Free Jazz verses Far Right Extremism

Those who condemn Free Jazz or Energy Music as mere noise might be surprised to hear that this “noise” can serve a useful purpose – played very loudly it can drown out offensive right-wing speeches. That’s what Vice’s Sebastian Skov Andersen found out recently. For the past few months a collective of Danish Jazz musicians have followed far-right politician Rasmus Paludan around the country playing very loudly and badly at his events. Called Free Jazz against Paludan (FJAP), the group targets the founder of a political party that holds rallies in neighborhoods with large immigrant population, burning and stomping on Qurans, as well as suggesting that Muslim immigrants and other minorities should be deported or imprisoned in special camps. “You have to protest in a way that is not destructive and violent” says saxophonist John Rasmussen, a FJAP member. “We just provoke Paludan as much as he provokes others, to make it very visible how destructive he is. The louder we play the more attention we can draw.” So far Denmark’s “potentially biggest band” has attracted many improvisers to its counter demonstrations, playing everything from double basses to egg shakers and pots and pans.