Three jazz poets…three jazz poems

January 10th, 2024

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“Caravan” by Russell duPont

art by Russell duPont

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Lady Day And Prez

At the bar of the
Towne Tavern, once
Toronto’s finest jazz club,
stage facing me,
sipping my one beer,
knowing even then
in my twenty-third year
I was witness to
a never forgotten gig.

Lady Day, gardenia in your hair,
every note you sang
rang out with blues and
rhythm of your battered
and celebrated life.
And you Prez,
pork pie hat and sax
wandered the room
blowing sounds that
resonated into memory

I knew from all I read
that you were both
wasted from years of
booze and drugs
facing death within a year,
though you’re both alive
in my dim lit past.

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by Henry Wolstat

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Respite

I’m happy to leave the perfection
of 24-Bit sound behind
for a while, shut out the world
and those staunch words
that fit the pictures in my mind
of a friend’s annihilation
and the devastation of this void
in my life – and just take Ella
and Louis with me
into the kitchen singing Dream
a Little Dream of Me on the most
primitive of speakers, and work
on those simplest of pancakes,
the ones with the banana
and the eggs and the coconut
and the buckwheat flour blended
into one thick mass that rises
slowly on the hot skillet, turning
a familiar friendly golden
brown, and once in my mouth,
with a helping of maple syrup
and apple sauce, lends
the moment a modicum of wonder,
pluck, maybe even gentle serenity.

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by Francis Fernandes

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Warm Canto 
……….for Emily

She reminded me of you,
sitting there in front of
the coffeeshop—a bit taller,
maybe a bit older—still,
composed, a small spark
in the deep blue eyes,
gazing straight ahead
at a point somewhere between
my left shoulder and one hundred
miles away.

I hadn’t thought of you
for months but your face appeared
now, looking down, half-smiling
and slightly sideways, your eyes shy
with just a glint of élan. Suddenly
the street noise diminished.
Dolphy’s clarinet notes floated
gently above Waldron’s light-
stepped fingerings in the air
behind my head.

You slipped away abruptly,
emailing goodbye. I had
no hold on you, neither
father nor lover, but you left
a little fissure in my chest
which throbs occasionally
when I see or hear something
that reminds me of you like
now as I tried not to stare,
still hearing Waldron now
in step with Ron Carter’s
fingers plucking their way
down the cello’s neck.

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by Gregory Luce

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Listen to the 1962 recording of pianist Mal Waldron playing his composition “Warm Canto,” featuring Eric Dolphy (clarinet); Ron Carter (bass); and Charlie Persip (drums).  [Universal Music Group]

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Russell duPont is an artist and an author whose artwork is included in a number of public and private collections. He has published three novels, King & Train , Waiting for the Turk and Movin’ On, the sequel to King & Train; two books of poetry; and two non-fiction chapbooks. His essay, “The Corner,” is included in the anthology Streets of Echoes. His work has been published in various newspapers and literary magazines. He was the founder & publisher of the literary magazine, the albatross.

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Francis Fernandes grew up and studied in Montréal, Canada. Since spring 2020, his writing has appeared in over twenty literary journals, including Modern Poetry Quarterly Review, Saint Katherine Review, The Orchards Poetry Journal, Third Wednesday. He lives in Frankfurt, Germany, where he writes and teaches.

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Gregory Luce, author of Signs of Small Grace, Drinking Weather, Memory and Desire, Tile, and Riffs & Improvisations, has published widely in print and online. He is the 2014 Larry Neal Award winner for adult poetry, given by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. In addition to poetry, he writes a monthly column on the arts for Scene4 magazine. He is retired from National Geographic, works as a volunteer writing tutor/mentor for 826DC, and lives in Arlington, VA.

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Henry Wolstat is a retired psychiatrist in his late 80’s living in the greater Boston area with his wife. He is the author of a poetry book, Driftwood, and he has also been published in printed and online anthologies. He is passionate about running, the arts, and poetry.

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Click here to read The Sunday Poem

Click here to read “A Collection of Jazz Poetry – Summer, 2023 Edition”

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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

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"The Lady Sings" - by Michael Keshigian

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Interview

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Book Excerpt

An excerpt from Emily Jon Tobias’ MONARCH: Stories, and a reflection on our friendship

Art

photo of Archie Shepp by Giovanni Piesco
The Photographs of Giovanni Piesco: Archie Shepp...photos of the legendary saxophonist (and his rhythm section for the evening), taken at Amsterdam's Bimhuis on May 13, 2001.

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The cover to Joni Mitchell's 1976 album Hejira [Asylum]; photo by Norman Seeff
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Calling All Poets!

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

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Interview

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?”

Playlist

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Feature

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In Memoriam

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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.”

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.“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

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Coming Soon

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Interview Archive

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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.

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