I’m whistling a tune about
a woman’s broken heart,
down a long and empty
hallway, just to hear it
move itself along,
Search Results for: the sunday poem
I’m whistling a tune about
From a third floor window I imagine
I can almost see the cracked black
& white tile welcoming Penn Avenue
to the long-closed Kappel’s Jewelers.
Strains of Charlie Parker’s alto sax fill
the empty apartment song-after-song –
“Dancing in the Dark,” “Loverman,”
Between every note I wish.
Coltrane said a prayer to his musical God
Straight through the horn of his saxophone.
Not a metaphor; he spoke the words
Through the reed and the music into the air.
The shadow from the brick facade
of Central High School did not seem
to spread much shade on the streets
of our Little Rock neighborhood.
Shrouded in smoke and cigarette spheres
Jazzy speakeasy on a summer slog of a night
Where hips ramble in tandem,
Slide and slip in an out of rhythm
Juke Joint shifting with an uneven floor
Naked feet shuffling and colliding
Smooth. Jazz. Chill.
Write. Think. Build.
Listen. Vibe. Poetically
Spend time with jazzy
sounds elevating the
mind. Jazz is smooth.
Jazz is chill.
During that electric dawn
when I first heard
a bracelet of notes
which traced a subtle rhythm
within an hourglass of music
and sharpened the silence with sound,
Naturally, his lyrics are cued a cappella./“I’m home” slips from his lips,/sizzles like the taste of what I’m baking in the oven,/as he unwinds his day....
The Sunday Poem: “Duke Ellington’s Big-Band Orchestra: Live at Basin Street East, New York City. Summer 1964” – by Alan and Arlan Yount
The poet Alan Yount and son Arlan write about a live 1964 performance by Duke Ellington and His Orchestra...
The poet recalls a live performance he witnessed by the Timeless All Stars...
When the water and sand dance, whence (whence?)/their music? What is that music? What /jazz, what syncopation surfs itself in?...
That feeling when everything makes you sad/Nothing you can think of would make you glad/No matter how hard you try to remove yourself/From this blue funk...
. . The Sunday Poem is published weekly, and strives to include the poet reading their work. Ms. Baptiste reads her poem at its conclusion. . . ___ . . David Dellepiane, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons . . Jazz Within Me I like Jazz playing within me. ……………….Record that never skips. Since age sixteen, … Continue reading “The Sunday Poem: “Jazz Within Me” by Jerrice Baptiste”...
The poet describes the clear, crisp sound of listening to jazz music on vinyl...
The poet recalls an encounter with Carmen McRae at a Hollywood shoe store...
The poet writes about the depth of the trumpeter’s playing, and the connections to many of the great trumpeters before him...
This narrative poem is informed by quotes and stories in What Happened, Miss Simone? the 2015 Netflix biographical documentary about the singer/artist’s life and art...
The poet profiles the larger-than-life figure of the legendary jazz bassist Charles Mingus...
The poet writes of youthful memories conjured up from listening to Chick Corea and Return to Forever’s 1973 album, “Light as a Feather.”...
The poet writes about the origins of our personal blues, and how they can affect us…...
The poet honors his friend, the late jazz pianist Janice Scroggins, and reads his poem while Ms. Scroggins accompanies him...
The poet is inspired by John Coltrane’s 1961 recording, “Ole”...
The poet suggests better music could have accompanied the final scene in the film “Casablanca”...
fell to the
first light skims on green wing like sprouts strobing for ray...
The Sunday Poem: “Wood Ticks on Fire: Cecil Taylor and the Forests of Sound that Plant Themselves in Us” – by George Kalamaras
The poet writes about the complexity of pianist Cecil Taylor’s music, and the liberation he feels from listening to it...
The poet imagines being a monarch butterfly, inspired to movement by the music of Django Reinhardt...
Barstow to Boron, bound for Bakersfield
we fly across the Mojave Desert, will wind
through and over the Tehachapis
only to come to rest in another desert
on the rim of the sink of California.
Ella Fitzgerald is whispering
to me: “sit here and enjoy your dinner with my
sweet honey voice,” eternal bloom of time,
filling the corner of the street where I eat
with a Golden Age long gone but that remains
like an idea, lingering, like the steam of a
hot bath leaving
traces of fingers on the mirror
There are two types of clubs
Highfalutin hoity-toity stuck up clubs
And gritty grimy dingy dank dungeons
I prefer the latter, for obvious reasons
Clubs must be weathered
Crackled paint & nicotine stained
The phrase that brought to us
The Sunny Day
The Warm of the ocean
The Joy of observing of Life . . .
Not only our own but of a World of Dreams.
Did you dream up the orange golden sun of Aruanda?
Seashells far from your mother, you would no longer need
to whisper, “Take Me to Aruanda.”...
. . David Becker, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons “‘Benedetto’ means the ‘blessed one’ and I feel that I have truly been blessed.” -Tony Bennett . . ___ . . Tony Bennett, In Memoriam Lightning strikes as your voice makes magic on a summer night i think of a tall girl … Continue reading ““Tony Bennett, In Memoriam” – a poem by Erren Kelly”...
. . Lester Young, 1946 . . Solace I relish the cultivation of my Lester afternoons an endeavor still absorbing at my age captive in that garden of ambient sound …………………that Young tenor breath ………………………….a zephyr expulsion stirring atmosphere rare these days for this climate caressing time & movement with a tone to stream still … Continue reading ““Solace” – a poem by Terrance Underwood”...
The poet recalls an evening when he serendipitously encountered jazz in “The Point” neighborhood of Boston...
This busy bee, at the end of a life like clockwork,
a symphony of service to everything but herself—
wings snatched in a world blinded by the way it is—
slowly expiring in the sweet nectar of stillness,
The poet writes a profile of the jazz drummer Elvin Jones, inspired by a photograph by Lee Tanner...
The poet writes a fantasy about Parker’s time in the California asylum Camarillo…a 15 song playlist accompanies the poem...
A woman’s fingers explored/piano keys, as though bairns/plowing through snow drifts/in search of hidden life;...
An abstract poetic view of an abstract jazz recording…...
A remembrance of incidents in the Bronx, Harlem and at Bop City…...
The poet describes the impact of pianist Ahmad Jamal on a cherished evening, and beyond...
The poet writes on how a musician putting their heart into their playing is a key to a great solo...
It’s the darkness, man, the
that laughs with the evil of the vamp.
It’s the wildness, man, the
that greets the gray of dawn.
So long ago, before Ornette Coleman,
Coleman Hawkins, John Coltrane—
all those free spirits running up and down
the alphabet of jazz, there was old
J.S. Bach, running through the changes.
I always picture him, and hear him,
at the pipe organ in Tomas Kirsche
all by himself,
I live inside Erik Satie’s piano
with my dog.
Every day is early morning autumn here
The leaves never fall
inside Erik Satie’s piano – they dance
One of my greatest joys for decades
was exploring unknown record shops.
I once walked into a newly opened used
shop around the corner from my university
and discovered a used album, apparently
the improvisatory result of a session
set up by Norman Granz that included
Nineteen fifty-nine –
1-9-5-9 – things changed.
Coltrane took Giant Steps –
Miles was Kind of Blue
and Brubeck played
Shepp, believing in the immortality
of Malcolm’s significance, murmurs,
a few weeks after his murder,
“Semper Malcolm” over disjointed jazz,
Yes, it is hot,
night sweats beneath
Spanish moss and the terror in trees
now knowing no cover of darkness
to greet a Sunday morning
under the stairs
16th Street Baptist Church.
and the siren wails
“Liner Notes for ‘Stardust’ — In Seven Choruses” is a cycle of short poems framed as imaginary liner notes and prompted by poet Doug Fowler’s favorite musical covers of Hoagy Carmichael’s “Stardust.” In essence, according to Fowler, they are “imaginary liner notes for a real song about an imaginary song about love.”
The cycle is also partially a tribute to Chu Berry, who died as the result of a car accident in Conneaut, Ohio, in 1941, not far from where Fowler lives....
not even schroeder from the peanuts
is as dedicated to the piano
and he has a bust of beethoven
gracing his steinway!
you pull sounds out of the air
making something out of nothing
you call it improvisation:
i say, god’s just using you as
a transmitter for his thoughts…
Trading Fours with Douglas Cole is an occasional series of the writer’s poetic interpretations of jazz recordings and film. In this edition, the poet connects the recordings of Jessica Williams’ “Little Waltz” and Gene Harris’ “Summertime.”...
Before becoming one of television’s biggest stars, he was a competent ragtime and jazz piano player greatly influenced by Scott Joplin, and employed a band of New Orleans musicians similar to the Original Dixieland Jazz Band to play during his New York vaudeville revue. Who was he?...
An exhibit of Giovanni Piesco’s photographs of the late free jazz cellist and performance artist Tristan Honsinger...
Vivaldi, especially “The Four Seasons,”
keeps showing up in forms of jazz:
a hint, a structure—but try unraveling
any musical DNA you go straight back
to singing and to drum, voice and poetry—
. . Fotograaf Onbekend / Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons Tony Bennett, 1966 . ___ . …..We’ve lost a ton of iconic celebrities lately – stars of all ages and from many creative worlds. Among them: Tina Turner, David Crosby, Cormac McCarthy, Alan Arkin, David Bowie, Ahmad Jamal, Wayne Shorter, Sidney Poitier, Gordon Lightfoot, … Continue reading “A thought or two about Tony Bennett”...
A fantasy involving a spider and Miles Davis’ recording of “All Blues”...
Trading Fours, with Douglas Cole, No. 14: “Music Under Banyan Trees” and “Notes on the Steely Dan Piece”
Two poems devoted to Steely Dan’s 1977 recording of “Aja”...
The poet writes about the significance of Miles Davis’s “Kind of Blue”, and why it is the “it” jazz recording…...
. . “Modus Dualis,” by Martel Chapman . . Riff ‘n’ Tiff There was no time signature to save Louis Armstrong from the shivery brine. Monk volunteered to heave his piano overboard to give the lifeboat more zest but it wouldn’t budge or stay in tune for that matter. Moisture had initiated a rift between … Continue reading ““Riff ‘n’ Tiff” – humor by Dig Wayne”...
This edition features poetry chosen from hundreds of recent submissions, and from a wide range of voices known – and unknown – to readers of these collections. The work is unified by the poets’ ability to capture the abundance of jazz music, and their experience with consuming it....
A man once asked me about ambition, not in a typical sense of family and lifetime accomplishments, more of a rhetorical artistic conversation. To me, it wasn’t a topic which warranted a structured answer let alone a real plan, God forbid life would be linear and predictable. Now, over two decades later, I am found in Notting Hill’s Rooftop Cafe, writing a story which could possibly address the subject unintentionally....
This is the 14th extensive collection of jazz poetry published on Jerry Jazz Musician since the fall of 2019, when the concept was initiated. Like all previous volumes, the beauty of this edition is not solely evident in the general excellence of the published works; it also rests in the hearts of the individuals from diverse backgrounds who possess a mutual desire to reveal their life experiences and interactions with the music, its character, and its culture....
Interview with Richard Koloda, author of Holy Ghost: The Life & Death of Free Jazz Pioneer Albert Ayler
An impeccably researched biography of an influential figure in American music, the goal of which is “to draw attention away from the circumstances surrounding Ayler’s death and bring it sharply back to the legacy he left behind.”...
A broad collection of jazz poetry authored by an impressive assemblage of regular contributors and established poets new to this publication – all of whom open their imagination and hearts to the abundant creative experience they derive from this art....
Over 60 poets from all over the world celebrate their love of jazz…in poetry....
A collection of the poet Erren Kelly’s unconstrained, improvisational and provocative poetry written during the era of COVID...
Jazz and poetry have always had a symbiotic relationship. Their creative languages share the common soil of imagination and improvisation, from which their audiences discover inspiration and spirit, and perhaps even a renewed faith in life itself.
This collection features 50 gifted poets from places as disparate as Ohio and Nepal, Estonia and Boston, Guyana and Pittsburgh, each publicly sharing their inner world reverence for the culture of jazz music....
An invitation was extended recently to poets to submit work that reflects this time of COVID, Black Lives Matter, and a heated political season. In this third volume, 33 poets contribute…...
. . “Clifford Brown” is a painting by Warren Goodson, a Saxapahaw, North Carolina artist whose work is driven by his appreciation for Black culture. With his gracious consent, Mr. Goodson’s art is featured throughout this collection. . . _____ . . “Poetry is eternal graffiti written in the heart of everyone.” -Lawrence Ferlinghetti … Continue reading “A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Summer, 2020 Edition”...
33 poets from all over the globe contribute 47 poems. Expect to read of love, loss, memoir, worship, freedom, heartbreak and hope – all collected here, in the heart of this unsettling spring....
Miscellaneous news and notes to share…...
The winter collection of poetry offers readers a look at the culture of jazz music through the imaginative writings of its 32 contributors. Within these 41 poems, writers express their deep connection to the music – and those who play it – in their own inventive and often philosophical language that communicates much, but especially love, sentiment, struggle, loss, and joy....
. . Photo William Gottlieb/Library of Congress Charlie Parker is frequently found on the lists of noted critics and musicians answering the question, “What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz record recordings of the 1940’s?” This photograph by William Gottlieb was taken at Carnegie Hall in New York, c. 1947 . __________ … Continue reading “Reminiscing in Tempo: “What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz recordings of the 1940’s?””...
While the civil rights movement may not have officially begun until the December, 1955 day that Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama bus, the stage for it was set years before that. Religious leaders and institutions, jazz and athletics all famously played important roles in building a foundation for the movement,...
The winter I ran away, I moved into a garret in Provincetown, where I wrote poetry under the light of a candle far into the wee hours. Out my window, two stories up, I could see snow glistening on slanted rooftops that led like an uneven staircase to the bay. Below me, a twisted narrow path led to Commercial Street, peaceful and stark as an unwritten page. It was 1973 and I had run to the end of the world as I knew it to find freedom.
I knew Provincetown from spending summers with my dad and Grandma Tess in her cottage in Truro. It seemed she’d lived most of her life since Grandpa’s passing as a beachcomber. I liked following behind her when we collected...
Henry Bell wished the actress on the TV interview show wouldn’t smile so much. Most show folk, he thought, were not memorable. They were things, as he had written in one of his songs, made on the cheap from neon and crepe. Sometimes he believed it too. Then he’d remind himself that human beings wrote all kinds of wonderful tunes, like “The Wind” — the number that had made his mind reel when he was very young and made him think he could write songs.
“The Wind” was eight, maybe nine, minutes of continuous jamming colored in with jazzy chords, an understated vocal and poetry. As a kid, listening to Dick Summer’s Subway show late at night on his transistor radio, stuck under the pillow to muzzle its volume, he thought he could trek into “The Wind” and the journey through its changes would be endless.
Now, nearly forty, he wasn’t a kid anymore, and jazz-inflected rock music wasn’t his thing. At some point too, he’d decided that Circus Maximus was a pretty dumb name for a...
Chantal Doolittle wasn’t like anybody else she knew. Who else, for example, would stand transfixed before a record player or stereo, still as stone while listening to music — not merely attending to it — her very cells taking in the song, calculating and absorbing. “That girl is special,” Nana Esther always said.
When she was a kid and Motown was the thing, Chan would sing Marvin Gaye’s tunes to her grandmother in their high ceilinged apartment, where, more often than not it was soul music, the harmonizing voices of The Four Tops, The Temptations, The Supremes, drifting in from the surrounding windows and disappearing into the sky that was perennially a washed out gray, as if there was an invisible flag always at half mast, hanging outside heaven. From the time she was five or six, all Chan had to do was hear a song once and she would know it. She knew all the Motown tunes word for word, and sang them right on key, perfectly, which is why Nana Esther dubbed her, “my little songbird.”
Of course, there was nothing little about Chantal, but, being her grandmother’s one and only, she was “a little one” to her. Chantal was tall, big for her age, and when she developed as a young woman, busty too. She stood out even before she opened her mouth, due to her attitude. Her nana had taught her to be “confident as a man,” and she had seemingly...
The publication of Arya Jenkins’ “Broad Street” is the fourth in a series of short stories she has been commissioned to write for Jerry Jazz Musician. For information about her column, please see our September 12 “Letter From the Publisher.”
For Ms. Jenkins’ introduction to her work, read “Coming to Jazz.”
The day I moved into Broad Street, the roiling waters of the Long Island Sound burst over sea walls along the Connecticut coast from New Haven to Greenwich, flooding Bridgeport so badly, a poor, emotionally disturbed man actually drowned in a sewer. At Seaside Park, water rushed across two parking lots, swirled around a few skimpy trees and headed straight for the historic set of row houses that included my basement apartment. It was early December as I arrived, two knapsacks in tow, only to find my new landlady Rosie and my neighbor Alice knee-deep in galoshes in muck, hauling out my furniture.
A week earlier, Alice had lured me with, “There’s a vacancy next door and it’s yours. Everybody’s an artist here. You belong.” I had felt that the studio with its cozy rooms...
The publication of Arya Jenkins’ “Epistrophy” is the third in a series of short stories she has been commissioned to write for Jerry Jazz Musician. For information about her column, please see our September 12 “Letter From the Publisher.” For Ms. Jenkins’ introduction to her work, read “Coming to Jazz.”
Disenchanted leaves fell early through the trees the summer I left my life for an ashram. The path to the ashram snaked into the woods not far from Tanglewood and reminded me less of where I had been than where I was going with its rotund emphasis on kindness and formality-Within a year I would be studying Buddhism in a monastery and teaching English at Cornell in Ithaca.
I was attempting to put a punto finale to the moneyed nonsense in which I’d lived too long in Fairfield County, and wanted to quell my fulminating instinct, my destructive fires and find some kind of peace and stability, even at the expense of boredom–which may have been expecting too much....
Everyone is afraid to knock on the door when they hear the trumpet behind it. A closed door is like an On Air sign or a red light outside a dark room. Still, they have to talk to him. Sonny is nowhere to be found. And Thibodeau is too busy eye-fucking the women at the hotel bar to practice. And Baldwin is just tired.
They wait for a lull, a break. Three minutes waiting outside the door, and it comes. They knock soft, one of those we didn’t want to have to bother you but didn’t see any other recourse knocks; a musician has a way of using sound, its timbre, its breadth, to say everything. Knocking is no different....
“Reminiscing in Tempo” is part of a continuing effort to provide Jerry Jazz Musician readers with unique forms of “edu-tainment.” As often as possible, we pose one question via e mail to a small number of prominent and diverse people. The question is designed to provoke a lively response that will potentially include the memories and/or opinion of those solicited.
What are five books that mean a lot to you?
Featuring Ben Ratliff, David Maraniss, Diane McWhorter, Don Byron, Gary Giddins, James Gavin, Kevin Boyle and others…...
The Ralph Ellison Project: interview with Lawrence Jackson, author of Ralph Ellison: Emergence of Genius
Author, intellectual and social critic, Ralph Ellison was a pivotal figure in American literature and history, and arguably the father of African-American modernism. Universally acclaimed for Invisible Man, a masterpiece of modern fiction, and more recently for the posthumously edited and published Juneteenth, Ellison was recognized with a succession of honors, including the 1953 National Book Award.
Lawrence Jackson’s Ralph Ellison: Emergence of Genius is the first thoroughly researched biography of Ellison....