The Sunday Poem: “Back to Jazz” by Arlene Corwin

April 9th, 2023

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The Sunday Poem  is published weekly, and strives to include the poet reading their work.

Ms. Corwin reads her poem at its conclusion.

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Dave Frishberg’s 1991 album, Classics [Universal Music Group]

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Back To Jazz

One of my ‘bästisar’*
As said in Swedish,
(Though he wrote the best of English),
Dear Dave Frishberg, ’33 to ’21.
Dave, dear Dave was hip, was fun.
Played like a dream, loved cannabis,
Dave-non-conformist.
Lyrics novel, fresh, original…
Unusual and cynical:

On every gig I’ve ever done
I’ve played and sang a Frishberg song.
Proud to have hand-written drafts,
Two books of songs with dedications,
Dazzling genius Dave creations.

How I wish we’d stayed in touch.
When we were young he courted me,
And when it fell he told me
That he’d torn up all the tunes writ’ for me.
Ever to be tragedy,
Missing out on love songs, satire, comedy…

What voicings, harmonies!
Arpeggiated speed and ease
What playing! An arpeggiated not-to-say,
A master’s complicated breeze.

That scratchy quirky perfect pitch.
Myself, I itch, I’d die to have such
Discipline –
Be a kind of music twin.

All I can do is honor you,
Continue singing Frishberg tunes;
Your hymns to jazz,
Anthems just as grand in inner
As the national Star Spangled Banner.
(he’d have hated this).

Happy birthday David dear.
Your music lives right now, right near,
In ear, in hearts, in hands, right here!

*bästisar; best friends

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Listen to Arlene Corwin read her poem

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Brooklyn-born Arlene Corwin, now in her late 80’s, is a harpist, pianist and singer – a jazz musician forever. She earned her BA at Hofstra Univ. She has published 19 poetry books. In the 1950s her mother owned a jazz club in Hempstead, Long Island with Slim Gaillard. She currently lives in Sweden.

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Listen to Dave Frishberg perform “You Are There,” a composition he co-wrote with Johnny Mandel [Universal Music Group]

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Click here  to view previous editions of The Sunday Poem

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Click here  for information about how to submit your poetry

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Click here  to help support the ongoing, commercial-free publication of  Jerry Jazz Musician  (thank you!)

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One comments on “The Sunday Poem: “Back to Jazz” by Arlene Corwin”

  1. Arlene, I can’t begin to tell you how much I love your poem. Although I hadn’t listened to him in awhile I have been a fan of his and Dorough and Dearie. I only recently found he’d died so I’ve been playing my LP’s and Cd’s as a tribute. By the way my wife has relatives in Sweden and we’ve loved visiting.

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In This Issue

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