Jazz. A music of improvisation, of passion, of its very own kind of magic. Considered by many to be the only truly original American form of music, it has since its birth in a smoky room somewhere also been tied to the strange, wrapped up in the supernatural, associated with the occult, at least in hints and shadows.
Pro Se Productions now brings together several of the most innovative writers in genre fiction today in All That Weird Jazz, telling the tales of the unusual between the notes, the magic behind the music. From straight up pulp action to ghostly noir to a dragon who digs Jazz more than anyone else, All That Weird Jazz takes love for this unique musical styling to an all new level, complete with adventure, thrills, and even a chill or two.
Excerpt from All That Weird Jazz © Copyright 2022 Ernest Russell & Pro Se Productions
Ross and I joined smoothly as one sax, and the music began to flow in a way I hadn’t felt since the battle with the Grunch demon, streaming from paths Erich had opened in me, for the first time in weeks. The mood of the patrons shifted to one of peace as I relaxed and played with shifting harmonics from the minor to the major, until I felt a force. Someone or something in close proximity was countering me.
All around the club, I could see the threads of people’s lives weaving and re-weaving themselves, except one. In the shadows of the magic, the stranger wove his hands. He drew cool, black shadows, the kind which cling corporally … a black, tangible fabric of smoke, deceit, and murder.
With a deftness born of camaraderie and talent, I handed the solo off to Ross, using the music already filling the room to pierce the veil, only to find no one there. What kind of deceit had the stranger practiced to literally disappear under my eyes? Shaken to my core, I barely picked up his cue. For the remainder of the set, I was out of it and could not draw forth my magic again. Still, as Blake announced my departure, the crowd applauded loudly, for they had all been touched and uplifted, even briefly, by the power I wielded.
The night air was cool and moist. The light breeze carried the tang of the Mississippi, as I walked aimlessly, considering all that happened these past months. When I had found Erich and agreed to apprentice with him, I’d thought I was learning new saxophone techniques. The joke was on me. There was magic, and the sounds I produced were magical energies I could shape to my will. I had thought of it only as a way to please a crowd, perhaps inducing more tips. The things Erich taught me about magic, though, were things that he said very few could produce at will. The way Erich explained it, I was special. Erich and I had a hyperpineal gland which allowed us to sense and control magical energies. Others without a hyperpineal could practice magic but must use spells, gestures, and rituals. Erich had waited long for another to come along with the gland, for Erich had stood Guardian for over two centuries. He looked forward to being able to share, and eventually pass on, the Guardianship of New Orleans.