“Art School” — a poem by John L. Stanizzi

May 31st, 2022




photo Heinrich Klaffs/CC-BY SA 2.0/Wikimedia Commons

photo by Heinrich Klaffs/via Wikimedia Commons

Art Blakey, 1973



Art School

-Jazz is known all over the world as an
American musical art form and that’s it.
No American, no jazz. I’ve seen people
try to connect it to other countries, for
instance to Africa, but it doesn’t have
a damn thing to do with Africa.
-Art Blakey

The Jazz Messengers were a jazz combo that existed
for over thirty-five years beginning in the early 1950s
as a collective, and ending when long-time leader
and founding drummer Art Blakey died in 1990.
Blakey led or co-led the group from the outset.
“Art Blakey” and “Jazz Messengers” became
synonymous over the years. –Wikipedia


Four-hundred-plus albums were released from Art School.
Sonny Rollins and Sonny Stitt came from Art School.

Fertile breeding ground – even Thelonious went.
More than 200 cats were alum from Art School.

Art was foster son of Seventh Day Adventists.
He played piano long before drums from Art’s School.

But there’s that recurring and terrifying tale
of Bu, a gun, the need for freedom from Art School.

In Pittsburgh the Democratic Club’s owner threw
Bu off piano! Said, You play drums from Art School.

Art’s being usurped from piano was a gift.
Erroll Garner played keyboard. No bums from Art School.

This disappointment for Art became a blessing,
launching stars over sixty-years firm from Art School.

Snare was spouse of the cymbal and Art was best man.
Sticks escorted pedal – jazz was birthed from Art School.

Terence Blanchard became Wynton’s understudy,
and Percy Heath hugged that huge ax, strummed for Art School.

Does each line whisper to you, “You need to to cut it.”
I thought not. Play them scales. No glumness from Art School.

Still need a trumpet player? You got Lee Morgan.
Curly Russell, Paul Chambers – bass – played from Art School.

The University of Art Blakey was huge.
Close to 250 cats come from Art School.

Art said, “Yes sir, I’m gonna stay with the youngsters.”
Thirty-five years, great young players came from Art School.







John L. Stanizzi has authored Ecstasy Among Ghosts, Sleepwalking, Dance Against the Wall, After the Bell, Hallelujah Time!, High Tide – Ebb Tide, Four Bits, Chants, Sundowning, and POND. Besides Jerry Jazz Musician, John’s poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Cortland Review, American Life in Poetry, and others. He’s been translated into Italian and appeared widely in Italy. He’s had nonfiction in Stone Coast Review, Ovunque Siamo, Literature and Belief, and others. John lives with his wife, Carol, in Connecticut.



Listen to the 1958 recording of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers playing Benny Golson’s composition “Along Came Betty,” with Blakey (drums), Golson (tenor saxophone), Jymie Merritt (bass), Bobby Timmons (piano), and Lee Morgan (trumpet) [Universal Music Group]







Click here to learn how to submit your poetry

Click here for information about how to subscribe to the Jerry Jazz Musician newsletter





Share this:

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

Miles Davis "'Round About Midnight" (1957/Columbia Records)
“You Never Forget Your First” – by Brian Kates

Click here to read previous editions of The Sunday Poem


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.


The Marvelettes/via Wikimedia Commons
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...Little is known of the lives and challenges many of the young Black women who made up the Girl Groups of the ‘60’s faced while performing during an era rife with racism, sexism, and music industry corruption. The authors discuss their book’s mission to provide the artists an opportunity to voice their experiences so crucial to the evolution of popular music.

Calling All Poets!

News about a Jerry Jazz Musician printed jazz poetry anthology, and information about submitting your poetry for consideration

Short Fiction

Short Fiction Contest-winning story #65 — “Ballad” by Lúcia Leão...The author’s award-winning story is about the power of connections – between father and child, music and art, and the past, present and future.

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


photo of Louis Jordan by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
Interview with Tad Richards, author of Jazz With a Beat: Small Group Swing, 1940 – 1960...Richards makes the case that small group swing players like Illinois Jacquet, Louis Jordan (pictured) and Big Jay McNeely played a legitimate jazz that was a more pleasing listening experience to the Black community than the bebop of Parker, Dizzy, and Monk. It is a fascinating era, filled with major figures and events, and centered on a rigorous debate that continues to this day – is small group swing “real jazz?”


Sonny Rollins' 1957 pianoless trio recording "Way Out West"
“The Pianoless Tradition in Modern Jazz” – a playlist by Bob Hecht...an extensive playlist built around examples of prominent pianoless modern jazz.


Excerpts from David Rife’s Jazz Fiction: Take Two – (Vol. 1)...A substantial number of novels and stories with jazz music as a component of the story have been published over the years, and the scholar David J. Rife has written short essay/reviews of them.  In this initial edition featuring his story essays/reviews, Rife writes about three novels that explore challenges of the mother/daughter relationship.

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

In Memoriam

Hans Bernhard (Schnobby), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
“Remembering Joe Pass: Versatile Jazz Guitar Virtuoso” – by Kenneth Parsons...On the 30th anniversary of the guitarist Joe Pass’ death, Kenneth Parsons reminds readers of his brilliant career

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


painting by Vaino Kunnas
Jazz…in eight poems...A myriad of styles and experiences displayed in eight thoughtful, provocative poems…

Jazz History Quiz #172

photo of Teddy Wilson by William Gottlieb
Teddy Wilson once said this about a fellow jazz pianist:

“That man had the most phenomenal musical gifts I’ve ever heard. He was miraculous. It’s like someone hitting a home run every time he picks up a bat. We became such fast friends that I was allowed to interrupt him anytime he was playing at the house parties in Toledo we used to make every night. When I asked him, he would stop and replay a passage very slowly, showing me the fingering on some of those runs of his. You just couldn’t figure them out by ear at the tempo he played them.”

Who is the pianist he is describing?


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

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