A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Fall/Winter, 2021-22 Edition

December 10th, 2021

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“Skylark” is a painting by Molly Larson Cook, an Oregon-based artist and writer whose work is featured throughout this collection.  While many of the paintings in her “Colors of Jazz” series are named for a jazz song title, her goal isn’t to paint a specific tune.  The title is added after a painting is complete and offers her a narrative.  

Molly’s abstract-expressionist paintings have much in common with the poetry and music found within this extensive collection of jazz poetry; all three art forms can be described as “landscapes of the imagination,” created by artists from all over the world who are inspired in a meaningful way by jazz music, and whose work can be uniquely interpreted and appreciated (or not!) by those who consume it.  

As always, thanks to the poets and readers, and I hope you enjoy…

Joe

 

 

 

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At the conclusion of the poems, biographies of the artist and poets contributing to this collection are listed in the order their work appears

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A selection of recordings are available to listen to throughout the collection…

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Listen to the 1959 recording of Charles Mingus playing “Boogie Stop Shuffle,” from Mingus Ah Um [Columbia]

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WZUM

WZUM Radio resuscitated jazz in Pittsburgh,
…………pounds on its heart every time I tune in.

Today, a song about the much-maligned lemon,
…………how it’s a wonderful source
…………of vitamin C, how a little lemon twist
…………makes everything better.

Then a song about the much-maligned fat daddy.
…………The woman sings that she wants
…………a fat daddy, scrawny won’t do for her.
…………She likes her men between 250 and 300lbs.

Some say making love with a fat daddy is hard,
…………but this lady says it’s so good
…………it’ll make a woman’s eyes water.
…………It’s as delicious as a porterhouse steak!

Jazz celebrates everything: lemons, big fat daddies,
…………winter moons, funny valentines,
…………even time outs, nights in Tunisia, day dreams,
…………and the ultimate putdown—

…………so what?

It’s my love supreme, my foolish thing, my stormy
weather, my night and day,

…………my body and soul.

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by Charlie Brice

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as long as i got jazz

as long as
i got jazz i’m
good. i’m gravy.
i’m groovy. jazz
soothes me. says
to me, “say brother,
calm down. collect
your thoughts. get lost
in syncopated rhythms.”

as long as i got jazz
i am at peace. i am at
pause. i am standing
in universal good. i am
able to do justice. as long
as i got jazz i have harmony
in my life. as long as i got jazz
i have joy. i am a b-boy bouncing
in the ever-flowing sounds
of Black people. there is no
evil around me when i got jazz.

i am at home. i have hope.
i sing melodies. the jazz raps,
the high hats, are heavenly
when i got jazz. when i got jazz
i have words. i have visions.
at my disposal, i have the
solar system.

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by Christopher D. Sims

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Jazz

The only way to make it through all
…………..this is music …..listen
heat-bold roaches are taking over the walls
…………..palm trees swing their radial arms
screams of pleasure rise through the floor
……….in the century it takes to crawl to the door
as a ghost comes from time to time
……….to press his face through the window grime

yet that holy saxophone hymn
…………..lifts you and me
and I say the smoke flowing over the balcony
…………..has a razor’s edge that cuts through
the moon’s white eye
…………..and the paralyzing night

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…………..First appeared in the poet’s book: The Gold Tooth in the Crooked Smile of God, published by Unsolicited Press.  Also appeared in Slipstream.

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by Douglas Cole

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Inside The Fire

give me
the jazz
loud and loose
running over
with wash tubs
of honey and gin
swelling the blood
releasing blackbirds
circling mad
with crazy noises
stirring the pulse
raising the hands
while reaching
for hope
past midnight
where spirits
tattoo the air
and howl
with the wolves

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by Roger Singer

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For The Woman At Gristedes

i want to play you
but in a good way
play you like charlie mingus’ bass
stand you upright and tall
your hips curved with my longing
you throw spanish like
a boomerang
and it slides pleasantly
off my back

you are fit to be played

i want to drown in your
effervescence

maybe you could
show me
there’s more
than one
way

to speak jazz ?

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by Erren Kelly

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Anti-Jazz

Anti-Jazz police at my door
bitching about the Bitches Brew
emanating from my window
like a dentist drill
hitting a raw nerve
cat howling
staccato bleating
cacophonous squawking
that ain’t jazz
sez the flatfoot
hollow twaddle and bombast
deconstruction gone too far
as sax man blows hot and heavy
while piano dude heads for the stratosphere
on a high-flying tangent
until reeled in by bass guy
returning to
the original groove
that ain’t jazz
sez the copper
calling for back-up
got no melodious modalities
even your poem is stupid
no rhyme or meter
buzz off, man
can’t you see I’m riffing
a discordant juxtaposition
of all that is real and unreal
truth is in the essence
not the projection of what you think
there is only what is
Genesis
let there be light, brother.

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by Edward Sheehy

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Broadway And 52nd St. Midnight Jazz Club 1950

sipping our drinks as we wait in the cloud of smoke
we are too excited and too loud

out of the darkness on stage
a haunting sax calls to us
then the tenor player swans out of the darkness

the prophet of sound
will speak to us all

as the lights come up and the applause comes alive
we see the guys in the band smiling
ready to go

we applaud wildly
press in as close as we can to the musicians

the quintet has formed a circle
competing with each other
fiery notes flying everywhere

at the end of a wild set
under the skidding squeal of the silvery trumpet
i hear the kind heart of the throbbing bass
insisting that it’s time for the players to calm down
keep accurate time
and
honour the melody

in a shifting jigsaw sound puzzle
powered by complexity
chaos and coherence conjoin
the world has come aright
under the power of jazz

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by Paul Brown

 

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Molly Larson Cook Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue

“Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue,” by Molly Larson Cook

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Misty

Notice
the complete ease
in Garner’s right hand
as it floats like a cloud
over the keys,
fashioning a theme,
smooth and flowing.

Its rich tones,
like brush strokes,
weave in and out,
layering the air
around us
with a beautiful rainbow.

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by Russell Dupont

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Take Five

I remember when I first heard that standard
Standing in the bowels of the square mall
Busted neon’s of burned-out cafes
Bearing the same menus in the window I saw when I was a four
Waiting for the five passed amongst the exhaust fumes
Plumes of smoke from the cigarettes
The scent of stale beer following me from the bar
I’d left behind five minutes before my bus
When over the tannoy
The pulsing beat changes my heart’s rhythm
Tapping into my thoughts
A successive array of repetitions
Palpitations of piano pummeling percussion
The saxophone soaring into reminiscence…

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by Anthony Ward

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Plainview

sparkle on the surface water
………………………………..from breeze
……………………..from sunlight
no egrets ducks neither
seen at this cool moment
headphones returned
Ben Webster blows “But Beautiful”

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by Terrance Underwood

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Tijuana Moods—Charlie Mingus

When you cross over into Tijuana
turn sideways into the neon light
to let your shadow disappear. Give
some coins to the retired toreadors
in the alley, for they were once gods,
and smile at the ladies of the night
but do not take their hands, and
the old road will lead you past The Day
of the Dead to the Mariachi band.

The first set always ends in a tequila haze,
but the second set takes on a new life.
Like Charlie Mingus, you’re getting over
a previous marriage and it’s time to join
the carnival and live again.

The band are in time w/ each other now:
Bass walks beyond the sand into the bay;
saxophone is a summer storm over
Monterrey; piano runs its fingers through
your hair, and the trumpet shouts out
a tribute to the Matador who’s just come in.

All those careful arrangements canned
and bottled in the USA have spilled
onto the tiled floor. Now, another song
is composed in the beer and booze,
its broad brush strokes painted onto the
canvas of our minds in colors that
illuminate the night fantastic.

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by D.H. Jenkins

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Jazzy Costa Rica

Suitcases open up, and into the Spanish soul of Costa Rica
Outside my room a tree pokes its head through the roofless hallway
A lively harmonica signals to the bartender, who opens a window
to a welcoming parade in the streets below
Hola, Hola. One note, two. One note, two____ take us to a congregation- chorus, all sliding together to come to a screeching halt

A deeply-serious sax bows to a sassy guitar
Kick-ass, bimitty-boom drums lead us forward
All of us: the floating balloons, the children on stilts

On past the monkeys swinging on the branches above
picnic tables you never want to have a picnic on
And by the fences painted with Picasso imitations
One eye, three breasts,
Four arms locked together
and one hand with seven, gypsy fingers click the flamingo

Over the scatting, swinging bridge
From one side to the other … a-bell-bird’s song weaves around
serious sax, sassy guitar …
And a volcano that rises in a misty distance

A warm smile spreads from the Pacific to the Caribbean. And in the valley below, a hammock rocks slowly, sleepily
So, so tired ___ after an eight-hour shift in the banana factory
… at the edge of nowhere

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by Susandale

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Quiet Night Of Quiet Stars

She was not one to be filled with madness.
In the crystal silence she walked upon
the autumnal leaves singing sweetly to herself.
It was a quiet night of quiet stars.

High above her, aloft on high branches
the diamond dove whistled. In harmony
of awakening, the estrilda finch shuffled
cooing softly, echoing the weaver of dreams.

Truly a lullaby of bird land
she thought, and raised her arms to wane the night
til softly as a morning sunrise
a blush of sun crested the shadow world.

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by Josie Rozell

 

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Listen to the 1959 recording of drummers Buddy Rich and Max Roach playing “Figure Eights” [Universal]

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The Drums

What is love but the thunder
Of a bass drum pounding
From a foot hot with vibrations.
The mind twinkling from a brush
Sweeping over the crash cymbal.
That overwhelming rhythm that rings
Through the high hat and
Makes you forget time.

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by Meisha Synnott

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For Drummer Buddy Rich

many thought
drummer buddy rich

was the premier jazz timekeeper
for all of time.

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how many of us
have to do the same things

over and over, several times
to get something down.

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buddy once said
he could not

read a note
of music.

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he said he had the timing
and tune, perfectly down forever

if he just heard a song,
for just once.

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by Alan Yount

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Paul Motian at the Village Vanguard

On this night at the Village Vanguard,
Paul Motian plays in stops and starts –
the spaces as loud as the beats.
He is the rhythm; he once said his body is the drum.
Motian’s drums contrast Enrico Pieranunzi’s piano –
tapping a martial beat on his tom against Fellini’s Waltz,
dragging his sticks across the skin of the snare
like chains on a gravel road.
He pauses – as if watching the rhythm turning in mid-air –
before sticking the landing with a soft tap on the cymbals,
laughing to himself in delight.

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by Robert Miner

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Dialogue Of The Drums
……………………..The 6th Bracknell Jazz Festival, UK, 1979

In the main tent on Saturday night
Louis Moholo tucked on the side
of the stage playing a basic kit
snare, toms, bass & hi-hat.

Andrew Cyrille takes the rest
inhabits a forest of percussion
anvils, chime bars, cowbells, claves,
cymbals, gongs, wood blocks, tablas,
frames, rattles, steel pans etcetera.

When the duo play you can hear
grooves, beats & fills, the heartbeat
that makes wind wait in the trees,
muscled sounds of excitement & joy.

They are tender, dignified, abstract
precise, refined, whimsical, sensual
they’re as good as anything by
Miles, Bird, Trane, Monk, Roach,
Kahlo, Pollock, Whitman or Frost.

After ¾ of an hour the duo stop.
Louis puts down drumsticks while
Andrew stills his hands & says
well that’s about all we wanted to say.

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by Rodney Wood

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Molly Larson Cook Bebop Spoken Here

“Bebop Spoken Here,” by Molly Larson Cook

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Biography Of A Jazz Musician

The urge to improvise felt young,
A song is played or writ or sung,
A different tune, an altered phrase;
Same song, but new-created,
Most inviting and demanding for the one
who does it.
Need fulfilled.

Where is the gene that brings about
This inner need to shout “oohbopeeda”,
Play Kern’s song ‘wrong’.
(He wants to sue the soul who dares to
Change a note of “All The Things You Are”)
Each in accord to his/her nature,
Jazz is born, borne further.
Drawn to, born to play ‘unused’
(I, one of those.
My food, my clothes…of course my music).
Irresistible the stimulus.

Original, experimental, way out, far out
Re-invigorated, the garde-avant
The tune, though loved feels worn
The song, the person newly born;
Revived, improved, refreshed, pristine;
‘Untried’, un-hackneyed: aim and key.
Such, the jazz heredity,
And probably
Biography.

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by Arlene Corwin

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monkjazz

when monk sat down and played the piano
he sawed the world in half
criss cross criss cross
with a big-tooth crosscut soundsaw
jagged edges broken edges
he threw the noteshards in all directions
ask me now ask me how
stinging dissonance
surprise plunge down an empty elevator shaft
falling brittle glass notes breaking
trinkle-tinkle
spinning dizzy dancing round the piano
watch out on the brilliant corners
follow if you can
rhythm-a-ning
jazz with sharp elbows
get outa the way if you don’t get it
not minor
off minor thank-you-very-much

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by Paul Brown

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Sait-On Jamais

With elegant grace,
Lewis’ soft chords
usher in Jackson’s
…..ethereal vibes —

the quintessence
of cool Jazz —
notes suspended
……………….in time.

There is, here,
an otherworldly delicacy,
seeping, sweeping sounds,
a personification of beauty.

Magnifique!

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by Russell Dupont

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Sun Ra’s Spaceship

I’m not of this world, Ra insisted, and it was obvious
to everyone: He ain’t one of us. You see, he swore, I am
from out there: I conjure up other worlds that could break your brain.
And to be Blount? This claim was only scarcely less credible
than faithful suckers talking to an old man in outer space.

Listen: magic’s a trick when these cities are always the same,
suits suffocating fools and men calling you son, not Sonny—
an alien in their eyes—with black holes for hearts and their ears
stuffed with corn, that slop discreet folks covet for colorless meals,
when earthlings turn on machines to distract them from inner space.

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by Sean Murphy

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Bettye LaVette

She sang anguish—
……………blackbird
………………………….with broken wings
waiting
……………all her life
………………………….to be free

Black-eyed bird
……………in the dead of night
………………………….cold dark night
finally
……………taught herself
………………………….to fly

Spread her wings
……………despite the pain
………………………….raised her voice
s.a.n.g

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by Phyllis Wax

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Charlie Parker Blues

a kaleidoscope
of
indigo
graced
with
the
memory of love

so
sublime
sensual

a Zen dog
called
love

8 my brain
8 to the bar

whispered bubbles
of laughter
and scampered down
the alleyway

tripping on a
trail
of
stardust

love

leads
us
home

revelation?

beat me daddy.

8 to the bar.

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by Namaya

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Epistrophic Epistemology,
Upon Viewing A Famous Photograph

so, Thelonious
revered piano speech advocate
permutations will abound undismayed
………………………………long after
my knowledge of such influence
……………………has gone to rest….

Confined forces energized
………..increase by increment
……………………from stillness to sensation
………………………………….Sound at creation
………………………………Such may be seen
……………………in perpetuity displayed
on each lens of your sunglasses

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by Terrance Underwood

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Jazz Wallah
…………..After Fats Waller, My Very Good Friend the Milkman

Well all right then!
One take wonder in Tin Pan Alley,
Fats scats with coolest cats,
tongue tripped spliffed riffs,
bones nipped and tucked,
as other jazzers lucked out.

In clear and present pleasure
by turns Fats yearns and gurns,
late syncopator
My very good friend
We fell in love with you.

In swashbuckling swing, mid-take,
sweet wine of Adaline
just getting into your Stride,
and its all over,
All that meat and no potater
See ya later, alligator.

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……………..previously published in the poet’s collection Scallywag

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by Isabel White

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Listen to the 1957 recording of Red Garland playing “The Very Thought of You” [Universal]

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Just Say I Love Him
…………….(sung by Nina Simone)

his engraved name on stone
tells me he’s not coming back

the mistakes made
the regrets that haunt

dreams can’t revive what’s lost
rain comforts my face & hands

trees stripped of youth
wait for me to pass

a wilted red rose
finds perpetual sleep

grief is laid
to rest

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by Patricia Carragon

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Then He Can Miss Me

He knows nothing about the genius of Miles
Or Nat King Cole’s “Smile,” I went on about Billie
he thought I was talking about MJ, knew nothing
about Lady Day, I was lost for words, what could I say

I asked if he’d like to listen to the 4 Suites of
Trane’s A Love Supreme, his blank face asked
What do you mean, I wanted to scream

I need a man with Jazz and Blues chops, a stack
of LPs, not a wanna-be-rapper asking me what
are these as I proudly showed him my collection
going back to the 1960s

Monk was not a religious man who took a vow
Jimmy Smith’s The Sermon took us to church
with his organ, but not a building with pews
I played Eddie Harris’ Listen Here, still he didn’t
have a clue

I need a fellow who can sit and bob his head
steep deep in the Jazz game, hearing a sample
in a Rap song ain’t the same, try picking up
a book of Langston Hughes, Weary Blues
Such music is history if he still doesn’t
get it, then he can miss me

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by Aurora M. Lewis

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Claude Monet in Storyville

he paints a can-can girl
as easily as a landscape
fleshing out her tones in the
natural light
she is a flower, degas would
admire
the scent of love, wafting down
paris streets, like a humble
clarinet

monet appreciated beauty like
i appreciated jazz

i watch a water lily in a portrait
and i think of a woman’s nightflower
slowly, it opened with the promise of
dawn, like venus

she removes her stockings, her legs
lovely as lilies, her eyes, irises
in the natural light, monet paints
her, as if god gave her to him
from a dream, the clarinet spells a tale,
a rhapsody

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by Erren Kelly

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Tempted

She loved how his drums
sounded like the rain.

She wished by any-known God
for some willpower,
but they blamed themselves
on the storm.

Squeeze’s “Tempted”
played on the turntable,
followed by silky sounds
of Al Green,

& some romantic jazz piano:
“The very thought of you”
played by Red Garland.

How can one understand
the twists of human lust,
bodies & hearts,

how one’s sweat smells
like the Caribbean Sea,
outside of paradise?

The streets are quieter now
after the storm;
their hearts still beat wildly.

She’s still tempted to kiss him more,
but she doesn’t want to trap him—
all the debris had been washed away.

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……………………originally published in Poetry Super Highway

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by Carrie Magness Radna

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An Evening Journey

In early evening hush,
rain’s soft susurration,
with a quiet elegance
one might find in a Bill Evans
or Lester Young or Miles Davis
solo, flows through open windows,
carries me from contemplation
into deep sleep where I float

downhill riding creek’s current
through forests, past boulders,
into meadows where voices
of children echo, and distant past
welcomes me without question,
as certain songs or tunes
stir the heart whenever they
are sung or played,

such as “God Bless the Child,”
“Summertime,” or “Stella by Starlight,”
and I drift through waves of music,
and the world laps against
my mind as it dozes, just as I drift
in and out of consciousness
when the rain carries me into memory,
then back to the edges of today.

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………………previously published in Making My Peace (Cyberwit.net, 2021)

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by Michael L. Newell

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Molly Larson Cook Bitches Brew

“Bitches Brew,” by Molly Larson Cook

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Coldest Winter Night

When Miles Davis gets back into his mood
I go where I need to be in my own
somewhere in or near Matt Waldron’s Love Span
over the River Tender where moons flow
reflecting piano keys rippling night
droplets break break surface tension
golden on black like an Asian dark dripping
sentence where Keith Jarrett cools you
a younger tribute with his sad perfect
vision captured in moonlight from a
heavily darker onyx winter’s night
colder than bone-shiver or breathless river
January’s paean to solitude at its center.

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by Ed Coletti

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Blue in Green
………………………After Miles Davis and John Coltrane

balmy hammer tap
holds clear tone brass
in a fidelity of being
slowing spectrum to a solitude
in cool shades a mediation
of solos in a blue note sea
sax sighs over lustrous keys
weaving horn’s sparse rays
an effort of petal and stem
climbing in joint soliloquy
blooming the aching
blue in green

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by Jessica Lee McMillan

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Miles Davis

Your barest whisper at first suffices,
expanding slowly to an arc of sound;
each reticent phrase the horn releases
freights the air as a theme is found.

In dapper suits, expensive shoes,
you stand, your back half-turned to a crowd,
giving no more than what you’re paid for –
the music you make and time.

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by David Cooke

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Summer Night
………………….(Miles Davis song)

Emptiness of a quiet summer night
no noise but the muted trumpet of Miles
(into dark stillness is the freedom to be)
and the silence of the stars delivers us
beyond those fires that fence out the world.

Into those senses remembered as a child
we go, back to an earlier, much earlier
summer night when we first heard music.

Sitting cross legged on the floor
…………….seeing value in ordinary things:
the moon, the shadow of a tree,
…………….a curtain in the breeze, a candle,
an ashtray, the mystery of jazz.

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by D.H. Jenkins

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Listen to the 1961 recording of guitarist Grant Green playing “Love Walked In” [Universal]

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Bop Juice

I arrived at Small’s Jazz early to find a long line outside.
So fine to see fans in their 20s and 30s.
Got the best seat in the house, atop the short bar.

Clifford hides under a green checkered cap,
behind a sporty sweater striped yellow.
So smooth from the onset.
No banging on his sizzling drums.

He’s got the intricate beat down,
tap, tap, tap.
Tippity tap.
Band leader Ralph LaLamma blows his horn.

David Wong stands upright at the bass.
Gershwin, “Antiqua,” “Love Letters.”
“Love Walked In”—
the last book my mother gave me
inspired by the obscure standard.

Like good loving — the music’s slow,
lively. It’s all the juice I need tonight.

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by Amy Barone

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Clarity on the Bandstand

A teetering presentation,
drifting across the bar lines,
in and out and around through the changes,
over and under, we chase the melody,
the seed that beguiled us to search,
to examine, and think,
to pursue the fragments,
the elements of spirit and soul that come alive,
that glow and shine and rise up,
and reach through the dim lighting and distractions,
that quell the noise and indifference,
emerging as motivation and inspiration,
worth and respect.
We have done our best,
and with the last phrase,
we pass the baton forward.
It is another’s turn to create.

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by Freddington

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Sleeping Bags In The Basement

New York City nurses tea and whisky in its pajamas under
ten feet of snow. Some go-getter bandleader calls a swing
band rehearsal in his building’s basement, and seventeen
starry-eyed hopefuls are down for another no-pay
networking opportunity.

I’m a walking sleeping bag in my parka. My saxophone
slips off my shoulder, slides down my sleeve and plummets
into a pillow of packed snow. The subway is eerily quiet,
but dry. A dude asks whether I play “that thing.” I say “No,
I’m just hauling it for some guy, any guy.”

Slogging up Broadway, my boots catch a rhythm and my
frozen lips whisper my mantra in time – “Do your do,
Do your do, Do your do, Doo doo doo.” I stuff myself into
the elevator with the other sleeping bags, excitement in one
pocket, trepidation in another.

I’m the only woman, there’s one other tenor sax player and
the leader gives all the solo parts to him. Everybody’s got
their foot on the gas, and the jazz raises the temperature a
few degrees. An hour in, I say “Hey man, wanna pass me a
solo?” He hands me one, in slow motion.

It’s a fractured blues. Jackpot! I fly in with my funky stuff,
breeze into a bit o’ bebop, and climax holding a ridiculously
high note for an absurd amount of time, with a boost of
reverb from the washing machines.

Two hours later, fists are bumped, numbers exchanged.
Nobody asks for my card but I crash their huddles and bestow
it on them anyway before I tumble out into the maelstrom
and sing “Do your do, Do your do, Do your do, Do, doo doo.”

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by Jean Fineberg

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Dizzy

I’m reading the club manager’s letter
inside an intimate room
overlooking a bay
where colours change at a secret pace;
he once shared a space
with Dizzy Gillespie,
a story of perfect pitch and smoke-
filled notes, informing me of how
the jazz trumpeter
once listened to him shave,
the almost-contact of his face
in the cold mirror of light
as he told him something real,
shelled a musician’s ear his way,
towards the sound he’d never forget,
that the electric razor
held calmly in his right hand
was in E flat.

.

by Byron Beynon

.

___

.

Higher Register

All the sessions
All the smoke
All the improv
All the Manhattans
All the honing of the embouchure
All the lovely curves
All in search of a higher register.

Playing solos
Living solo
Sessions with the lovely curves
Sessions with ephemeral verve
The 20’s Highway without boundaries
The 30’s roam through neighborhoods
Still making love in silhouettes
All in search of a higher register

The pipes become stale
No matter how thoroughly cleaned
Stare down with the 40’s and 50’s
Embouchure still strong
But still unsure that dissipating
Pleasures mean more than an empty case,
The verisimilitude of the higher register.

.

by Michel Krug

.

___

.

Yes She Owns

her satin pipes
pull at the pearls
of the horn man

he follows
the weakness,
unable to resist
the angel heart
and the devils pull

soaked in desires
they stretch the jazz
changing the sin
from water to blood
in the corner
of their world
and the air
they own

.

by Roger Singer

.

.

Molly Larson Cook Boplicity

“Boplicity,” by Molly Larson Cook

.

.

Skies Blue

Becoming this morning,
skies turning blue– possibly smiling–
who sees the radiance when
time is nothing except
disoriented bluebirds
singing faintly, never close
these long days of food pantries
masks and gloves, vaccine
pricks, gone hurrying
— possibly from now on–

oh! my, Blue Skies it’s flying
the LP spins this morning
converted to “In Walked
Bud” by
Monk smiling with love
shining just right, never has the sun
loved so deeply for humanity, anointing
Bud Powell, flying so bright
this fine spring morning,
walking out of Minton’s
stepping into history’s hot walkway.

skies so blue
past and gone
on, from now.

.

by Dan Brown

.

___

.

As It Should Be

Bass notes plucked on impulse
send you slippered, shivering
into the dark, your residual self
alert for whispered invitations
to adventurous couplings,
searching totemic gestures,
odd encounters to betray
your censured person.

The wood thrush at dawn
in its innocence,
knows not the tearful secrets,
angry engagements,
unbridled pleasures
endured in the labyrinth
of late-night conspiracies.

That’s as it should be.
This is your domain, your place
to wander the corridors of self,
suffer the follies of arousal,
exact epiphany
in payback for mortality.

The naïve bird,
awake from dreamless sleep,
for all the glory of its song
sung in shade-raised day,
does not hear the flatted fifth
that births the nightly blues.

That, too, is as it should be.

.

by Paul Austin

.

___

.

I Sing the Dog to Sleep

Tonight we listen
to Oscar Peterson’s Night Train,
wait in our departure lounge
for yours to arrive
at our mourning station.

Never a lap dog,
Porter prefers to keep all
at arm’s length, surveying
the peripheries as always
and Lord help anyone who dares
cross his flock before he leaves!

So tired now from shallow
pneumatic breaths, the effort
of lifting legs to stand is crippling,
but he rises without complaint
because a Sheltie has only his herd’s
best interests at heart.

I flip the record,
hear the familiar
clickclackclickclack rhythm,
black toenails on tile,
his head rests between
ivory piano key paws, waiting,
sighs chuggachuggas
until the night train’s headlamp
lights the final approach
without a breaking shriek.

.

by Jordan Trethewey

.

___

.

Practice Making Perfect

While I’m trying to play
Scrapple from the Apple
ok
the neighbors are slamming car doors
and loud voices
and
Buster is at the front window
perched on a recliner
the A section is Honeysuckle Rose
he tells me
then I Got Rhythm on the Bridge
just improvise in F without the changes
and slow it down he barks
what?
it’s not a ballad I call out
then silence
more noise outside
he starts jumping like Max Roach
banging the old chair
in a tempo he knows I like

.

by John Stupp

.

.

Listen to the 1962 recording of Duke Ellington and John Coltrane playing “My Little Brown Book” [Universal]

.

.

Giant Morning

In the warm moist sun
I listen to John Coltrane play
“Giant Steps”
nature seems to agree–
garden weathervanes spin
wood and metal wind chimes
tap a delicate kalimba background
thousands of boughs absorb
overlapping descending sheets
of sunlight shifting
in the breeze
casting flickering
modulating rays
waves of blue light
in green between
as fast as Coltrane’s scales
the soul of becoming
a spectrum of sound and sight
upon the ear.

.

by Dan Brown

.

___

.
Morning Tea With Coltrane

His day ends where mine begins
but ever the gracious gentleman
he acquiesces to my request
to join me for tea and an English Muffin
aware a good day for me impossible
without our early morning meditations.

Steaming tea, jam-buttered muffin
he regales me with his melodic musings
often a one-sided conversation
as I, engrossed, sip and chew
to adored well-worn reveries
ever entertained by his subtle embellishments.

Our time together as always passes too quickly
but he promises to join me again
in the morning for another tete-a-tete
over tea and English Muffins
aware a good day for me impossible
without our early morning meditations.

.

by Antoinette F. Winstead

.

___

.

If Only

What I wouldn’t give
to have seen
‘Trane on stage,
cheeks puffed up,
tenor-sax
sweet and sweating,
his neck
near popping its veins.

And in some club,
so cramped
each breath
was breathed by twenty people,
some black,
some white,
all color-blind.

With McCoy Tyner
on keyboards,
Jimmy Garrison on bass,
and Elvin Jones
faking out time
on the drum-kit.

What I wouldn’t give,
I can stick a CD in the player
and imagine.

.

by John Grey

.

___

.

Too Late

It all went by so fast.
Like the break of day.
Like a sixteenth note rest
In a rapid fire Charlie Parker riff.
Leave it out!
Who’s gonna’ notice, anyway?
And even if they do, who cares?
Certainly not him.

It’s too late, anyway.
I missed my flight,
And it’s too late for the Trane.
Everything’s different now, but who cares?
They’ve all left ahead of me.

Maybe when it’s my time,
I’ll hitch a ride.
Catch up to ’em on the other side.
More Miles yet to go.

.

by T. W. Parrish

.

___

.

Sentimental Mood
………………………..After Duke Ellington & John Coltrane

Autumn scatters focal points
in tree-stippled amber
at the foot of the Pattullo bridge

The decayed crow wing
on russet grass
delicate the wind melody
turning leaves like flip sequins

city siren, the harbinger song
duet with sibilate breeze
raking carmine leaves
across my feet

I’m in the winks of the nodding sun,
the sweetening last sip

I hear the key of gold,
sunset unpairing from me
high on a low key

I beg the tones to anchor
lights above the bridge,
in flip sequin shimmer,
find that fixed torch
as the day turns down
without me in its ways

.

by Jessica Lee McMillan

.

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Molly Larson Cook Billie's Bounce

“Billie’s Bounce,” by Molly Larson Cook

.

.

Two Who Have Seen Better Days

Exuberant rain dances on a spring window
in concert with Ramsey Lewis unleashing
“Hang on Sloopy” on the radio;

who would have thought it possible
piano, rain, and wind might lift an old man
to his feet in an aging parody of a jig;

the septuagenarian’s ragged voice belts out
those words that can be remembered while
the visitor in the room, an old friend unseen

for years, sings along, misses as many words
as his host in a wild unanticipated toast to life;
neither of these old scoundrels are fit to dance,

much less sing, but both give it all they got, as wind
rises and falls, as rain sweeps away lost and lonely years,
as life flowers in the most unlikely of crucibles.

.

……………..Previously published in Making My Peace (Cyberwit.net, 2021)

.

by Michael L. Newell

.

___

.

Marty’s On The Hill, Los Angeles, April 1968

Nina Simone, a Queen in white dress, stands
tall, a giant oak living for hundreds of years.
Her voice, a universe, covers us with stars
shining, planets orbiting in their place,
simultaneous sunrise, sunset.

I see her still though the years have grayed my hair.
I hear her still though her voice went silent, joined
Miles, the Magus, in 2003. Together they wander
the outer world, beyond our universe, dance
around black holes with impunity.

She sings to the rising sun; she sings
to the setting sun. Her subjects left behind,
long to join the Queen and the Magus in magic
created for the gods. Unrequited love
is all we have, but it is enough. It is enough.

.

by Judith Vaughn

.

___

.

Ode To My Beloved’s Hands

On the bus in Istanbul
you read my palm with your fingers.
Fingers of a percussionist, the world
is your practice pad. You trace lines
in rhythm with the wheels of this
Middle Eastern ride. Incorporate
the mating call of the mourning doves
into your composition.

You abandon beats one and three. Press
my palm on two and four. Turkish jazz
in sequins in a smoky midnight joint. You told me
your hands can rhythm as separate entities:
left hand the bass score, right hand all treble,
all trembling. There are two doves now
in the palm of my hand. Their throats open
in minor fifths, diminished sevenths.
They have swooped among us, between
the electric wires, loitering on rooftops
of the hotel where they steam bream
in a clay oven wall.

Your fingers are fig jam and the soft puddle
at the root of your Turkish coffee. The clink
of silver spoons as the call to prayer. Minaret
of Istanbul, you have devoured kufta and kabobs,
hummus and honey, yogurt and roasted red pepper
ajvar. A mezza plate swirled with a crust of bread.

You move your fingers
over the staff of me. Place your hand
on my lower back. We are both bereft
of affection. You locate the sacred pulse
of my schizophrenic time signatures. There is nothing
tacit in your touch. I am a whirling dervish
hypnotized. A holy trinity of sash and sway
and syncopation. Your hands, my hips.
Your drummer’s hands crescendoing me
off the juke joint charts.

.

by Marianne Peel

.

___

.

Unheard Melody

He scans the yellowing sheet music
for Benny’s number, “One O’Clock Jump,”
to see five ledger lines, four spaces,
and the busy signs of sharps and flats,
his ancient ebony clarinet shaking,
crooked fingers loose on silver keys,
breath blowing too softly to inspire
its aging woodwind mellowness.
Glissando scales soon running slow,
he stops, stunned to realize
he only reads a printed template,
that the balanced, climbing, falling
notes stay static, will not translate,
will no longer send sounds to fingers
or ears, a language dead to him—
one he cannot resurrect
to living music with his breath.
Feeling the swing he always knew,
his mind replays the King’s sweet solo.

.

by Ralph LaRosa

.

.

.

Listen to the 1959 recording of the Andrew Hill Trio playing “Body and Soul” [Warwick]

.

.

Jazz Singer, I

Ms Blossom Dearie
Said to me:
“I never listen to the words,
I think about the harmony.”
That’s me!
In a nutshell, that is me:
The chords, the voicings all I hear.
They read to me,
Lead me to
A what? The song.
Short or long.
What sort of singer I,
Whose musicality is tuned
To improvising on the ‘changes’,
Not concerned at all with words
But rearranging melodies on chords
As if she were a horn.
What’s wrong?
Nothing! As
She is a singer of Le Jazz.
Just that.

.

by Arlene Corwin

.

___

.

She Should Have Named Me Billie

My mother named me after a character
in a movie played by Bette Davis, she changed
her own name from the spelling of Betty
to that of Davis’ not Miles’ Betty, my mother
was born in 1932

She should have named me after Lady Day
having had a deep love for Billie and often
mused she should have named me after her
But my grandmother said Billie was a boy’s
name and the kids would all laugh at me
being named what I was, they laughed
just the same

I consider Billie Holiday’s body of work
a repertoire of the Blues, I feel the pain
of her songs, my mother did too, her
favorite, Good Morning Heartache
that evolved to be my wakeup call

Perhaps I listened to too much Billie
growing up, cause I sure know the
meaning of Billie’s Blues, though it’s
not what I choose, it’s just deep in
my bones, I could never find a man
of my own

.

by Aurora M. Lewis

.

___

.
Owning The Moment

That resonating voice
Fine and mellow on a Friday evening
A time when listening to Lady Day is like playing Carols at Christmas
A Delicatessen of memories born of the moment
Savouring the instance
Cigarettes in harmony with sunset
Billies blues billowing from the swirl
No better time to be in
Everything done
Nothing left for now
Just be yourself for your own sake
God bless the child
That got his own,
That got his own.

.

by Anthony Ward

.

___

.

Someone To Watch Over Me
…………………………..(sung by Ella Fitzgerald)

What happens
when a loved one dies,
after rigor mortis stiffens
his or her muscles,
awaits the next stage of decay?

When life crashes,
will he or she
watch over you?

Papa Social Security
and Momma Medicare
won’t be around much longer,

You’re dying in stages—
chimera job setbacks,
rubber ball rent checks,
health derailments,
and human leeches
pick at your self-worth.

The future is homeless—
you’ll be another “little lamb”
lost in statistics.

But you’re too “old school”
to realize
you’ve reached the age
when no one
will rescue you.

Rigor mortis will come,
stiffen your muscles.
As you decay,
your worries will cease,
“letting go”
without a breath.

.

by Patricia Carragon

.

.

Molly Larson Cook Tune Up

“Tune Up,” by Molly Larson Cook

.

.

The Joint is Jumpin’*

You belly up to the record player,
pull from the stack of LPs Billie, Benny,

Erroll, Fats and Dave. You place them on the center-pin
with care. The first one drops to the turntable.

The stylus lifts from the rest and settles on the black disc.
Music seeps through the pores of the house.

This joint is jumpin’ the piano’s thumpin’
You shed your clothes, except brassiere and panties,

un-closet the vacuum, check its bag and start to clean.
Your feet keep the beat as you swing hose and arms.

Check your weapons at the door… Your breasts
bobble, bottom bounces, legs jitterbug, your partner

sucks dirt as you raise the volume and dust.
Dog, cat and kids hide outside for fear

of being in the way, or worse, put to work.
Sweat wets your shapely silhouette.

The tempo slows. You slide a rag to Billie’s blues.
I don’t know if it’s tears or perspiration on your cheeks.

I watch you whirl-twirl, push-pull, huff-puff, dance and cuss
in Dutch and French. Merde! Zutalor! Quel cochon!

Oh dear wild Mama on the other side of live,
I often dream a dream of you cleaning.

I hope one day to be like you, dress in lingerie or go nude
grab Billie, Benny, Frank and Fats from the internet,

swear and sweep my home at least once a week,
sweat and tears running down my cheeksas I remember you.

.

………..*The Joint is Jumpin’ 1937.  Music written by Fats Waller, lyrics by Andy Razaf, J.C. Johnson.  This version is printed in the 2021 Coming of Age Writing & Art by Kentucky Women Over 60, published by Red Lick Valley Press

.

by Catherine Perkins

.

___

.

Scat, Cat

& she did,
cat-
apulting from
floor to stage
to stool, she
pawed the mic
lovingly &
began yowling
& purring,
her voice
an instrument
improvising
melodies &
rhythms &
sending them
purling through
the smoky dusk
while
Tom trailed behind
with whiskery
brush strokes
sweeping metal
& together
they brought
the house
down.

.

by CJ Muchhala

.

___

.

Down Home Musical Cooking

Tuba Skinny unleashes a bouncing rollicking sound:
cornet, clarinet, trombone, and tuba let sail an ocean
of sound backed by bass, drums, guitar, and washboard

while Erika Lewis wails on vocals, “I Get the Blues,
Sweet Baby.” The outdoor audience hollers their approval —

the whole group got that swing, lets loose everything
in heart and mind. If your feet don’t dance to this music,
they are surely missing from the end of your legs.

These Dixie blues are sassy, wild, free, and make
a morose man smile, shake his body in testimony to life;

it all comes down to time and sound freed from shackles.
All is knitted together by the wailing frail who sets
the stage on fire and draws the audience into the flames.

Down home cooking, there is nothing quite like it,
whether over a stove, or in a bluesy Dixieland jam.

.

………..Previously published in Making My Peace (Cyberwit.net, 2021)

.

by Michael L. Newell

.

___

.
Buerre blanc sauce

Cook shallots in vinegar until transparent
Add a stick of butter slowly one tablespoon at a time,
Whisk gently over low heat
so the sauce does not break;
a dollop of crème fraiche
before straining out the shallots.
The sauce should be like a Miles Davis ballad
lush and lovely, with a bite of acid at its heart.

.

by Robert Miner

.

___

.
Road Song

off on the
jazz journey
route 66
stops along the way
Coltrane
no rain
Bird
heard that song before
now’s the time
detour south for miles
More miles
More

beat builds
drum riff
bass
wail of the sax
straight ahead
last lap
Kingman Barstow
San Bernardino
follow the groove
pickin’ up speed
top down
speakers up
high heeled sneakers
moonbeams

sweet dreams

.

by Molly Larson Cook

.

___

.
Pandemic Jam

The jazz tuba leads the way
to the restaurant shed built
out on to the street to
protect diners from wind rain

and cold, and the jazz tuba
warms things up with le hot jazz,
burping out counterpoint
like a bass, for trumpet sax

trombone and drum or over-
whelming us with a siren solo,
Like Louis tooting “Mack the Knife”
or crooning “What a Wonderful World.”

O that hot jazz tuba!
–raising the blues to new
heights, its throb the heartbeat
of that band playing West Fourth Street.

.

by George Held

.

___

.
A Jazz Drinker

My friend is a Blues singer,
I am a Jazz drinker,
boozing shots after shots,
I never get drunk with Jazz.

She tells me I am greedy,
because Jazz hugs me for the world of humans,
its sounds’ vibration kisses my eardrums,
and makes me dance in rainbow smiles,
like the moon in a starry night.

She tells me I am different,
because Jazz melts the rigid puppet in me,
and turns me into a fluid entity,
eyes ‘lakes that flow creeks of teary joy,
thawing the nagging icicles
in the rivers of my achy fears.

I tell her she is jealous,
like birds that break their chirping,
like forest trees that hold their breaths,
like the ocean that stops folding the waves,
when saxophone talks Jazz.

My friend sings Blues,
in my drink, I keep swinging the tunes,
boozing and cheering for Jazz.
when a rain of Jazzy stars
lands on piano keys.

.

by Ermira Mitre Kokomani

.

 

.

.

Listen to the 1961 recording of Barry Harris playing “I Should Care” [Universal]

.

.
A Day Without Music

How many of these before
unslaked thirst dries mind and soul
irrevocably, leaving victim blind to all
that is worth seeing or doing, unaware
of any idea, creature, or thing that is
moist with hope or belief or love, deaf
to Beethoven’s majesty, Bach and Mozart’s
elegance, Coltrane’s questing heart, Parker
and Gillespie’s wild intelligence, in short,
drained of color, flesh, blood, a shadow drifting
silently past the symphonies of everyday life?

.

by Michael L. Newell

.

___

.

Tribute

a thumb & fore-fingered
nugget pinch rolled round
to a little trim weed ball
fits amply in my small pipe
like I like it to
an applied flame burns through
draws a smoke passage true
so not much is needed
these days for the porcelain bowl
…………………to ashen up
& in doing so today made
my ears twitch
for want of hearing Jimmy Rowles
………………………………………vocalize
“I’m Old Fashioned”
and I don’t mind it

.

by Terrance Underwood

.

___

.
Jersey Bounce

Today I was listening to Doc Severinsen playing
“Jersey Bounce”
And I thought of that long-ago time, before
my time
(and even before the recording)

When couples would dance in
swanky restaurants

And women would wear
shiny dresses
And men would have
baggy suits.

Whatever happened to couples shaking a leg to
live music
like you see in the
old movies

(Her eyes would be like mirrors
to reflect the glow from his own)

And why do we romanticize
the past
when there is so much hope
for tomorrow?

.

by Joel Jacob Todd, Jr.

.

___

.

Implied E

I say, I play a C, there.
He narrows his eyes
and thinks about that for a moment,
then he says, no, no you’ve got to play the E,
the song lives in the E.
But just listen, I say, and I play it again.
Ah, he says, I hear it, I hear how you sing it,
but you can’t imply the E.
He hammers the piano keys.
I strum my guitar and sing.
Tom’s kid, Olive, toddles across the room
in a swirl of dogs. Shelley sings along.
We’re rockin’ and having a fine time.
Then the song is over and we go out back
to smoke and have a few drinks,
and I hang at the edge with the dogs
watching my friends then drift away
out into those dark city streets.
It all dissolves. It was all beautiful.
There was trouble behind it that I carried,
that I know showed in the eyes
or the way a certain note comes through
even if you try to stay true
to the way it’s supposed to be played,
the way I drive right through the wall,
the way I fly through that hole in the head,
singing in the key of C
that sounds if you really listen
like the ocean wave tanker chains
fog horn and train whistle morning
you wake up and find I’m gone.

.

by Douglas Cole

.

___

.

Listening To Angels

pain of his
soul
welled up thick
in his eyes

piano keys
drowned under his
fingers
while his feet lifted
then dropped
onto pedals
pearl smooth,
honey sweet
as he gazed
toward
heaven,
speaking with
angels
as walked
in the sway
of jazz

.

by Roger Singer

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_____

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Click here to read the artist and poet’s biographies

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Click here to read the summer 2021 collection of jazz poetry

Click here read a 2021 poetry collection – inspired by Miles Davis

Click here to read the winter 2021 collection of jazz poetry

Click here to read the autumn 2020 collection of jazz poetry

Click here to read “Under Quarantine” — COVID-era poetry of Erren Kelly

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Click here  for information about how to submit your poetry

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5 comments on “A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Fall/Winter, 2021-22 Edition”

  1. Michael Newell, I was caught up in the moment of “Better Days” and found the philosophical “A Day Without Music” so true. Good poetry!

    Catherine Perkins, I loved “The Joint is Jumping”! You made us see it!

    C.J. Muchhala, I saw that cat from start to finish!

    Too many other good ones to mention them all.

  2. The poet Arlene Corwin, whose work appears in this collection, offers this poem as an appreciation for the poetic talent found in it.

    JJM

    Jazz Reactions in Verse

    Compliments to those hip poets who spend time,
    The metered rhyme,
    To write a verse
    Both masterly and first-first class
    About the blessings
    Of both past and modern jazz.

    There are no words for all those nerds
    Whose innermost reactions, imperfections, non-corrections,
    Fascinations notwithstanding,
    Are the real devoted fans.
    Of Jazz, to which they can be found
    To listen with their unbound ears,
    Hearing its uniqueness.

    Moved and soothed,
    Hearts delighted, minds excited…
    As I said, no way to touch, do justice to
    The spontaneity that makes a god of Jazz United .
    Base thoughts left behind, bass the gladdest find.

    Originality that used to be the ’Swing and sway to Sammy Kaye’
    If I could choose, compose an art form in perfusion
    I might choose blues and swing,
    To be suffused with.
    Or the cool jazz of the 40’s, 50’s,
    Dizzy, Parker, nifty Sarah and Torme.
    (That’s just me!))
    All with gifts that made for jazz that ever stands
    Grand and wearable,
    Hearable as ever was.

    Honor to the jazzy Shakespeares.
    To be the ones revered most humbly,
    Needless to say and not to be undone,
    Obviously, I am one.

  3. I just lu-uved this collection! the Poetry great, the substance even greater!

    One tiny wish for all poets: leave the form as simple and readable as possible. It’s not any less poetic for that.

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In This Issue

"Nina" by Marsha Hammel
A Collection of Jazz Poetry — Winter, 2024 Edition...One-third of the Winter, 2024 collection of jazz poetry is made up of poets who have only come to my attention since the publication of the Summer, 2023 collection. What this says about jazz music and jazz poetry – and this community – is that the connection between the two art forms is inspirational and enduring, and that poets are finding a place for their voice within the pages of this website. (Featuring the art of Marsha Hammel)

The Sunday Poem

The cover to Nina Simone's 1967 album "SIlk and Soul"
“Brown Girl” by Jerrice J. Baptiste

Click here to read previous editions of The Sunday Poem

Poetry

Proceeding From Behind: A collection of poems grounded in the rhythmic, relating to the remarkable, by Terrance Underwood...A relaxed, familiar comfort emerges from the poet Terrance Underwood’s language of intellectual acuity, wit, and space – a feeling similar to one gets while listening to Monk, or Jamal, or Miles. I have long wanted to share his gifts as a poet on an expanded platform, and this 33-poem collection – woven among his audio readings, music he considers significant to his story, and brief personal comments – fulfills my desire to do so.

Publisher’s Notes

photo by Rhonda Dorsett
A very brief three-dot update…Where I’ve been, and an update on what is coming up on Jerry Jazz Musician

Interview

Michael Cuscuna in 1972
From the Interview Archive: Jazz Producer, Discographer, and Entrepreneur Michael Cuscuna...Few music industry executives have had as meaningful an impact on jazz music as Michael Cuscuna, who passed away on April 20 at the age of 75. I had the privilege of interacting with Michael several times over the years, including this wide-ranging 2019 interview I conducted with him. His energy and vision was deeply admired within the jazz world. May his spirit for the music and its culture continue to impact those of us who remain.

Poetry

Photographer uncredited, but the photo was almost certainly taken by Chuck Stewart. Published by ABC/Impulse! Records.. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
“And I’m Not Even Here” – a poem by Connie Johnson

Click here to read more poetry published on Jerry Jazz Musician

Essay

"Lester Leaps In" by Tad Richards
"Jazz and American Poetry," an essay by Tad Richards...In an essay that first appeared in the Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Poetry in 2005, Tad Richards - a prolific visual artist, poet, novelist, and nonfiction writer who has been active for over four decades – writes about the history of the connection of jazz and American poetry.

Interview

photo of Pepper Adams/courtesy of Pepper Adams Estate
Interview with Gary Carner, author of Pepper Adams: Saxophone Trailblazer...The author speaks with Bob Hecht about his book and his decades-long dedication to the genius of Pepper Adams, the stellar baritone saxophonist whose hard-swinging bebop style inspired many of the top-tier modern baritone players.

Click here to read more interviews published on Jerry Jazz Musician

Poetry

Three poets and Sketches of Spain

Trading Fours with Douglas Cole

The cover of Wayne Shorter's 2018 Blue Note album "Emanon"
Trading Fours, with Douglas Cole, No. 20: “Notes on Genius...This edition of the writer’s poetic interpretations of jazz recordings and film is written in response to the music of Wayne Shorter.

Click here to read previous editions of Trading Fours with Douglas Cole

Review

Jason Innocent, on “3”, Abdullah Ibrahim’s latest album... Album reviews are rarely published on Jerry Jazz Musician, but Jason Innocent’s experience with the pianist Abdullah Ibrahim’s new recording captures the essence of this artist’s creative brilliance.

Short Fiction

Christerajet, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Short Fiction Contest-winning story #64 — “The Old Casino” by J.B. Marlow...The author's award-winning story takes place over the course of a young man's life, looking at all the women he's loved and how the presence of a derelict building informs those relationships.

Click here to read more short fiction published on Jerry Jazz Musician

Book Excerpt

Book excerpt from Jazz with a Beat: Small Group Swing 1940 – 1960, by Tad Richards

Click here to read more book excerpts published on Jerry Jazz Musician

Poetry

"Jazz Trio" by Samuel Dixon
A collection of jazz haiku, Vol. 2...The 19 poets included in this collection effectively share their reverence for jazz music and its culture with passion and brevity.

Jazz History Quiz #171

Dick Cavett/via Wikimedia Commons
In addition to being one of the greatest musicians of his generation, this Ohio native was an activist, leading “Jazz and People’s Movement,” a group formed in the late 1960’s who “adopted the tactic of interrupting tapings and broadcasts of television and radio programs (i.e. the shows of Johnny Carson, Dick Cavett [pictured] and Merv Griffin) in protest of the small number of Black musicians employed by networks and recording studios.” Who was he?

Click here to visit the Jazz History Quiz archive

Community

photo via Picryl.com
.“Community Bookshelf, #2"...a twice-yearly space where writers who have been published on Jerry Jazz Musician can share news about their recently authored books. This edition includes information about books published within the last six months or so…

Contributing Writers

Click the image to view the writers, poets and artists whose work has been published on Jerry Jazz Musician, and find links to their work

Coming Soon

An interview with Tad Richards, author of Jazz With a Beat: Small Group Swing, 1940 - 1960;  an interview with Laura Flam and Emily Sieu Liebowitz, authors of But Will You Love Me Tomorrow? An Oral History of the 60's Girl Groups;  a new collection of jazz poetry; a collection of jazz haiku; a new Jazz History Quiz; short fiction; poetry; photography; interviews; playlists; and lots more in the works...

Interview Archive

Eubie Blake
Click to view the complete 22 year archive of Jerry Jazz Musician interviews, including those recently published with Richard Carlin and Ken Bloom on Eubie Blake (pictured); Richard Brent Turner on jazz and Islam; Alyn Shipton on the art of jazz; Shawn Levy on the original queens of standup comedy; Travis Atria on the expatriate trumpeter Arthur Briggs; Kitt Shapiro on her life with her mother, Eartha Kitt; Will Friedwald on Nat King Cole; Wayne Enstice on the drummer Dottie Dodgion; the drummer Joe La Barbera on Bill Evans; Philip Clark on Dave Brubeck; Nicholas Buccola on James Baldwin and William F. Buckley; Ricky Riccardi on Louis Armstrong; Dan Morgenstern and Christian Sands on Erroll Garner; Maria Golia on Ornette Coleman.

Site Archive