David Wild’s ‘photomemento’ tells an Englishman’s story lived to a soundtrack of jazz. At its heart are photographs made during a two-year stay in America in the mid-1960s, on a passage through New York, Chicago, Detroit, St Louis, New Orleans. These pictures, in turn, formed the basis of photomontages. Jazzpaths is a partial document of the jazz scene of that time, mixing remarkable pictures of musicians with biting images of life on the streets.
|dimensions||240 × 170 mm|
|illustrations||131 b&w and colour pictures|
Wild drops in splashes of violent colour (gunshots in the night, a knife under a pillow) and documentary evidence (news cuttings, billboard graphics) but these are left unresolved, like the hallucinatory clues in Antonioni’s film Blow-Up. Sometimes the photos and collages interrupt in the same way: Wild isn’t trying to explain or proselytise, but he leaves some telling impressions in our path.
And in these aspects, Jazzpaths feels more like an artefact from the Modernist mid-1960s than a contemporary book, and it ends abruptly when Wild returns to a ‘dinky’ Britain intoxicated by Sgt Pepper’s, and his friend Peter Cook calls him to tell him that Coltrane has died. Jazzpaths’ awkward yet sustained poetic mood gives the work a special place in the history of jazz photography.
John L. Walters, Eye blog, 19 April 2012: here