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MILETTI, Vladimiro.

Aria di Jazz: parole in liberta

Trieste: [printed by Renato Fortuna for] Edizioni dell'Alabarda, 1934 Stock Code: 130031
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First edition, extremely uncommon, just three locations on WorldCat. Wonderful piece of Futurist parolibere, employing experimental typesetting to "produce the simultaneity of sound-impression sparked by jazz; synchronise the rhythms of words in freedom parole in liberta with those of jazz; and vivify and synthesise the characteristic environment of jazz"; and much enhanced by the superbly sympathetic cover design by Triestian artist Trisno which has become emblematic of Italian jazz of the period. This copy affectionately inscribed by the author on the half-title in translation; "To my dear friend Giuseppe Calagnoli with sincere affection V. Miletti", together with Calagnoli's ownership stamp.

The standing of jazz in Italy in the 30s was oddly ambiguous; "Whereas England, France and Germany had always looked to jazz as a "foreign" art form, "exotic" in nature, with indelible connections to African American culture, Italy embraced jazz, at least in part, as a "native" art form. This was partially because the first commercially-released jazz recording, "Dixie Jass Band One-Step" (1917), was composed and performed by an Italian American named Nick LaRocca and his Original Dixieland Jazz Band. In Italy, jazz was embraced as an art form inspired by "Italian innovation." The Futurists praised its "virile energy," Benito Mussolini described it as "the voice of Italian youth," and musicians, mesmerised by its "progressive" sounds, abandoned the conservatories for the numerous dance halls that began appearing in Italy's major cities in the 1920s" (Celenza, "The Birth of Jazz Diplomacy", fifteeneightyfour, retrieved 29/10/2018). However, following the invasion of Ethiopia in 1934 and the creation of the Rome-Berlin Axis in 1936, the official view hardened and jazz lovers became more circumspect "Programmers and disc jockeys filed the music as 'dance music' and changed or translated the names of the interpreters and lyrics and titles of songs. Louis Armstrong became Luigi Braccioforte, Benny Goodman was Baniamino Buonomo Duke Ellington became Del Duca 'St. Louis Blues' turned into 'La Tristezze di San Luigi' 'In the Mood' was 'Tristezze!' or 'Con Stile' " (Fehrenbach & Poiger, Transactions, Transgressions, Transformations: American Culture in Western Europe and Japan, p. 151)

Encapsulating this shifting status, on publication Miletti's poem was awarded first prize in the inaugural poetry competition organised by the Interprovincial Fascist Syndicate of Authors and Writers, an unlikely outcome just a few years later.

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Octavo. Original light card wrappers with yapp edges, three-colour lithographic design by "Trisno" (Tristano Pantaloni) to the front panel.


wrappers just a touch toned and mildly rubbed, else very good.


Cammarota, Futurismo, 326.2


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