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To Breathe into Another Voice: A South African Anthology of Jazz Poetry

144 pages48 minutes


Writing about jazz is like dancing about architecture,' observed TheloniousMonk. It's possibly one of the few times he was wrong. Jazz poetry is almostas old as jazz itself. Poets such as Thulani Davis, Langston Hughes and ourown Keorapetse Kgositsile and Mongane Wally Serote have long heard thepatterns of the music and its makers and transformed and re-enacted thosepatterns in compelling words. Given South Africa's venerable jazz tradition,it's perhaps surprising it's taken so long for more fundis to be tapped fortheir responses to our kind of jazz. But it takes a special brew of ingredientsfor this kind of book to come together. You need an inspired guiding spirit,such as editor and jazzwoman-in-words Myesha Jenkins, and you need avat in which the ingredients can mix and bubble. That's been provided byall those who've opened stages for the music to happen, and most recentlyby the Orbit under the direction of Aymeric Peguillan where Jazz & PoetryNights brought words and music together, each a kind of yeast that helpedthe other to ferment and rise. You'll find everything here in To breatheinto another voice: faithful and fantastical accounts of the jazz life and jazzpeople as well as reflections on the music as a metaphor for how we live or, maybe more importantly, how we'd like to live. All you need to do nowis open the covers, start reading, and dance joyously about the architecture.— GWEN ANSEL

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