“¡Oh, Put On Another Record And Bring Me A Drink!” — a poem by Steve Williams

I like The Jazz
We listened to Roland Kirk
and Eric Burdon sing of
Roland Kirk

And the hum of the freezer

Roland borrowed a phrase from Coltrane
and I borrowed a phrase from

...

March 19th, 2015

“Bird” — a poem by Ed Coletti

I recall you
dream weaver
I remember you
You’re the one
who makes most dreams
come true
Sir Charles
just not your own
when the sax
ceases dreadfully
heroes fall
trumpets screech
Max Roach calls you
to attention
Sir Charles
listen to Diz
man just don’t fade man!

I hear Lover again
Bird you’re with me
like my mother’s voice

...

February 26th, 2015

“Just Another Punk Rocker Writing About Jazz” — a poem by Jon Wesick

They must have materialized at the open mike
out of carbon and nitrogen in the air,
those poets you’d never see in a jazz club.
A guy in Roman-helmet-like Mohawk
reads three-chord rhymes about Mingus,
an MC in Phat Farm jeans
fires machine gun words about Miles,
and a woman in high collar and sensible shoes
chops Art Blakey into fourteen lines of ten syllables.

Seems you can’t be a real poet
unless you

...

February 12th, 2015

“Pillow Worship” — a poem by Roger Singer

Lazy humid Lake Pontchartrain
breezes slip sideways
through turquoise louvered doors
past a cat, on a stool with its legs hanging
like green tangled moss
as the man, deep with pillow worship
lays still, breathing soft, his hands open and flat
holds court with dreams of last night
the jazz holding tight
the band cutting through

...

January 22nd, 2015

“Peace on Earth” — a poem by Michael Harper

Tunes come to me at morning
prayer, after flax sunflower
seeds jammed in a coffee can;
when we went to Japan
I prayed at the shrine
for the war dead broken
at Nagasaki;
the tears on the lip of my soprano
glistened in the sun.
In interviews
I talked about my music’s
voice of praise to our oneness,
them getting caught up in techniques
of the electronic school
lifting us into assault;
in live sessions, without an audience
I see faces on the flues of the piano,
cymbals driving me into ecstasies on my knees,
the demonic angel, Elvin,
answering my prayers on African drum,

...

December 11th, 2014

“The Bullocks Oriole Plays The Blue Note” — a poem by Eric Meyer

O you sweet be-
spectacled bird!
you’re too cool for me
sitting there perched
in your wild catbird seat
with your sleek black
beatnik goatee &
blindman’s shades
pulled down low over
your hot orange
djellabiya while you
spill out shrill jazz
riffs and raffs

...

October 3rd, 2014

“Trumpet Repair” — a poem by Bill Boslego

The stem pipe was cracked
he told me gently
as if I were an anxious relative
in a hospital waiting room

The craftsman nursed my boy’s trumpet
deciding it needed more oil, too
And while he was at it, fashioned a screw
replacing one long missing

...

September 17th, 2014

“An Ode to Langston Hughes” — a poem by John Kaniecki

Great “black” poet?
Is Robert Frost identified as “white” as snow?
I devoured every heart fired revolutionary syllable
Each righteous rectifying rhyme a mountainous memorial in time
Barefaced truth like Emit Till’s open casket
A little Harlem hustle humor

...

August 22nd, 2014

“As Long As You Living Yours (For Keith Jarrett)” — a poem by Erren Kelly

not even schroeder from the peanuts
comic strip
is as dedicated to the piano
and he has a bust of beethoven
gracing his steinway!
you pull sounds out of the air
making something out of nothing

you call it improvisation:

i say, god’s just using you as
a transmitter for his thoughts…

...

August 8th, 2014

“One O’Clock Jump” — a poem 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

...

June 18th, 2014

Poetry by Alan Patterson


Coltrane

by Alan Patterson

His Voice
crying in the wilderness
sighing, screeching, singing,
of soul secrets and sufferings
stark, silent sound
invoking Heaven’s muse
and Purgatory’s cleansing fire.

Who, speaking in toungues
created new language
who captured Eternity’s essence

...

June 5th, 2014

Langston Hughes reads “The Weary Blues”

“The Weary Blues” — a poem about the importance of music and the blues in everyday life — is a signature work of Langston Hughes, the Harlem Renaissance writer whose poetry helped change the way art created by African Americans was viewed, and influenced the writers of the beat generation. Written in 1925, the melancholy poem is set in a Harlem bar where a piano player plays the blues, and is one of the first poems to mix poetry and music.

Besides being a great writer, Hughes was an eloquent communicator, and it is a wonderful experience to hear him read his own poetry.. This 1958 film shows him reading “The Weary Blues” to the accompaniment of a Canadian group led by pianist Doug Parker.

...

June 3rd, 2014

“Vintage Gray” – a poem by Joshua Michael Stewart

The morning glory —
another thing
that will never be my friend.
— Basho

Rain has a way of darkening the bark on trees,
deepening the wood cracks in fences.
Grass appears softer, envious of clouds
that tease with their rootlessness,
their promise of travel and a good night’s sleep.
Normally, I’d have a little Johnny Hodges
playing in the background or Casablanca
splashing silvery-blue against a wall,

...

April 19th, 2014

“You Can Be a Genius and Be Sane” — a poem about Thelonious Monk, by Arlene Corwin

You Can Be A Genius And Be Sane

Watching Monk and watching self,
One senses that one can have genius
And be sane.
You can
Be odd,
The brain its own,
To nail the themes
Your thought-extremes deem right.

Monk plays and pounds
In rhythmic spasms;

...

March 30th, 2014

“Archival Footage: The Apotheosis of Mary Lou Williams” — a poem by Mark J. Mitchell

It’s light on silver-black and white,
Grainy footage of a smoky room,
A woman at the keys. A spotlight
As perfectly round as the moon
Frames her form. She picks at a tune.
This is jazz, now, it’s uncertain.
Her fingers stop, hover, resume.
She stands, walks behind a curtain.

Years later — in color now –her
Faith allows her to break that long
Silence, permits her to

...

March 5th, 2014

“POTO” — a poem by Michael Keshigian

Show me a clarinet, teacher,
one from a distant continent’s wood
that has suckled nourishment
from a heated, morning sun
then show me the reed,
the dried, shallow, vibrating stick,
that will tickle sound
through many dark nights
when those with flicking tongues
articulate their passion
between panted breaths.
Show me the silver,
flailing fingers have mined
with a synchronized motion

...

February 18th, 2014

“Truth Comes Marching In –Remembering Albert and Donald Ayler — a poem by Mark Kerstetter

Names like
Little Bird & Bicycle Horn
missed your tracking
Parker solos faster
backward to the future,
higher than Shaker Heights,
further than armies marching
to spiritual masterlocks
missing the Trane
to the Future Truth
marching in.

French Mayonnaise
sustained journeys
to Sweden & Denmark
where pickup players
kept standard time
while you advanced

...

February 13th, 2014

“On Divisadero” — a poem by Roger Singer

ON DIVISIDERO

A hill with faces
and sidewalks,
green shoes and sneakers
without laces,
chalkboard menus,
peppers and onions
and bicycles passing
apartments with yellow
shutters and
terracotta pots with
flowers reaching over
touching heads
as buses crawl
and street cars

...

February 2nd, 2014

“Bird Read Beckett,” a poem by Erren Kelly

In anticipation of our very soon-to-be-published interview with Charlie Parker biographer Stanley Crouch (see the preview below), poet Erren Kelly defends Parker from the caricature portrayed in Clint Eastwood’s 1989 film Bird.


Bird Read Beckett

bird read samuel beckett

he read novels and plays
he lived his life as one long
exstitential episode
he prided himself on being
intellectual
bird loved his fried chicken
and preferred his gin
to go down smooth
like his solos

mr. eastwood,
take that lie back
and apologize!

...

January 21st, 2014

“In Memory of George Lewis, Great Jazzman” — a poem by Lou Lipsitz


1

Man is the animal that knows
the clarinet

makes his living
on the docks, a stevedore,
110lbs., carrying what loads
he can

the Depression comes along,
his teeth rot, no money and
he has to accept silence

...

January 3rd, 2014

“my funny valentine” — a poem by Ed Corrigan

my funny valentine
by ed corrigan

Miles’ horn blows
thru my head
down to my toes
down baby down
i need to blow
my bleeding nose
a red note bleeding
dododowaaaah
a smile with my heart
she just tore me apart

...

November 12th, 2013

“The Birth of Jazz” — a poem by Russell MacClaren

THE BIRTH OF JAZZ

Syncopated sounds
mingle in bayous,
roll with Mississippi currents,
splash in Lake Pontchartrain.
The haunting melody
sleeps in pine forests,
nestles in the cypress,
sways with willows,
stands with oaks.

...

November 1st, 2013

“Coltrane, Dig?” — a poem by Ed Coletti

Coltrane, Dig?

I suppose what it is with trane and me is
he takes all the time he wants to take
even outside of time, sidereal time,
stardust time, bessie blue time,
through-and-through-him time,
trancey groove time, even arranged time.

...

October 19th, 2013

Roger Singer: A Seriously Good Jazz Poet

For years, we have been publishing work by poets from all over the world who are dedicated to putting into words their relationship with jazz music. Our most prolific poet is Roger Singer, a living, breathing example of fire and love and brilliance. His contribution to the art of jazz is here – all 26 pages of it – in full glory, waiting for interested readers to discover.

Here is a new poem of his, just published today…

...

September 20th, 2013

Poetry by Stefanie Pickett Buckner

Loving Adverbs

I know I should love
nouns more than adverbs but
I definitely
don’t. The same weighty expectation
accompanies phenomena like the Beatles,
Harry Potter, or sushi. My loves never seem
to be trendy, and I say this with confusion,
not pride.

...

June 24th, 2013

Poetry by Luis Lazaro Tijerina

Death is a Trumpet Note Away
(To the Jazz Trumpeter, Lee Morgan)

I hear your trumpet notes splitting the evening skies,
breaking up a piano solo, then a sparse hot guitar
opens the modal line for your slow bursts of almost
cornet sounds… a river flow of “Avotcja One”-
trumpet sounds “into a bed of plaints” and flurries

...

April 14th, 2013

Poetry by Krikor Der Hohannesian

BLUE SMOKE

The last yellowed leaves
from the Norway maple spiral,
dive and pirouette to ground –
hours of raking pyramid after
pyramid, the tedium of stuffing
bag after bag, the impulse
to light a match, to resurrect
the late fall smells from boyhood –

...

April 3rd, 2013

Poetry by Tom Winer

MONK WAS RIGHT
( A letter to Thelonius Monk )

Dear Thelonius,

I first heard you
In the darkness of stinky music rooms, toe-tappers’ tombs
where out-of-tone tunes played,
and where you prayed to the God of old blue smoke
to please choke the life out of those who said jazz was a joke,

...

February 22nd, 2012

Poetry by Andrew H. Oerke

ELEGY FOR HART, IN THE KEY OF CRANE

The pipe-organ sea on-drones a dirge for you
as it will for the last whale’s final soundings.
Deep in the ocean’s heart, Hart has found a home.

Before his final voyage, from the shore he watched
the breakers as they slipped each blow, master

...

February 10th, 2012

Poetry by Frank De Canio

Naming of Hops
(July 30, 2009)

Today there will be naming of hops.
Today they’ll have a beer outside
the oval office of the White House.
Likewise our planet rotates with an oval orbit
around the sun of no determinate God,
whose purity and innocence informs
the white bars on the American flag.

...

January 12th, 2012

Poetry by Kathy Coman

Comprehension of Music

You understand me
every emotion that’s buried into my heart
that lives in my soul trying to find
the right way to express itself to a world
that lacks true understanding of someone’s feelings
so I turn to you to create life into misunderstanding
and o how I love how you grasp it

...

September 7th, 2011

Poetry by Bill Freedman

Something You Can Count On

I had, once, a Captain Midnight ring
that told the weather, or so they said.
Frankly, I don’t remember Captain Midnight,
didn’t listen to him much.
Don’t know what made him special,
what made him Captain Midnight, for that matter.
But I didn’t need to, knew in my 1947 heart of hearts

...

December 27th, 2009

Poetry by Tim Greenwood

THE BUNKER

An overgrown trail is abruptly halted by a set of rusting metal gates,
Secured to a crooked post by a battered padlock and feeble chain.
A grey guard tower lies out of sight, studying the unfolding scene intently,
From the dense undergrowth where fresh raindrops glisten in the new-born sunlight.

...

January 22nd, 2009

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

Poetry

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

Art

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

Poetry

Poetry by John Stupp and Michael L. Newell

Art

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.

Interviews

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

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