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The Blue Man Group has been an entertainment phenomenon since the 80s, first in the United States, and now through troupes in London, Amsterdam, Oberhausen and Berlin.
This isn’t about them.
I wanted to bring your attention to a BBC World Service program on their Close Up series. The theme of a recent set of programs on Close-up was "Every Shade of Blue."
I can only imagine where this theme took them. Where their analysis ended was with a program about a Czech composer and performer, kind of their Jelly Roll Morton or Scott Joplin plus Kurt Weill all in one—one of three acknowledged pioneers in jazz and blues composition, and among the most famous in their modern history—Jaroslav Jezek.
To quote the BBC World Service Web page devoted to the program,
To round off our Close Up exploration of Blue, the programme travels to the Czech capital Prague and a composer’s study decorated entirely in blue. American pianist Patricia Goodson tries to unravel the obsession of Jaroslav Jezek, the composer in question, with all shades of blue.
Jezek’s world was literally dark blue: because of his very poor eye-sight he saw the world shrouded in a blue haze. He wrote the most popular Czech jazz and theatre songs of all time in his blue room claimming [sic] that the blue light in there helped him to see. Is there a medical explanation for this? Jezek’s song Dark Blue World has been seen as a loose metaphor for his ‘life-blues’ but perhaps it has a more literal meaning too? And how do Bugatti racing cars fit in all this? Find out in Close Up: the Dark Blue Room.
Why am I bothering to tell you this? Well, for one thing, the guy was a great blues musician. The more personal reason for me is that my good friend Patricia Goodson, a great musician herself—pianist, composer, and musicologist—and living in Prague since 1991, is the host and narrator for this particular segment.
It was broadcast last Friday, June 29, but it’s available for direct streaming from the BBC for a week, that is, until this coming Friday, July 6.
I’m prejudiced, but I think it’s a great program. Catch it.
You’ll need the Real Player plug-in for your browser, but you should have that as part of your basic kit of Internet tools anyway. You can get the plug-in from the BBC (and other places) at this URL: