Nina Simone…in two poems

August 9th, 2021

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Ron Kroon / Anefo Restored by Bammesk, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ron Kroon / Anefo Restored by Bammesk, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nina Simone, 1965

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Nina Simone

Almost sixty years
have passed yet
it could be today
she sings murder
oppression
protest in the streets
school children
sitting in jail

still a country full of lies
still Blacks die

Emmett Till to George Floyd,
still more and more
Blacks die

desegregation
do it slow

look for justice
go slow

call for equality
go slow

everybody knows
too slow
too slow

upset about
AlabamaTennessee
could be any state
California Wisconsin
and of course
everybody knows
Mississippi Goddam

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by Phyllis Wax

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As The Crow Flies
…..(After Nina Simone, Sinnerman)

I ran to my young dreams, broken dreams,
a universe of broken dreams.
I ran, gifted and dreaming of Carnegie Hall.
I ran but I black – and things fall apart.
I get so sick and tired.

I ran my head against so many walls;
United Snakes, they had me blind,
and I was sick,
and I was tired.

Rallentando;
I ran to your punches,
I ran to my harm,
I ran to the names you called me;
ran to a name I never owned.

A million civil wrongs don’t make it right.
And I so sick and tired,
so tired of being bitter,
a husk of a human,
the unintended consequence of being Nina Simone.

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by Isabel White

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Social issues are a major focus of Milwaukee poet Phyllis Wax. Her poetry has appeared previously in Jerry Jazz Musician and in many other journals and anthologies online and in print. A Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominee, she has read in coffee houses, bars, libraries and on the radio. She can be reached via email at [email protected].

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Isabel White has performed across the UK, at Shakespeare & Co in Paris and in Rotterdam. She was twice runner up in the BBC Radio 3 Proms Competitions; a finalist in nine others and poet-in-residence for organizations working with marginalized communities. With three full collections and a pamphlet under her belt, Isabel’s poetry has been widely published – in 18 books and journals to date. Isabel founded performance collective Alarms and Excursions in 2009, www.alarmsandexcursions.com

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Listen to the 1967 recording of Nina Simone singing Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released”

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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

photo via RawPixel
"23 Poets remember their father…"

This space on Sunday is generally reserved for a single poet to read one of their works, but this week’s issue -Father’s Day – features 23 poets who weigh in on the complexity of their relationship with their father, revealing love, warmth, regret, sorrow – and in many cases a strong connection to a common love of music.

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.

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.

Poetry

The cover to Joni Mitchell's 1976 album Hejira [Asylum]; photo by Norman Seeff
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Click here to read more poetry published in Jerry Jazz Musician

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

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Feature

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Trading Fours with Douglas Cole

The cover of Wayne Shorter's 2018 Blue Note album "Emanon"
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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
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Book Excerpt

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Poetry

painting by Vaino Kunnas
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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.”

Who is the pianist he is describing?

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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

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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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