Trading Fours, with Douglas Cole, No. 12: “Soul Music”

March 9th, 2023

.

.

 

Trading Fours with Douglas Cole  is an occasional series of the writer’s poetic interpretations of jazz recordings and film.

A recording of Mr. Cole reading this work is found at the conclusion of the poem.

.

.

___

.

.

photo by Joe Mabel/via Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

photo of McCoy Tyner by Joe Mabel

McCoy Tyner at Demetriou’s Jazz Alley; Seattle, 2012

.

___

.

 

Soul Music

Hey man…I’m not here to explain to you…I’m not here
to tell you what you own or don’t own…I don’t think anybody
owns anything…but I’ll keep tap dancing mentally for you…
if nothing else…to say…it could be a nice bright sky above…
a little bit of haze…you’re heading to the gym to swim…
smoke a bowl…mix it up…forget the things you have to sacrifice…
to get your work done…to get your money to pay your buddy…
pay your life…to stay alive…to keep things running…
that’s what’s happening for most of us most our lives…
like we’ve been sitting at a blackjack table
since the day we were born…shuffling chips around…
piles moving away…a few scattered chips thrown back…
it’s Thursday…I’m doing what I do…broke…
no rules today…McCoy Tyner says…one hand at a time…
big hands…I saw…I met him at a bar one time…
he was playing at Demetriou’s Jazz Alley…
hip spot of Seattle jazz upper crust…wear your tie…
I go there sometimes with Neil… we all like to see shows…
I say I’m seeking a ceremony…I don’t want a performance…
I’m looking for something holy…something sacred…and that’s all
I’m here to give you too…that’s what I hope to give…whatever
you might deconstruct through your fractal eyes…break it down…
go ahead…I’ve been on this train with you since day one…so
I was sitting down having a drink with McCoy Tyner…he just off stage
after banging out a giant song…way more notes than I could
imagine those fingers were able to play…it’s a kind of magic…
was it a ceremony?…you ask…it’s a good question…
I’m glad you asked…yeah…I say…yeah…whatever McCoy Tyner
might have felt or thought…for me…yeah…I saw something holy…
I saw something beautiful…he might have just been at work…
but you know…sometimes a priest is just doing a job…
sometimes the shaman dials it in…so anyway…I was
sitting at the bar talking to McCoy Tyner…he just off stage
after playing banged-up gigantic booming music…I mean…
he had a bass player…a drummer…but man…nah…
most of that stage was him…you know…but democratic…
everybody gets a say…their way…their instrument…
their mind… each part of a conversation about an idea
that is the song…saying things in language different from words
but with a lot of similarities…it’s sound…
and the sound is sound-talk…and that doesn’t mean
it’s not connected to thought like a word is…a word trying
for an image…you know…a word floating on air…a word
coming up from the deep sea of your mind…a word like
a ghost waving its arms…pointing…this way…this way…yeah…
yeah…that’s beautiful too…I’ll do that next Tuesday…
but the song is there in two worlds at once…
it’s a mood…it’s something comes out of you…ah ah ah ah
ah ah ah ah…hmm…you listening to me?…I was sitting down…
having a drink with McCoy Tyner…and I said to him…
I don’t know…while you were playing…I thought I heard Rachmaninov…
he smiled…looked at me…and he says…man…It’s all soul music…

 

.

Listen to Douglas Cole read “Soul Music”

.

.

___

.

.

Listen to the 2006 live performance of McCoy Tyner playing his composition “Walk Spirit, Talk Spirit,” with Joe Lovano (saxophone); Christian McBride (bass); and Jeff Watts (drums).  [Entertainment One]

 

.

.

___

.

.

photo by Jenn Merritt

.

Douglas Cole has published six collections of poetry and The White Field, winner of the American Fiction Award. His work has appeared in several anthologies as well as journals such as The Chicago Quarterly Review, Poetry International, The Galway Review, Bitter Oleander, Chiron, Louisiana Literature, Slipstream, as well Spanish translations of work (translated by Maria Del Castillo Sucerquia) in La Cabra Montes. He is a regular contributor to Mythaixs, an online journal, where in addition to his fiction and essays, his interviews with notable writers, artists and musicians such as Daniel Wallace (Big Fish), Darcy Steinke (Suicide Blond, Flash Count Diary) and Tim Reynolds (T3 and The Dave Matthews Band) have been popular contributions. He has been nominated twice for a Pushcart and Best of the Net and received the Leslie Hunt Memorial Prize in Poetry. He lives and teaches in Seattle, Washington.

Click here to visit his website.

.

.

The poet’s collection, The Blue Island

.

.

___

.

.

Click here to read previous editions of Trading Fours with Douglas Cole

.

Click here  to learn how to submit your poetry

Click here  to subscribe to the Jerry Jazz Musician newsletter

Click here to help support the continuing publishing efforts of Jerry Jazz Musician  (thank you!)

.

.

.

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

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.

Interview

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

pickpik.com
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

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

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.

Feature

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

Poetry

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?

Community

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