Jazzpaths: an American photomemento
Hyphen Press, 112pp, £20
David Wild interweaves episodes from his early architectural career and a life-long infatuation with jazz, aided by his craft with camera and collage, in this engaging and evocative memoire. As an infant Wild had formatively succumbed to the thrills of New York when his father’s wartime naval career led the family there. Some two decades later, having done the rounds of Lyons Israel & Ellis and Douglas Stephen & Partners in London, a plea from Myron Goldsmith of SOM in Chicago for an assistant architect precipitated Wild’s escape from Primrose Hill where he was living with his wife and young child, sharing DIY celebrity Barry Bucknell’s basement with a retired zoo-keeper. In Chicago Wild cultivated an ambiguous relationship with the United States, seduced by the sparky can-do enthusiasm for the modern age, and outraged at the all-too-apparent inequalities. When released from the draughting board Wild would seek out the poorer quarters where the ragged musicians played, frequently heading down to New York as well as taking in Detroit, St Louis and New Orleans, camera in tow.
Like Fragments of Utopia, Wild’s earlier book of collages, Jazzpaths has been beautifully produced by Robin Kinross at Hyphen Press and, like its predecessor, provides rich rewards on many levels. IL
First published in AT227, April 2012