Title: Jazz Book on Tape
Writer/Director/Producer: Jason Samilski
Genre: Social Satire
Rating: AD-PG13* (brief course language, possibly disturbing dystopian images)
Availability: Free to listen at http://www.prx.org/pieces/71219-jazz-book-on-tape#description
Jazz Book on Tape is a lucid, hyper-visual radio play featuring 10 voices, approaching dialogue and monologue scenes through a poetic tapestry–essentially creating jazz expressions within the framework of the spoken word. Worlds spin into worlds, which spin into worlds. Soundscapes, sound effects and music go to create an original air of non-conventional audio storytelling. Feelings of apocalyptic frenzy, contrasted with utopia. At once a bleak reality check, sparkling prose, and social commentary.
Greetings, Audionauts! Captain Radio™ here with a review of Jazz Book on Tape, an apocalyptic social vision from writer/producer/musician, Jason Samilski.
On our modern independent audio theater landscape, where writers and producers most often acknowledge creative bonds to the Golden Age of Radio, Jason Samilski comes off as a savvy feral child rebel.
A multi-faceted musician as well as a poet/composer, Samilski keenly comprehends the highly portable emerging iSound environment. Boredom, he notes, “with the measly eighteen thousand hours of music on citizen listeners’ hard drives and portable players”, creates sustained hunger for fresh material. Given audio theater’s uber-flexibility and potentially low- to no-cost independent production price tag, Samilski naturally adopted that path to “let the dog out” on his abundant creative talents and fill the unsatiated gap.
Truly evocative audio montages resulted, such as Jazz Book on Tape, a steamy, withering dark-humored dramatic essay on post-industrialism, that opens with a litany of symptoms which prophetically resemble the current Hurricane Sandy ongoing urban nightmare:
Jazz Book, a self-proclaimed poetic tapestry of jazz expressions played out through the spoken word, is loosely held together by observational sound bites from a young, claustrophobic societal dropout. However, the rapidly changing aural landscape relies on cross-generational voices that segue back and forth, rapidly and intensely interstitching foreground perspectives with the background musical mood oscillations of Samilski’s mostly original soundtrack. Some of these exchanges become painfully insightful as does this view of a “normal” newscast, delivered by shallow talking heads, and replayed later from memory etched in a child’s mind:
Then follows a decisively fatalistic young woman (perhaps one of the “newscasters” who reaches adolescence?), expressing these deeply-stamped impressions through tedious minimalistic pop rock:
While Jazz Book seldom backs off the pedal during this darkly dystopian tale, it does offer minute clues to what may have gone wrong, suggesting slight hope that our post-industrial apocalyptic juggernaut may yet be re-routed:
Jazz Book condenses its visceral psychological rollercoaster ride through society’s ills into a mere 20 minutes, probably requiring at least a focused second listening. Its artistic approach recalls to me a Norman Corwin audio spectrum tour de force, while it’s substance poetically enjoins George Orwell’s 1984 with T. S. Elliott’s masterpiece, The Hollow Men, rendering a fresh, if also as bleak, assessment of a modern dystopia, one that may expire, not with a bang, but a whimper.
Listen to Jazz Book on Tape, writer/producer Jason Samilski’s sobering and oft ironically humorous audio montage of a waning post-industrial society, by visiting PRX.org and Searching for the title. Rated PG-13 for brief course language.
CaptainRadio.Com Reviews originate on the Radio Drama Revival podcast. Subscribe to free weekly downloads of more top-notch, independently-produced modern audio drama from around the world at RadioDramaRevival.Com.
Until next time, Audionauts™, this is Captain Radio™, signing off!
Jazz Book on Tape – Credits:
Written and Produced by Jason Samilski.
Phillip B. Conron
Isaak and Phoebe North
and the Capitalism Choir at Sketch Working Arts
Musical Score – Jason Samilski
Special Music – The Chase, from The Triplets of Belleville –
Ben Charest – Higher Octave Soundtracks