Free Jazz

The temperature is rising like three saxophone players, clenched over in the corner of the basement, blowing air through reed, cheeks hot scarlet full of warm blood. They play atonal, dissonant, loud; they wail. They are wailing together, they are screaming at the air.

     How can you rise?

They rise together. With the air, they let themselves rise. There is no way to cool, we are together, there is nothing outside of this box. The electricity – feeding the vintage amplifiers, feeding the yellow fluorescent bars of light, feeding the cash registers at the bar – turns into heat. The cells of our muscles emit heat.

The horns improvise collectively, they are free, free jazz. Hot jazz, like dusted roots, Dixieland. At the breaking climax of the wave they shatter the air with a screech.

     There’s nowhere left to go!

The audience members crane their necks. Evaporated time signatures and chromatic exercises have steamed upwards and left sediments on the ceiling. A lull descends on the band, and the saxophonists stumble backwards. Their brains and bodies pulse with exhaustion.

The crowd claps with soaked hands and eyes droop. After a moment’s rest another song softly begins with piano and drums. In the back a young boy faintly dozes off to the sound of the rhythm section rushing the tempo.

Image: Wassily Kandinsky, Composition VII. 1913, Oil on canvas. Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia