Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Jazz Age

No other period approaches both the greatness and the impermanence of the Jazz Age as today, when technology has reached another peak, creativity flows freely from unhampered individualism, and society thrives on technological developments. When all these seem other than impermanent and unstable.

The Jazz Age
By Miguel Paolo Celestial
Published in WestEast Magazine #19: Entertain Us, 2006

New York—the Art Deco city of skyscrapers and dazzling lobbies, theaters, jazz bars, restaurants, and stylish gates and towers—awakens slowly, deeply, from industrial and mechanical dreams, or perhaps from vivid fantasies of its dark and eclectic past.

It awakens, and the Empire State Building tantalizes at dawn: a rousing giant, a beacon, which only a few hours before was moored like a ship to the dark.

Perhaps New York, under its melting blanket of haze, was dreaming of a great American ferment, way back between the end of the first world war and the onset of the depression, when the stock market soared, modernism captured every remaining territory, and technology climbed like fresh sap through industry.

Perhaps New York was remembering the beginning of one of the great ages of its progress, when mornings like this emerged like Miles Davis’ “In a Silent Way”—against electric guitar and piano, bass, and floating dreams: the sun of a smokeless skyline like the face of a loved one gazing, singing softly with a voice still as the ray of a single soprano sax...

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Erratum: "Madeleine Viviene" should have read "Madeleine Vionnet"

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