“Illinois Jacquet” — a poem by Michael L. Newell

January 19th, 2018






(in response to an invitation
musical and raucous from the fingers
of Wild Bill Davis tickling the keys
of his organ seeking a musical response
by someone and something of equal stature)

Illinois I say accepted the challenge and blew
some blue some very blue blue blue notes
that set listeners nodding heads
moving shoulders slowly to the pain
contained within each swinging phrase

feet shuffled bodies swung a slow dance
back and forth listeners acknowledging
Jacquet’s testimony etched in raw sustained
pain pain pain that drew moans
from the depths of all who heard

such beauty from the heart and mind
of Illinois doing musical forensics
on his soul until a long sustained rising note
drew Wild Bill Davis to unleash
his waiting organ into wailing conversation

with sax and drum in unfettered collaboration
which led to an ending that lifted listeners
to their feet in sustained shouts applause
and joy joy joy at what had just been heard
oh me oh my souls must fly on certain days





Michael L. Newell is a retired secondary school English/Theatre teacher who has lived one-third of his life abroad on five continents.  He is passionate about a wide range of music, jazz being a particular favorite.  He now lives on the south-central Oregon coast.

Michael wrote this poem in reaction to this 1973 film of Illinois Jacquet



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4 comments on ““Illinois Jacquet” — a poem by Michael L. Newell”

  1. This blows the roof off the place. Now I have to go listen to Illinois Jacquet who gave the call to this response that will go on and on in time. Thank You!!!!

  2. This blows the roof off the place. Now I have to go listen to Illinois Jacquet who gave the call to this response that will go on and on in time. Thank You!!!!

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In This Issue

This issue features an interview with Bing Crosby biographer Gary Giddins; a collection of poetry devoted to the World War II era; and a new edition of “Reminiscing in Tempo,” in which the question “What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz recordings of the 1940’s” is posed to Rickie Lee Jones, Chick Corea, Tom Piazza and others.


In this edition of Reminiscing in Tempo,, Chick Corea, Rickie Lee Jones, Tom Piazza, Gary Giddins, Randy Brecker, Michael Cuscuna, Terry Teachout and many others answer the question, “What are 3 or 4 of your favorite recordings of the 1940’s?”


Interview with Bing Crosby biographer Gary Giddins, author of the new book "Swinging on a Star: The War Years, 1940 - 1946"


Eight poets — John Stupp, Aurora Lewis, Michael L. Newell, Robert Nisbet, Alan Yount, Roger Singer, dan smith and Joan Donovan — write about the era of World War II

The Joys of Jazz

Award winning radio producer and host Bob Hecht shares his love of jazz through his podcasts on his site “The Joys of Jazz.” In this edition, he tells two stories; the history of the virtual anthem of World War II, “I’ll Be Seeing You,” and the friendship and musical rapport of Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong.

Short Fiction

Hannah Draper of Ottawa, Ontario is the winner of the 49th Jerry Jazz Musician New Short Fiction Award. Her story is titled "Will You Play For Me?"

Coming Soon

Three prominent scholars in a conversation about the lives of Billie Holiday, Ralph Ellison, and Langston Hughes (pictured)

Contributing writers

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