Thursday, May 19, 2011

Still flashin'...

Still flashin' from an oh-so-sweet jazz gig last night!  Miles was in the house - so was the spirit of Sonny Rollins, Ray Charles, Duke Ellington, Earl Gardner, Ella Fitzgerald, Herbie Hancock, Dave Brubek and just a little bit of Coltrane, too.  Bennie "Fingers" Cohn was the man of the hour - calling most of the tunes - as he transformed his magic keyboards into a full orchestra, Stevie Wonders clav for "Superstition" or a Turkish drum machine with a hip hop soul for a long improvisation.

The great American poet, Carl Sandberg, put it like this in "Jazz Fantasia" which is what I am still flashin on 12 hours later.

Drum on your drums, batter on your banjoes,
sob on the long cool winding saxophones.
Go to it, O jazzmen.

Sling your knuckles on the bottoms of the happy
tin pans, let your trombones ooze, and go husha-
husha-hush with the slippery sand-paper.

Moan like an autumn wind high in the lonesome treetops,
moan soft like you wanted somebody terrible, cry like a
racing car slipping away from a motorcycle cop, bang-bang!
you jazzmen, bang altogether drums, traps, banjoes, horns,
tin cans -- make two people fight on the top of a stairway
and scratch each other's eyes in a clinch tumbling down
the stairs.

Can the rough stuff . . . now a Mississippi steamboat pushes
up the night river with a hoo-hoo-hoo-oo . . . and the green
lanterns calling to the high soft stars . . . a red moon rides
on the humps of the low river hills . . . go to it, O jazzmen.

Another American genius, Langston Hughes, put it like this in "Jazzonia" and I felt this, too.

Oh, silver tree!
Oh, shining rivers of the soul!

In a Harlem cabaret
Six long-headed jazzers play.
A dancing girl whose eyes are bold
Lifts high a dress of silken gold.
Oh, singing tree!
Oh, shining rivers of the soul!

Were Eve's eyes
In the first garden
Just a bit too bold?
Was Cleopatra gorgeous
In a gown of gold?

Oh, shining tree
Oh, silver rivers of the soul!
In a whirling cabaret
Six long-headed jazzers play.

A few more State-side gigs - a day in the schools next week and Patrick's Pub on June 2nd - then... Istanbul, here we come!  The day we land, the Office of the Mayor in Beyoglu (the arts section of Istanbul) and the State Department have asked us to present our official city certificate and play a set at the close of their arts festival.  Things are REALLY coming together!


Black Pete said...

Play the gig, man!

RJ said...

and keep on playing, yes?

summertime is half over...

A gentle rain is falling in the Berkshire hills this morning. Already it feels like a day of contemplation and quiet rest. There was a Fac...