Paying homage to vinyl record albums — in three poems

December 8th, 2021

.

.

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress

Commodore Record Shop photo by William Gottlieb

Milt Gabler, Herbie Hill, Lou Blum, and Jack Crystal, Commodore Record Shop, New York, N.Y., ca. Aug. 1947

.

.

___

.

.

.Abandoned But Not Forgotten

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
Clark Terry, Dizzy Gillespie, Freddie
Hubbard, Oscar Peterson, Joe Pass,
Ray Brown, and Bobby Durham.
The album contained two (or maybe
three, I don’t remember) LPs
that I played for years until I moved
abroad and gave the album away.
The store had a wonderful selection
of jazz, but closed within the year
which I found heartbreaking.

In Tallinn, Estonia, I was walking
down city streets in the middle
of a blinding snowstorm, stepped
into a small building that had several
small businesses in it, in order
to figure out where I was and how
to get back home, and found I was
standing next to a record shop
that carried new and used CDs,
all of which were jazz. I left there
with albums by Lee Morgan, Miles Davis
(from his later years), “A Love Supreme,”
“My Favorite Things,” “Tokyo Blues,”
Milt Jackson, Sun Ra, and half a dozen
other albums. Over the next six months,
I returned there every couple of weeks.
Who would have thought such a shop
would be in the middle of a small building
in Estonia, and that I would find it in the middle
of a Sunday snowstorm? The old guy running
the shop knew more about jazz than most
musicians, and always seemed to have
whatever I (or anyone else) was searching for.

There was a little cassette tape shop in Abu Dhabi
that sold rip off copies of rock, jazz, blues, reggae,
classical, bluegrass, Celtic, and American folk music.
Such rip off shops were common throughout Abu Dhabi
in 1992, but this was the only place that seemed to have
whatever music one might desire. The little Syrian
proprietor seemed to be familiar with, and able to discuss,
virtually any type of music, and do so in Arabic, English,
French, Spanish, German, and Italian. He gave new meaning
to music being a universal language. He loved Jimi Hendrix,
Shania Twain, The Chieftains, Doc Watson, Bob Dylan,
Mozart, Bach, autoharp music, Bob Marley, Leadbelly,
and a host of other disparate musical artists.
In the not so distant past, there were such shops in London,
Los Angeles, Tallinn, Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Portland, Kuwait City,
and other cities in other countries around the world. Most of them
have faded into time, like a Bill Evans solo, or the final notes
sung of a Woody Guthrie song by Cisco Houston. Time swallows all.
Yet there are a few of us who still remember, and as long as
we remember, the musicians and record shops will hang in the air,
a slowly dissipating mist containing whispers of what once was
in the wisps of times past that ferry lost notes, fading voices,
and dreams of an unachievable future that wrap us round
in a quietly joyous melancholy that warms and elicits tears.

.

by Michael L. Newell

.

___

.

Vinyl

When I moved into this new apartment, this new city,
………………10 years ago to the day,
A primary task was to alphabetize my vinyl.
………………I’d collected since the 70’s,
Even before., I’d owned a couple of Beatles or Beach Boys
………………dating from the 60’s’, but the
First Dizzy album I’d heard was an old Everest reissue,
………………sessions from ’45 & ‘46,

Pure frantic bebop, Blue ‘N’ Boogie, Dizzy Atmosphere,
………………All the Things You Are…
Didn’t need to understand, it resonated,
………………from the ears to the gut to the spirit, in
Ways never heard before. Murray Shipinsky humming into his bass,
………………like Slam Stewart & Major Holley would do later,
& Slim & Slam were the coolest, the voutiest,
………………even noted by Kerouac, in On the Road.

I’d lost the order of the records a while ago,
………………and since there’s so much music available,
I need now to make the time for my 1200+ vinyl.
………………Now I pick albums at random, still know the lyrics to Déjà Vu,
Still have the guilty pleasure of Manilow, but sometimes there are Gems:
………………Ella & Basie, the remarkable April in Paris, “one more once,”
Scatting with Joe, the classic ’56 Band.. Blue Notes from ’57, Dizzy Pablos
………………from ’79, live albums of concerts I’d heard…So much great jazz

I’m scheduled for the Jazz Cruise in January, oceans of jazz awaiting;
………………but I’ve got my vinyl, my personal musical history;
Piles of hidden treasures, especially aware of the so many who’ve passed;
………………the music at my fingertips. Classic American music: jazz.

.

By Phil Linz 

.

___

.

Blog Project

Hank Williams and Liberace
Swam all week in the back of my car
In the plastic avalanche
That flowed down
…..From the back seat
To the cargo door
Along with The Best of Bread
…..Which soundtracks Ernie’s personal
On the road tale
and, a few jazz jewels

It’s hard not to imagine
A blog project
Out of this mass of ancient vinyl

Old LPs- scraped, moldy,
Coverless at times-

Given to me as a belated birthday gift

The earliest rescued gem-
A clean copy of Sgt. Pepper
…..Cut outs insert intact
“After all these years”

And, possibly
A few salvageable Emmy Lou Harris’s

Among the detritus
Of someone else’s attachment
To Long Players
That were about to be commissioned
To the local transfer station, at best
Instead bear testimony

That every album cover
Tells a story

Don’t it?

.

.

_____

.

.
Michael L. Newell has had six books published in the past three years: Meditation of an Old Man Standing on a Bridge; Each Step a Discovery; Wandering; Diddley-Bop-She-Bop; Making My Peace; and The Harry Poems (newly published). He currently lives in Florida.

.

.

___

.

.

Phil Linz was born in Brooklyn, NY and has lived in several cities across the United States. He began writing poetry in 1971 and is founder and publisher of Fierce Grace Press, which specializes in chapbooks, believing in the concept of “Publishing Under the Radar.”.His new book, The Chapbooks: Collected Poems, is available on AmazonHe currently lives in Wilmington, DE, and can be reached at [email protected].

.

.

___

.

.

photo by Alice Mello

Jim Mello is a counselor and clinical supervisor in the substance use disorder field. He’s also a part time clergy person, and has taught in the University of Maine system as an adjunct professor. Besides People, .his passion is music and he.became a poet by default. He has three books published, two by Moon Pie Press, and one self-published.

.

.

Listen to the 1960 recording of King Pleasure performing “Golden Days” [Hi Fi/Everest]

.

.

.

Share this:

One comments on “Paying homage to vinyl record albums — in three poems”

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

photo via RawPixel.com
“Style” by Laurie Kuntz

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.

Black History

The Harlem Globetrotters/photo via Wikimedia Commons
A Black History Month Profile: The Harlem Globetrotters...In this 2005 interview, Ben Green, author of Spinning the Globe: The Rise, Fall, and Return to Greatness of the Harlem Globetrotters, discusses the complex history of the celebrated Black touring basketball team.

Black History

photo of Zora Neale Hurston by Carl Van Vechten/Library of Congress
A Black History Month Profile: Zora Neale Hurston...In a 2002 interview, Carla Kaplan, editor of Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters, talks about the novelist, anthropologist, playwright, folklorist, essayist and poet

Black History

Eubie Blake
A Black History Month Profile – Pianist and composer Eubie Blake...In this 2021 Jerry Jazz Musician interview, Eubie Blake biographers Ken Bloom and Richard Carlin discuss the legendary composer of American popular song and jazz during the 20th century

Feature

Jamie Branch's 2023 album "Fly or Die Fly or Die Fly or Die ((world war))"
On the Turntable— The “Best Of the ‘Best Of’” in 2023 jazz recordings...A year-end compilation of jazz albums oft mentioned by a wide range of critics as being the best of 2023 - including the late trumpeter Jamie Branch's Fly or Die Fly or Die Fly or Die ((world war))

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.

Interview

IISG, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Interview with Judith Tick, author of Becoming Ella Fitzgerald: The Jazz Singer Who Transformed American Song...The author discusses her book, a rich, emotionally stirring, exceptional work that explores every element of Ella’s legacy in great depth, reminding readers that she was not only a great singing artist, but also a musical visionary and social activist.

Poetry

Trading Fours with Douglas Cole is an occasional series of the writer’s poetic interpretations of jazz recordings and film. This edition is influenced by Stillpoint, the 2021 album by Zen practitioner Barrett Martin

Playlist

“Latin Tinges in Modern Jazz” – a playlist by Bob Hecht...A nine-hour long Spotify playlist featuring songs by the likes of Horace Silver, Lee Morgan, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Ahmad Jamal, and Dizzy Gillespie that demonstrates how the Latin music influence on jazz has been present since the music’s beginnings.

Poetry

[Columbia Legacy]
“On Becoming A Jazz Fanatic In The Early 1970’s” – 20 linked short poems by Daniel Brown

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.

Feature

George Shearing/Associated Booking Corporation/James Kriegsmann, New York, via Wikimedia Commons
True Jazz Stories: “An Evening With George,” by Terry Sanville...The writer tells his story of playing guitar with a symphony orchestra, backing up jazz legend George Shearing.

Short Fiction

Defense Visual Information Distribution Service/via Picryl.com
“Afloat” – a finalist in the 64th Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest – is about a troubled man in his 40s who lessens his worries by envisioning himself and loved ones on a boat that provides safety and ease for all of them.

Poetry

The poet Connie Johnson in 1981
In a Place of Dreams: Connie Johnson’s album of jazz poetry, music, and life stories...A collection of the remarkable poet's work is woven among her audio readings, a personal narrative of her journey and music she considers significant to it, providing readers the chance to experience the full value of her gifts.

Book Excerpt

Book Excerpt from Becoming Ella Fitzgerald: The Jazz Singer Who Transformed American Song, by Judith Tick...The author writes about highlights of Ella’s career, and how the significance of her Song Book recordings is an example of her “becoming” Ella.

Community

Nominations for the Pushcart Prize XLVIII

Interview

photo courtesy of Henry Threadgill
Interview with Brent Hayes Edwards, co-author (with Henry Threadgill) of Easily Slip Into Another World: A Life in Music...The author discusses his work co-written with Threadgill, the composer and multi-instrumentalist widely recognized as one of the most original and innovative voices in contemporary music, and the winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Music.

Poetry

art by Russell duPont
Three jazz poets…three jazz poems...Takes on love and loss, and memories of Lady Day, Prez, Ella, Louis, Dolphy and others…

Playlist

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
“A Baker’s Dozen Playlist of Ella Fitzgerald Specialties from Five Decades,” as selected by Ella biographer Judith Tick...Chosen from Ella’s entire repertoire, Ms. Tick’s intriguing playlist (with brief commentary) is a mix of studio recordings, live dates, and video, all available for listening here.

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 #169

This trumpeter was in the 1932 car accident that took the life of famed clarinetist/saxophonist Frankie Techemacher (pictured), and is best remembered for his work with Eddie Condon’s bands. Who was he?

Interview

From the Interview Archive: A 2011 conversation with Alyn Shipton, author of Hi-De-Ho: The Life of Cab Calloway...In this interview, Shipton discusses Cab Calloway, whose vocal theatrics and flamboyant stage presence made him one of the country’s most beloved entertainers.

Community

Nominations for the Pushcart Prize XLVIII...announcing the six Jerry Jazz Musician-published writers nominated for the prestigious literary award

Poetry

Gotfryd, Bernard, photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
“Devotion” – a poem and 11 “Musings on Monk,” by Connie Johnson

Photography

photo of Mal Waldron by Giovanni Piesco
Beginning in 1990, the noted photographer Giovanni Piesco began taking backstage photographs of many of the great musicians who played in Amsterdam’s Bimhuis, that city’s main jazz venue which is considered one of the finest in the world. Jerry Jazz Musician will occasionally publish portraits of jazz musicians that Giovanni has taken over the years. This edition is of the pianist/composer Mal Waldron, taken on three separate appearances at Bimhuis (1996, 2000 and 2001).

Interview

Leffler, Warren K/Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
A Black History Month Profile: Civil Rights Leader Bayard Rustin...

Community

FOTO:FORTEPAN / Kölcsey Ferenc Dunakeszi Városi Könyvtár / Petanovics fényképek, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
.“Community Bookshelf, #1"...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…

Short Fiction

photo by Pedro Coelho/Deviant Art/CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 DEED
“After The Death of Margaret: A True Novella” by S. Stephanie...This story -- a finalist in our recently concluded 64th Short Fiction Contest -- harkens back to Richard Brautigan's fiction of the '70s, and explores modern day co-worker relationships/friendship and the politics of for profit "Universities"

Short Fiction

painting of Gaetano Donizetti by Francesco Coghetti/via Wikimedia Commons
“A Single Furtive Tear” – a short story by Dora Emma Esze...A short-listed entry in the recently concluded 64th Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest, the story is a heartfelt, grateful monologue to one Italian composer, dead and immortal of course, whose oeuvre means so much to so many of us.

Interview

photo by William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
Interview with Alyn Shipton, author of The Gerry Mulligan 1950’s Quartets...Long regarded as jazz music’s most eminent baritone saxophonist, Gerry Mulligan was a central figure in “cool” jazz whose contributions to it also included his important work as a composer and arranger. Noted jazz scholar Alyn Shipton, author of The Gerry Mulligan 1950s Quartets, and Jerry Jazz Musician contributing writer Bob Hecht discuss Mulligan’s unique contributions to modern jazz.

Book Excerpt

“Chick” Webb was one of the first virtuoso drummers in jazz and an innovative bandleader dubbed the “Savoy King,” who reigned at Harlem’s world-famous Savoy Ballroom. Stephanie Stein Crease is the first to fully tell Webb’s story in her biography, Rhythm Man: Chick Webb and the Beat that Changed America…The book’s entire introduction is excerpted here.

Short Fiction

pixabay.com via Picryl.com
“The Silent Type,” a short story by Tom Funk...The story, a finalist in the recently concluded 64th Short Fiction Contest, is inspired by the classic Bob Dylan song “Tangled Up in Blue” which speculates about what might have been the back story to the song.

Book Excerpt

Book excerpt from Easily Slip Into Another World: A Life in Music, by Henry Threadgill and Brent Hayes Edwards

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

Art

Designed for Dancing: How Midcentury Records Taught America to Dance: “Outtakes” — Vol. 2...In this edition, the authors Janet Borgerson and Jonathan Schroeder share examples of Cha Cha Cha record album covers that didn't make the final cut in their book

Pressed for All Time

“Pressed For All Time,” Vol. 17 — producer Joel Dorn on Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s 1967 album, The Inflated Tear

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