This blog is about improvised music but it is also about musicians, poets and the arts that embrace Jazz. I intend to add posts from time to time about, Jazz literature, Jazz Photography, Poetry and film.
Jazz, prose and poetry have been overtly interlinked since ‘On The Road’ by Jack Kerouac. Kerouac was so taken with the rhythms of Bebop that he adjusted many of his writings and poems to the frenetic and accented beats of 1940’s Jazz (which he saw as the raw beat of the streets). You can hear this when Jack recites his own prose. Another Beat Poet Alan Ginsburg wrote this in his ‘Footnote to Howl’;
“Holy the groaning saxophone! Holy the bop apocalypse! Holy the jazzbands marijuana hipsters peace…..”
A favourite poet of mine is Bob Kaufman (another San Franciscan): see below.
A poem that uses Jazz as a theme can be about a tune or perhaps give the merest hint of a tune (or a musician’s life). It can be blunt or as funny as hell. Modern American Poet, Laureate Billy Collins wrote ‘ I chop some parsley while listening to Art Blakey’s version of Three Blind Mice’ – From ‘Taking Off Emily Dickens Clothes’. My good friend Iain Sharp wrote a terrific poem called ‘Chet Bakers teeth‘ – published in a collection titled – ‘The Singing Harp’. Both highly recommended for their humour and the profoundly sly insights which lurk beneath the words. I have an anthology of my own verse due out shortly and a new page added for that purpose will soon be posted on this blog site.
This is what jazz is; a deeper edgier meaning lurking behind a pretty tune or riff. Humour, quick-fire quotes and slippery notes that fall off the edge of reason, only to land on their feet again.
John Fenton – JazzLocal32.com. and johnfentonpoetry.com
#You may quote freely from this blog, but please acknowledge the source and respect my intellectual property
Member of J JA (Jazz Journalists Association)
Posted for all lovers of Bob Kaufman – 9th September 2013
Walking Parker Home
Sweet beats of Jazz impaled on slivers of wind / Kansas black morning/ First Horn Eyes/ Historical sound pictures on New Birdwings / People shouts/ Boy alto dreams/ Tomorrows / Gold bellied pipe of stops and future Blues Times / Lurking Hawkins/ shadows of Lester/realisation / Bronze fingers-brain extensions seeking trapped sounds / Ghetto thoughts/bandstand courage/solo flight / Nerve-wracked suspicions of newer songs and doubts / New York altar city/black tears/secret disciples Hammer horn pounding soul marks on unswerving gates / Culture gods/mob sounds/ visions of spikes /Panic excursions to tribal Jazz wombs and transfusions / Heroin nights of birth/and soaring/over boppy new ground / Smothered rage covering pyramids of notes spontaneously exploding /Cool revelations/shrill hopes/beauty speared on greedy ears Birdland /nights on bop mountains, windy saxophone revolutions /Daydreams of junk/and melting walls and circling vultures/ Money cancer/remembered pain/terror flights/ Death and indestructible existence / In that Jazz corner of life /wrapped in a mist of sound / His legacy, our Jazz tinted dawn / wailing his triumphs of oddly forgotten dreams / inviting the nerveless to feel once more / The fierce dying of humans consumed / In raging fires of love
Bob Kaufman (beat poet) From ‘Solitudes Crowded with Loneliness’
Note: There is a new page of my own poetry in this blog titled ‘John Fenton poetry’