Tag Archives: Free Jazz

jazzum backclash

bitwing bedbug housefly arcnet
kurt’s looseleaf tea rolled convenient
hard times coming four and more
‘s miles and coleman, hat stove in
screen door strained looking for peaches
can’t, recall, died in the poorhouse
out-of-come forsooth and spittle mood
john thomas passed out drooling
somewhere in the last hash chorus
i lost track; the extra change
is all you can spare for poor stella.

great danes dogging swedish meatballs
cremate the meaning and the d.s. al coda
parker’s lighthouse dimmed and mist-infested
no more than twice through for the maestro
’twas enough why more than necessary
evil improvisation masturbation
somewhere i lost track of structure
engineering
yardbirds caw give the heave ho
yardarms outstretched
enough of this can’t take it:
please take off
that album;
stick a fork in its ass,
it’s done.

1993

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Plastic Pocket Harmolodics

Run down changeling boots the funk;
improve the shunned extractionary.
Stove, in traction, rips rough ready
pockets, not for inner sanctums.

Cherry cola coughs surrender:
queasy Compton did the mother,
freaking heat in slumber tumble,
x-ray eyelids slipped the winking.

Bop the Bird the sticky finger;
fallen anglos sin cojones
open quiet, quick and greasy
downtown and round wound up lounging.

Run down starlings, cop the mutants!
The groove pontificates for Shiva.
Flip the whip trip banned in Boston!
Coleman nation green and hunchbacked;

Cherry, copper coated, kicks
Mazaltov! and “Off the mother!”,
speaking shit in rumble mumble.
X the spot where Malcolm put it,

stop the word, the slippery jungle.
Pent up houses of the holy,
open skies bleed hard and humble.
Central busts the changes open.

1993

On applying a philosophical otoscope to Life in general:

When in doubt of where to go, Musically, when questioning one’s ability to hear harmonic structures, to find the “in” groove or chord, or if just in need of a general aural cleansing, there is nothing that will substitute for Ornette Coleman. 

I first experienced Ornette’s harmolodics at Berklee, where often friends and I would spend late nights “with the double quartet of Coleman’s Free Jazz: A Improvisation by the Double Quartet barreling forth from the speakers like the Mongol horde” (a quote from my journals at the time). Now, when you want to learn about phrasing, you turn to Miles’ Sketches of Spain; when you want close-knit harmony that weaves in and out around the beat, I always like to put on The Gerry Mulligan Songbook; and when needing to hear just how much you can do in just two choruses (and how anything more than that is simply unnecessary, if you do it right), there’s nothing like Charlie Parker. Doesn’t matter what your instrument is, or what style you think you play. If you want to focus on these aspects of Music, here’s where the clues are.

But if you want to know the secret of space, to stretch your ears, to cut to the bare bones, there’s no substitute for Ornette Coleman. Just like James Brown can teach you, particularly on Love Power Peace (live in Paris, 1971) that there is nothing outside of a groove, Ornette can help you understand just how melodic the entire world is.

Ah…but I digress…did I mention that it makes great headphone Music?

Back to my wonderful cup of tea, a darkened room, and that plastic saxophone. I wrote this poem one evening in Memphis after listening to Ornette while discussing Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein over endless strong coffee.

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