Explanation of the Jester Project, Chapter 5 (final) – Meaning/Concept of ‘The Jester’

It’s like this. A jester is a figure of fun. Alone in the entire kingdom, our jester can speak his mind. Since his every quality, comment or thought is considered universally to be folly, and of no worth; since he is so thoroughly an embodiment of the unworthy, the butt of ridicule, he alone is afforded free reign with his voice. This is the role he plays, it is his privilege and his misfortune, both – It’s his position.

Above: Will Sommers, King Henry’s Jester. A quote from Wikipedia: ‘…The best example of this is in 1340, when the French fleet was destroyed at the Battle of Sluys by the English. Phillippe VI’s jester told him the English sailors “don’t even have the guts to jump into the water like our brave French”.[7]’

But at the same time it is not his person. Our jester, as we know him, is a caricature, a vivid creation that is bold and marvelous and at the same time so much less than a human. There is a person behind this thing, this character, that is our jester. A frightening, immeasurable tatter of marvel that is a life. But if somehow we could in fact see this entity for ourselves we would not accept it as our jester.

So what is the jester, in truth? That which is our own, of a person; that which we can know, or that which is beyond our knowing?
Those of us who performed on and created the piece are each of us, accompanists. An accompanist has a distinct role, on a stage. Your accompanist plays the material that the performer they’re accompanying requires, and your accompanist plays in a precise manner that supports, empowers and celebrates the performer’s delivery, mood and ability, conducive to a particular piece at a particular time on a particular night. This is the accompanist’s role. But again, it isn’t the accompanist, as a person.

In developing this project we have wanted to present where possible the accompanists’ own songs, own moods and own follies: we wanted our own human selves. Not only the musicians, in fact, but everyone involved. Every artist we could reach, everyone involved in promoting the shows, putting the stage/set together for the Bristol concert, the human arms reaching through the cardboard eyes of the LP sleeve artwork, we wanted everyone’s own selves at each point.


This was a quest to locate the hopelessness, if it is hopeless, of making every input, from every corner, whether apparently peripheral or central, a genuine and personal one. To champion the folly of this approach, and to see who it ends up being good for, if anyone.

I won’t tell you my own findings, in case you’re wondering. This here is only an explanation of intent. But I can say that it’s been my most labour-intensive project yet, and I’m glad we did it.

Track 5, by the way, ‘The Jester’, is named thus because it does not sound like a jester. It’s a composition of Daniel Inzani’s, and It’s beautiful.


The Jester streaming link
The Jester available here on CD, vinyl and digital
The Jester Project website, for new from all related artists and contributors