Montreux Jazz Festival's cosmic jam

Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland is pioneering a unique music experiment where jazz improvisation meets the cosmos, literally.

Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland is pioneering a unique music experiment where jazz improvisation meets the cosmos, literally.

For decades now great jazz musicians have aspired to make a connection to a higher creative power through cosmic vibrations. Band leader Sun Ra even claimed to have come from another celestial body, Saturn, and there have been cosmic references galore in many great recordings. In the sphere of science the search for the Higgs Bosun, so called God Particle, continues with a mammoth construction beneath Switzerland.

Now a team of scientists from several universities has been using a process known as ‘sonification’ to convert data from CERN's Large Hadron Collider into sound whilst jazz pianist Al Blatter improvised around it in concert. When a cosmic ray passes through one of four separate detector pads of the Cosmic Piano, it triggers a musical note and a colourful flash of light. Blatter listened and improvised on piano creating real live polyrhythmic jazz.

“It’s a bit like free jazz in a way, except that I’m playing with particles of the Universe rather than with other musicians”, said Blatter.

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