Literature » Poetry

“Progress” — a poem by Freddington

photo by William Gottlieb

52nd Street, New York, 1948




Oh, to see back into the beginning,
To 1944, and 52nd street,
To Minton’s Playhouse, and the Royal Roost,
To Monk and Bud’s first rehearsals,
To see the fever spread,
To see the disciples line up to sit in,
To hear the new language,
being learned and spoken.
It was a moment of evolution,
When Jazz stood up high,
Taller than before,
and held the clouds in its hands.
It changed direction then,
Bird and Dizzy’s language spread out like water,
Like falling rain,
All over America, and beyond.
They looked the future in the eye,
and found a new way to think,
In the smoke and noise and laughter,
In the jam sessions and cutting contests,
In the nightclubs of New York.
Oh, to be there,
When Bebop was born.





Freddington works as a shipper/receiver in Toronto, Canada, and has been a lifelong jazz fan ever since he was “corrupted” as a teenager by Charles Mingus’ “Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting.”