onsdag, december 05, 2007

On the upcoming V. Sjöberg New Jazz Ensemble long player

Here's a few words that I wrote the 11th of October this year, on a train somewhere between Stockholm and Gothenburg. The record still isn't out, but at least it's in Germany being manufactured. It'll be worth the wait.

(Photo by Kristin Lidell, taken in Portland, Oregon.)

Words are kind of tricky. This might actually be one of the instances where words are redundant, but I’m on a train right now and the activities available are somewhat limited.

So, here goes;

By letting people know that you are not part of a something, for instance a “musical movement”, you are automatically letting yourself be controlled by the thing that you claim to have no connection to. In other words, a negated reference is still very much a reference and one should be aware of the fact that by making a statement such as “this is not one of those tired testosterone-fuelled free jazz records” you are inviting the connection between your work and the very thing that you are trying to avoid. Perhaps even more importantly, you are letting yourself be defined by what you’re not.
This all sounds quite serious. I could follow this up by writing that “this is not a manifesto”, but by now we all know that saying that would kind of turn it into one. Yeah.

Digging myself deeper;
in a conversation that I once had with Douglas Holmquist, one of the members of the V. Sjöberg New Jazz Ensemble, he reflected on the fact that “free jazz” in the Ornette Coleman-sense was sort of followed by an implicit exclamation mark and that this exclamation mark seem to have evaporated as the phrase went from being a call to arms into being a description of something formulaic and institutionalized.
The reasons behind forming this group, the V. Sjöberg New Jazz Ensemble, and calling it a New Jazz Ensemble isn’t really about something as catchphrase-friendly as “bringing that exclamation mark back!” (oh, see…I did it again). It is just a humble comment on the sad fact that a lot of the time the word jazz is very limiting, both in the mind of the consumer and from the point of view of the musician/producer. That is not cool.

The album that we have recorded is called “Do nothing ‘til you hear from me” and it contains five variations on one musical theme. It is a jazz album and I hope that you will enjoy it.

Be cool.