“One O’Clock Jump” — a poem by Paul Zimmer

June 18th, 2014


by Paul Zimmer

Still tingling with Basie’s hard cooking,
between sets I stood at the bar
when the man next to me ordered
scotch and milk. I looked to see who had
this stray taste and almost swooned
when I saw it was the master.
Basie knocked his shot back,
then, when he saw me gaping,
raised his milk to my peachy face
and rolled out his complete smile
before going off with friends
to leave me in that state of grace.

A year later I was renting rooms
from a woman named Tillie who wanted
no jazz in her dank, unhallowed house.
Objecting even to lowest volume of solo piano,
she’d puff upstairs to bang on my door.

I grew opaque, unwell,
slouched to other apartments,
begging to play records.
Duked, dePrezed, and unBased,
longing for Billy, Monk, Brute, or Zoot,
I lived in silence through
that whole lost summer.

Still aware of divine favor, I bided time
and waited for the day of reckoning.
My last night in Tillie’s godless house,
late — when I knew she was hard asleep —
I gave her the full One O’Clock Jump,
having Basie ride his horse of perfect time
like an avenging angel over top volume,
hoisting his scotch and milk as he galloped
into Tillie’s ear, headlong down her throat
to roar all night in her sulphurous organs.


Paul Zimmer is an American poet, and editor.

View his Wikipedia page

Paul Zimmer at Amazon.com




Share this:

3 comments on ““One O’Clock Jump” — a poem by Paul Zimmer”

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In this Issue

“The Jazz Photography Issue” features an interview with today’s most eminent jazz portrait photographer Carol Friedman, news from Michael Cuscuna about newly released Francis Wolff photos, as well as archived interviews with William Gottlieb, Herman Leonard, Lee Tanner, a piece on Milt Hinton, a new edition of photos from Veryl Oakland, and much more…

On the Turntable

This month, a playlist of 18 recently released jazz recordings by six artists -- Joshua Redman, Joe Lovano. Matt Brewer, Tom Harrell, Zela Margossian, and Aaron Burnett

Short Fiction

"Crossing the Ribbon" by Linnea Kellar is the winning story of the 51st Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest


Seventeen poets contribute to the Summer, 2019 collection of jazz poetry reflecting an array of energy, emotion and improvisation

“What are 4 or 5 of your all-time favorite Blue Note albums?”

Dianne Reeves, Nate Chinen, Gary Giddins, Michael Cuscuna, Eliane Elias and Ashley Kahn are among the 12 writers, musicians, and music executives who list and write about their favorite Blue Note albums

Pressed for All Time

In an excerpt from his book Pressed for All Time, Michael Jarrett interviews producer John Snyder about the experience of working with Ornette Coleman at the time of his 1977 album Dancing in Your Head


“Charles Ingham’s Jazz Narratives” — a continuing series


Poetry by John Stupp and Michael L. Newell


Jerry Jazz Musician regularly publishes a series of posts featuring excerpts of the photography and stories/captions found in Jazz in Available Light by Veryl Oakland. In this edition, Mr. Oakland's photographs and stories feature Art Pepper, Pat Martino and Joe Williams.


Maxine Gordon, author of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon, discusses her late husband’s complex, fascinating life.

Cover Stories with Paul Morris

In this edition, Paul writes about jazz album covers that offer glimpses into intriguing corners of the culture of the 1950’s

In the previous issue

Michael Cuscuna, Mosaic Records co-founder, is interviewed about his successful career as a jazz producer, discographer, and entrepreneur...

Coming Soon

An interview with Nate Chinen, director of editorial content at WBGO Radio, former New York Times jazz writer, and the author of Playing Changes: Jazz in the New Century.

Contributing writers

Site Archive