The story of Jazz Fitzgerald and Azul Johnson is an interesting one but not one we are unfamiliar with within our own world. Having grown up in a world divided by two genres of music, jazz and blues, these two kids knew of nothing else but to devote their lives to their music and to always, always hate the other side. They were the two, deep-rooted rules of their existance. It has always been known that you do not even think about sympathising with the other side, let alone actually being friends with one of them! You can imagine how it took a while to adjust to their destined friendship, in the beginning, after they randomly encountered each other on an abandoned walkie-talkie frequency.
Anyway, more on that later.
Their story – the one they are telling you – takes place a few days after discovering that a part of the wall, on BOTH sides, has been naturally sabotaged – possibly due to years of weather damage. No matter the reason, Jazz and Azul make an incredible yet risky plan to try and break that weakened part of the wall down so they can finally meet each other after six long years of years of their divided, prohibited friendship.
However, in the midst of all this excitement and hushed planning, they forget to account for the one thing that has always stood in their way: the anniversary of The Great Divide. The day of their plan falls on the day of the celebrations but, with the wall scheduled to be repaired the following morning, they have no choice but to risk it all and try to break down that wall.
The Great Divide was the monumental event which happened sixty-five years before the story of Jazz and Azul. It was where the two opposing factions built a wall to ensure an ever-lasting segregation; one they take to rejoicing and celebrating each year.
Their world wasn’t designed that way though. Long-forgotten history books, ones that shouldn’t have survived the Great Divide but did, recount how Mother Nature made her musical world with love, acceptance and peace between the two sounds. She brought people into the mix as she was lonely and wanted someone to help her nourish the planet she worked so hard on. Once she left them to it, storing all her trust in them, they evolved to be something she didn’t quite account for…
There are two events which take place on the anniversary: one for children and one for grown-ups. The children’s one is a mild celebration where they play music, play games and the adults tell the children scary campfire stories of the horrors of the other side of the wall. The adult one… now that’s something completely different.
On Jazz’s side of the wall, you have to be thirteen years old in order to “graduate” to the adult event, something they like to call a “burn-coming”… yeesh. You still have to enter with your parents though! On that side, the younger they learn, the better!
On Azul’s side of the wall, you have to be fifteen years old to “graduate” to the adult event and you don’t need your parents with you. They believe, on that side, that fifteen is an age you become an adult and are emotionally-capable to handle learning about the injustice and evil found just on the other side of that ginormous wall.
‘Franklin’ is the toned-down, subdued, wholesome looking town where Azul lives. They prosper in the act of meditation, feeling and emotions. With all of those different emotions weighing heavily down on them, they all walk with a slight hunch in a very calculated, slow manner. They don’t believe in money or development; materialistic things don’t survive in a place like Franklin. They share and hand down only the things they need to survive and they live out their lives by playing the blues, writing poetry or even painting – their wide breadth of emotions lends to them being extremely creative but not very well educated as they don’t see a need for it.
Their houses are built up to accommodate for the many, blue souls that make up the town of Franklin. With not much of an economy, they only have one shop which provides them with everything they need. They enjoy nature and you can find many trees and tranquil rivers on their side of the wall. Their town’s national instrument is the harmonica – people either sing, play the harmonica or play the guitar. That sounds like barely anything at all, but trust me, they don’t need anything more to create the beautiful, compelling music they do. Everything there is true, peaceful and blue.
Jazz lives in a town called ‘Coltrane’. A bustling, sporadic and rich place, the townsfolk on that side of The Great Divide are ALL about the energy jazz music brings them. They have a great amount of wealth and invest that into fancy homes, state-of-the-art schooling and big musical get-togethers! There are many instruments in Coltrane, people play all sorts of things, but their national instrument is the saxophone. Skipping through their days to the beat of an improvised jazz score, the people there are always on the go. They don’t care much for quietness or time alone – their world is very loud and colourful – and you’ll often hear folk talking over each other as they burst in and out of life whenever they choose. That is how they get things done and, boy, if you saw where they lived, you would completely agree with their way of life! It just works!
Jazz and her people are incredibly intelligent and so place a huge emphasis on education – the more you learn about their version of the world and jazz music, the more important and successful you are. Usually on the streets and even during schooling hours, they will break out in song as the only thing they truly have time for is the power and beauty of jazz music.
It’s just such a shame that they can’t see how incredible it would be if they were to share all of that! Their world would be so advanced yet still have its roots set deeply in the ground if they combined their differences, even celebrated them! A living appreciation for both types of music could only create something much bigger, better and worthwhile… that’s what Jazz and Azul believe in anyway but they will tell you that themselves.