Gilad Atzmon: Songs of the metropolis

I do believe that compassion and empathy are universal humanist qualities

atzmon5Gilad Atzmon (born 9-6-1963) is an Israeli-born musician and writer.
Atzmon’s work can’t be understood in general terms because it’s a polyhedron: musician, composer, producer and writer. He’s in a constant searching of his human roots through his music and his writings, and both of them took him to a quick tour in Spain.
Gilad Atzmon visited Valencia to present his new book, The Wandering Who? A study of Jewish Identity Politics (Zero, 2011), and to take part in the Jimmy Glass International Jazz Festival.
Atzmon has just recorded his next album, Songs of the Metropolis which will be launched in January, 2013.  (Marta Ramon, All About Jazz 29-11-2012)

“The song is there to counter detachment and alienation”

Once upon a time and actually not that long ago, our cities conveyed some meanings, they were a unique reflection of ourselves: they were home to our thoughts, ideas and yearnings.  When we were young, our cities belonged to us: their colours were our shades, their smells our scents; but more than anything else, their sounds were our songs. Each city had a melody, a resonance, a bell, an instrument, a voice.
This album is a pursuit of the sound of the city. It is an attempt to find that magic instant where melodic texture evokes familiar feelings, when a harmonic shift brings you home, when a crescendo conjures memories of a kiss, when a glissando flies the American to Paris.
Now, our planet weeps. Beauty is perhaps the last true form of spiritual resistance. The song is there to counter detachment and alienation. Let us start with the song of the metropolis, the songs of our cities.

Beauty as a Political Weapon

“It may sound funny, but I do realise now that it is my love for jazz that made me more and more critical of Jewish identity and Zionism. At the age of eighteen, when I was supposed to become a supremacist Judeo-soldier, I fell in love with Coltrane and Bird. It was then when I realised that the culture that inspires me (Afro-American) had nothing to do with the culture I was supposed to be fighting for.”
“I do not consider myself a Jew. That said, I am sympathetic towards religious Jews as much as I am sympathetic towards religious groups or religious belief in general, and yet, I am far less sympathetic towards the secular Jewish identity. I argue that once you strip Jewishness of its spiritual content you are left with mere racism. You see, I am neither a religious Jew nor a secular one. Thus, I cannot regard myself as a Jew. …  I do believe that compassion and empathy are universal humanist qualities. For me, to detach oneself from Jewishness is to become a being who feels empathy.”

“I am an ex-Jew. My actual kindness or evilness has nothing to do with any form of grouping but with myself (me, myself and I).”

“Jazz is freedom in its making. It is both a call for liberation as well as a challenge of one’s personal boundaries. Playing jazz is the aim to free oneself while knowing that this will never happen.”
“MusiK, contrary to musiC, is the search for beauty. While musiK refers to continental aesthetics, musiC refers to the Anglo-American commoditisation of beauty and the reduction of aesthetics into mere fashion.
“K” stands for beauty and “C” stands for capitalistic greed. This distinction is sharply manifested in the difference between Kultur and Culture.
If you don’t mind me being rude I would suggest that whereas “K” stands for Kant (Emmanuel), “C” stands for the “c**t” Milton Friedman.”
MusiK is all about man, man’s emotions, intimate desires, pain, hysteria, tranquillity, lust, love, frustration, liberation and indifference. MusiK is the search for oneself; musiK is the search in itself, musiK is mankind at his very best. …

It is time to move on, to rediscover why we all listened to music in the first place, why some of us decided to play music for a living. It is time to seek a glimpse of essentiality in our overwhelmingly noisy environment. (Gilad Atzmon: december 2005)

Gilad Atzmon: an “independent critical thinker”

“I am a jazz musician and author. I am not a politician, nor am I a member of any party. I do not present or support any political agenda. … I am what some may call an “independent critical thinker”. …
I express my very own reading into events and some speculations regarding the notion of identity. I write about things that I find while looking into myself. This is indeed very dangerous for people who try to promote some collective dogmatic and ethnic tribalism.
It is apparently the individual and critical thinker who endangers any form of ideological dogmatism (in general) and Jewish collectivism (in particular). …



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