. Supports
which exist in various technologies available today have brought about a change in the paradigm in the act of
listening: if on the one hand they are an indispensible element of study and of understanding the various forms of
symbolic structuring of music, then on the other hand a banalization of the relationship established can be seen.
This relationship is prejudiced by the loss of solemnity of the moment in which we come into contact with it and
the reciprocity which exists in this movement of associating histories and personal memories to the music. This
individual process does not take place just for the listener; for the musician as well, subjectivity is born of their
need to defend themselves against their own intimate fears - they play to be heard, but they also play to curse
their fears. The music contains autobiographical accounts from their creators and performers, permanently
inscribed upon the history of the people who hear the music. Some of these accounts are the absolute overlapping
of individual discernment and talent in a context where the threat and danger trigger an unpleasant and
generalized feeling of withdrawal and where the music emerges as a process to sublimate the organization of
strategies for escape and freedom with regard to the innumerable situations of tension and unease. To a certain
extent, these tensions will have contributed to their origin. The search for a narrative allows us to face the fear
which corrupts relationships and feelings like a disease lacking an immediate explanation or the anguish coming
from the untamed darkness which can turn into a mortal trap for the artist, submitting and enslaving him/her.
Jazz has encountered a powerfully contagious emotion able to act socially and liberate new imbalances in the old
relationship between tradition and the avant-garde via the ruptures which it causes itself. One of the advantages
of group life is the fact that collective responses are constantly up for discussion and thus they undergo
permanent evolution, transforming art into social alarm signals for other members of the group, thus causing
them to react. According to the psychology which studies crowds, the masses are, in essence, quite susceptible to
influence. The same vein of psychology describes the absolute character of judges and the highly destructive
processes of relativization and consensualization as well as the speed with which an emotional contagion can
spread, leading to the weakening or loss of one’s critical or analytical sense. The disappearance of the feeling of
individual responsibility, the underestimation or exaggeration of figuring out the strength of power in one’s
adversary, the sudden passage from horror to enthusiasm, and the shouts in favor of death threats are moments
of loss of control whose power is increasingly manifest and made more fragile, creating a new type of sovereignty.
Unable to eliminate passions, we should try to understand them better, delve into them and get them to turn into
affections. If we are able to find their causes and consequences, we could then correct any maladjustments in
their evaluation, thus reducing the tyranny of the affections without cancelling them out altogether. Jazz
transforms all the pleasure of experimenting with it into natural energy. This disposition enables us to instruct
and control all the moments of artistic achievement symbolically expressed as a constructive activity which has
emerged as a type of training which exercises the desire for freedom.

An idea of being without limits (17)

We can establish two ways of relating with music - an essentially emotional one and an essentially intellectual
one. It is possible to bear one or the other of the two dimensions in mind, according to the quality of what we are
listening to and according to our state of mind and the circumstances. All music requires that each one of us have
different forms of paying attention. If some situations subject us to an intense emotional state, others impose an
extreme intellectual focus on us, making us understand its beauty as the harshest and most impersonal of
qualities. We thus need to establish a balance between these two ways of approaching it: if we accord excessive
relevance to the intellectual side, we run the risk of becoming too cold or cerebral; if on the other hand we
become overly sentimentalized, we become hostages of our own emotions and we loss the ability to comprehend. 
This equilibrium presupposes a juncture of various factors: technical correction and all the details of
performance, the influence of emotion and the fact that we are dependent upon the arid virtuosity of the

Some individuals, however, do not possess the bounty of perceptive or cognitive capacity to enable them to
appreciate music in a totally effective way; nevertheless, this fact does not preclude any feeling of pleasure in
hearing the melodies, however out of tune they may be. In other people, the opposite is seen: they may have a
good ear and are sensitive to the various subtleties of each musical structure without having to be worried about
these aspects or to consider them an important part of their lives. In this sense, musicality may be innate, but the
emotional sensitivity can be learned and influenced by personal and biological factors. Music is unique among all
the forms of art in its being abstract and profoundly emotional. It does not have the power to represent anything
concrete, nor can it project any outside reality. However, it is uniquely able to communicate our many and varied
internal emotional states. All of this makes music an enormous paradox, a strangely mysterious activity since it
can spark inside us the contradictory feeling of satisfaction and melancholy, pain and mourning, while at the
same consoling us or comforting us.

Jazz is a type of music of knowledge, a wisdom of amazement able to affect us and transport us to a universal
and perfected dimension of feeling. It is a music of imagination, however orthodox its practitioners may be. The
mediation between two worlds made up of the intelligibility of sound and the physical expression of listening to
this music is effectively realized by this music which is free of prejudices in its culminating state, one that is able
to communicate an idea of being without limits.