derision against it would certainly backfire.nLife of Brian, which artistically isnan assemblage of mostly dull, franticallynnoisy and underdeveloped skits, tries tonMusicnTruth Through the Art of RiffnJosef Skvorecky: The Bass Saxophone;nAlfred A. Knopf; New York.nby Douglas A. RamseynIt is possible, although I have seennno serious defense of the idea, that thenrecent defections to the United Statesnfrom among the ranks of the BolshoinBallet had their inspiration in politicalnideology. Even fellow members of thenBolshoi company, however much theynhave attempted to devalue the talentsnof the defectors, have rather wistfullynagreed that the Koslovs and AleksandrnGodunov wished for the opportunity tonexplore areas of dance forbidden by thenSoviet Union. There is little possibilitynof establishing an underground balletncompany to perform avant-garde worksnlate at night in the cellars of Moscownand Kiev, and no chance of sneakingnmodern dance movements into the traditionalnrepertoires of state-controllednSoviet ballet companies. The thought ofnsome daring performer slipping a fewnMartha Graham touches in among thenprettinesses of Stvan Lake is alluringnbut ludicrous. So the Nureyevs, Baryshnikovsnand Godunovs defect.nIn literature, painting and music, thenopportunities for defiance are broader.nThe samizdat is well known, as are thenpunishments of those who dare to writenfor it. Defection is once again the answernfor a few who are courageous andnlucky, or who have accumulated enoughninternational fame to provide a kind ofnimmunity.nThose within repressed societies whonDouglas Ramsey is a noted jazz musicologistnfrom New Orleans, Louisiana.nMnChronicles of Culturendo exactly what France knew to avoid: itnpresents religion as twaddle. The effectnis like discussing phenomenology onnSaturday Night Live —a. doleful flop. Dnwish to absorb the output of bannednartists find ways of doing it. Modernnpaintings hidden away and surreptitiouslynenjoyed, rumpled samizdat manuscriptsnpassed from hand to hand, phonographnrecords purchased on the blacknmarket, tape recordings endlessly dubbednand redubbed; all of this involves degreesnof heroism. Elsewhere* I havenwritten about the strange encounternduring World War II between the editornof this journal and a Nazi soldier. LeopoldnTyrmand, a Polish forced laborernin Germany, discovered by chance thatnthe soldier was a fellow jazz enthusiast.nAt considerable risk, they spent a Sundaynafternoon in a rowboat in the middlenof a river, alternately spelling one anothernat the oars and the crank of anwind-up phonograph, listening to thenrecordings of Benny Goodman.nThere are no doubt millions ofnstories about people putting themselvesnin peril to enjoy what they seek in art.nBut to create under circumstances ofnrepression and fear, knowing that detectionncould mean the end of everything,nseems even more daring. That,nin part, and on the surface, isnSkvorecky’s theme in the poignant titlenstory of The Bass Saxophone, and, morenexplicitly, in “Red Music,” the essaynthat begins the book. Skvorecky, growingnup in occupied Czechoslovakia, wasna semi-professional dance band tenornsaxophonist consumed by the “forcefulnvitality,” the “explosive creative energy”nof jazz. He and his fellow musicians didnnot think of their beloved jazz as protestn*Album notes tontige 24054.n’Dig,” Miles Davis, Pres-nnnmusic, “… but of course, when thenlives of individuals and communitiesnare controlled by powers that themselvesnremain uncontrolled—slavers, czars,nfuhrers, first secretaries, marshals, generalsnand generalissimos, ideologists ofndictatorships at either end of the spectrum—thenncreative energy becomes anprotest.” Jazz, he says, “was a sharpnthorn in the sides of the power-hungrynmen, from Hitler to Brezhnev, who successivelynruled in my native land.”nThe essay catalogues the ways innwhich jazz survived in Europe undernthe Nazis; secret jam sessions withnhidden lookouts, phony song titles (“ThenWild Bull” for “Tiger Rag,” “EveningnSong” for “Stardust”), forbidden receptionnof short wave broadcasts, band arrangementsnsmuggled in by Wehrmachtnofficers, swing bands in Buchenwald andnTerezin. European repressions of jazznwere far worse than American ignorancenand neglect of jazz. Merely shunned innthe United States, but pursued, bedeviled,nand outlawed by the fascist rulersnof Europe, jazz became a recognizedncultural force there decades ago, andnonly now may be achieving highncultural respectability here. It was notnthe repression that established jazz innEuropean culture, although, strangely,nit may have helped to ingrain it. Europeansnseem to have grasped the significancenof the music almost from the momentnof its recognizability as a distinctnidiom, as far back as 1919, when ErnestnAnsermet, the great Swiss conductor,nwrote of Sidney Bechet’s “rich inventiveness,”nand “bold, disconcertingnfreshness.” It is a commonplace of jazznhistory that the first sensitive criticsnof the music were Europeans. EarlynAmerican evaluations of jazz were conductednon the level of show businessnpublications specializing in weeklyngrosses and the doings of movie stars.nWhen the young Skvorecky was discoveringnDuke Ellington, JimmynLunceford, Chick Webb, Andy Kirk,nand the Casa Loma band (he and hisnfriends thought Casa Loma was thenband leader), appreciation of jazz wasn