Three poems about three pianists

February 12th, 2022

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"The Piano," by Samuel Dixon

“The Piano,” by Samuel Dixon

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A Big Pile Of Junk

Tristano said,
“Let thought come through
All your ten fingers”
(Or whatever number you must use
To play the blues
Or any tune:
“How High The Moon” or Gershwin’s “Soon”…)
Your thought a boon
If it’s spontaneous, impromptu.
Corwin says the same thing too.

Not filled with an emotive ardor
But the charter of the instinct
And the intuition.
Be as one.

Let musicianship
Take lead, and lead your music
To your still unripe;
No comic gimmick or alchemic hype.
Your hippest self will be your type,
Reveal all your inner hope and razzmatazz.
We’ll call it jazz
Because
That is what true jazz is.

Tristano
Called his own piano
Nothing but ‘a pile of junk’
To be transformed by Monk,
Or anyone whose inmost mind
Uses the utmost verve to find
That inner passion,
Do what’s bidden, always hidden
In the inner sanctum of the shrine
We all call talent.

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by Arlene Corwin

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Remembering John Hicks

hands do talk
to me they do
& after shaking his
some years back
clasping those long digits
expecting ivory key smoothness
I was stopped short by
their cement block
& long handle roughness
a callous
………….startling
…………………….expectation
………………………………perhaps
………….Wait!
when put to true purpose
skin felt impressions are
quickly disabused by
“A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing”
hands now heard floral
are next heard subtle
like a stroll over a “Chelsea Bridge”
purpose permeated to the bone
The events still play
across time
from that handshake

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by Terrance Underwood
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Daybreak

and i watch the snow falling
from my bedroom window
i can see it as
angel feathers raining
down or
god’s dandruff
it’s all how you look at
it, they say

a bus rolls down the
street
as monk makes music
out of math
he tinkles the piano
keys
and unlocks the secret
of god
but god is no
mystery
he is as obvious
as the old people
i see
who are walking history
books

pain is just god’s way
of telling me “respect
who i am”

but sunlight holds redemption
as a song spells
grace
i can’t wait to
be out on the
street
and feel god’s
music in the sunlight

blessing my
face

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by Erren Kelly

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Brooklyn-born Arlene Corwin is in her late 80’s, and 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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photo by Jack Underwood

Terrance Underwood is a retired Rolls-Royce Service Engineer, veteran, College Grad (B.A. History) who has been listening to recorded jazz music since he was 5-6 yrs old. One of his first memories is listening to a 78 version of “Cherokee” by Charlie Barnett.

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Erren Kelly is a two-time Pushcart nominated poet from Boston whose work has appeared in 300 publications (print and online), including Hiram Poetry Review, Mudfish, Poetry Magazine, Ceremony, Cacti Fur, Bitterzoet, Cactus Heart, Similar Peaks, Gloom Cupboard, .and .Poetry Salzburg.

Click here to read “Under Quarantine” — COVID-era poetry of Erren Kelly, published by Jerry Jazz Musician

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Samuel Dixon is an award-winning abstract impressionist painter based in Maryland. Click here to view his work.

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Listen to the 1949 recording of Lennie Tristano playing “Intuition” [Capitol/Universal]

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Listen to the 1997 recording of John Hicks performing “A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing” [High Note Records]

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Listen to the 1959 recording of Thelonious Monk playing “Reflections” [Riverside/Universal]

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Click here for information about how to submit your poetry

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One comments on “Three poems about three pianists”

  1. All three piano poems about three different pianists are wonderful. The line “pain is just god’s way of telling me respect who i am” really got to me. Thanks poets.

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