Improvisations

Jazz, Literature, Musical exploration
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Entries for a dictionary of jazz and literature.
Author Philip La Porta
(Saint Louis Doc series – Stefano Mastruzzi publisher, 2023)

A very personal dictionary, punctuated by some of the fundamental lemmas of modernity – Ambiguity, Failure, Invisibility, Lightness, Melancholy, Universality, etc. – which suggests possible analogies between jazz and 20th century literature.
Jazz, in addition to being a musical genre, coincides with a disposition of mind and a “morality”: it reminds us that anything that resembles real life cannot be stable, does not allow any possession (just like poetry).

In some twentieth-century writers, the restless and playful spirit of jazz emerges in their writing and poetics. Through dictionary entries–with no claim to completeness–Céline, Kerouac, Ellison, Savinio, Cortazar, Gadda, Pasolini find themselves in dialogue with Jelly Roll Morton, Armstrong, Ellington, Monk, Davis, Melba Liston, Coltrane.
Three interviews with Marcello Rosa, Federica Michisanti, and Stefano Di Battista close the book.
Improvisations for Bontempelli jazz is based on a sense of “imminent danger.” If you do not sense-in what you are listening to or reading-a little of this “danger,” be assured: it is not authentic literature, nor is it true jazz.

AUTHOR

  • Filippo La Porta, critic and essayist.
  • He writes regularly in “Repubblica,” “Il Riformista” and the periodical “Left.”
  • He teaches at the Holden School and other writing schools.
  • Of his countless publications we mention only: The Impossible Care of Life. Three Doctor-Writers: Chekhov, Céline, Carlo Levi (Castelvecchi, 2021); The Good and the Others. Dante an Ethics for the New Millennium (Bompiani 2018); Poetry as Experience. A formation in verse (Fazi 2013), Rome is a lie (Laterza 2012); Pasolini (Il Mulino 2012), The new Italian fiction (Bollati Boringhieri 1995).

PUBLISHER

Saint Louis Doc is the publishing series, created within the Saint Louis College of Music in Rome and directed by Stefano Mastruzzi publisher, which includes both specific teaching manuals for musicians and a series, edited by Vincenzo Martorella, popular texts edited by leading journalists and literary critics, dedicated to all music and literature lovers.

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