There are a few truly American born art forms. This week two of them will cross paths with a collection of the celebrated French artist’s Blutch latest book, Total Jazz. Jazz, comic books, the musical comedy, and the banjo, them’s be America’s legacy to the culture of entertainment in the world. And here comes a collection of short stories, vignettes, and strips paying homage to one of the best art forms that is sadly one that’s least appreciated in modern culture.
Jazz has been usurped by rock, hip hop, and pop among many others. In 2014, Nielsen’s year-end recap of music habits reported that jazz was the least listened to genre in the country that it’s born of. An art of improvisation, jazz became a revolution that found ways to cross racial and class divides. While the art’s not dead by any means, it’s not at the start of many people’s playlists. Maybe, just maybe, by going through Blutch’s Total Jazz, a few more folks will open their ears. With tributes to many greats like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Chet Baker and some lesser-known icons, Blutch lovingly always displays a fervor for his fandom that everyone can relate to. My favorite being the Jazz Detective, which combines two of my personal loves in jazz and film noir.
Now, you might be wondering who in the heck Blutch is. Well, he’s got quite the pedigree. In your local comic shop you might be lucky enough to pick up a copy of Musnet: Mouse Of Monet. In 2009 he was awarded the Grand Prix de la ville d’Angoulême, which is one of the greatest prizes for art in his home country of France. The veteran cartoonist (dude’s been making it happen since the 1980’s) probably has enough drawings to fill over twenty books. And if you’re not familiar with his signature style and old-school sentiment then you will by the time you’ve turned the last page of Total Jazz.
So sit back, relax, let the worries of your day drift away. There’s noting that you need to say, just enjoy the devil’s music to keep the Devil at bay. This Wednesday, check out Total Jazz and see what you’ve been missing.