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Volker Braun (1939- )

Das ist das Geheimnis des Jazz:
Der Bass bricht dem erstarrten Orchester aus.
Das Schlagzeug zertrommelt die geistlosen Lieder.
Das Klavier seziert den Kadaver Gehorsam.
Das Saxophon zersprengt die Fessel Partitur:
Bebt, Gelenke: wir spielen ein neues Thema aus
Wozu ich fähig bin und wessen ich bedarf: ich selbst zu
                          sein -
hier will ich es sein: ich singe mich selbst.
Und aus den Trümmern des dunklen Bombasts Akkord
Aus dem kahlen Notenstrauch reckt sich was her über uns
Herzschlag Banjo, Mundton der Saxophone:
Reckt sich unsere Harmonie auf: bewegliche Einheit -
Jeder spielt sein Bestes aus zum gemeinsamen Thema.
Das ist die Musik der Zukunft: jeder ist ein Schöpfer!
Du hast das Recht, du zu sein, und ich bin ich:
Und mit keinem verbünden wir uns, der nicht er selber ist
Unverwechselbar er im Hass, im Lieben, im Kampf.


The Fantastic Names of Jazz

Hayden Carruth (1921- )

Zoot Sims, Joshua Redman,
Billie Holiday, Pete Fountain,
Fate Marable, Ivie Anderson,
Meade Lux Lewis, Mezz Mezzrow,
Manzie Johnson, Marcus Roberts,
Omer Simeon, Miff Mole, Sister
Rosetta Tharpe, Freddie Slack,
Thelonious Monk, Charlie Teagarden,
Max Roach, Paul Celestin, Muggsy
Spanier, Boomie Richman, Panama
Francis, Abdullah Ibrahim, Piano
Red, Champion Jack Dupree,
Cow Cow Davenport, Shirley Horn,
Cedar Walton, Sweets Edison,
Jaki Byard, John Heard, Joy Harjo,
Pinetop Smith, Tricky Sam
Nanton, Major Holley, Stuff Smith,
Bix Beiderbecke, Bunny Berigan,
Mr. Cleanhead Vinson, Ruby Braff,
Cootie Williams, Cab Calloway,
Lockjaw Davis, Chippie Hill,
And of course Jelly Roll Morton.



Sylviane Dupuis (1956- )

Que virevolte la main qui veut

Qu'une autre lance la pulsation rythmique
et pétrissant la grappe
sonore éparpillée,
qu'une troisième saisisse au vol l'épopée
- la déroule pour nous jusqu'à l'exténuation
du lieu et de la

Puis que vienne se poser l'oiseau
très simplement
d'une flûte


Jimmy Giuffre Plays 'The Easy Way'

Adrian Mitchell (1932- )

A man plodding through blue-grass fields.
He's here to decide whether the grass needs mowing.
He sits on a mound and taps his feet on the deep earth.
He decides the grass doesn't need mowing for a while.


Coleman Hawkins

Robert Goffin (1898-1984)

Il ferme les volets roses d'aubépine
Les yeux clos
Le voici qui dérape
au guidon de son saxophone
Il brûle
Du mal des Ardents
Et du parfum des corolles de chair
Il poursuit l'ombre de son ténor
A coups d'uppercuts caressants
Shadow-boxing de la nuit
Ses doigts express effeuillent à tout vent les marguerites du métal
Encore un
Encore un chorus, Coleman Hawkins
Il reprend en soufflant plus fort
Renoncules tendres de ses paupières
Encore un refrain juteux
Swing it, Coleman
Et il balance de possession
Revenu des grands fonds de Body and Soul
Il se balade très haut
Avec les anges invisibles de la frénésie
L'air manque
Danse de Saint-Guy du black bottom
Vite un casque pneumatique
Au loin
La terre est minuscule
Encore un octave plus haut
Donnez-moi le bémol de cette teinte orange
Au glissando des cuisses bronzées
contre-ut gratte-ciel
Et tout à coup du fond des siècles
Ton saxophonse est vide dans tes mains
Maintenant l'aurore peut se lever sur Manhattan
Coleman Hawkins a ouvert les yeux
Et il regarde comme les anges musiciens de Saint-Bavon.



Langston Hughes (1902-1967)

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.


Le jazz et la java

Claude Nougaro (1929 - 2004)

Quand le jazz est
Quand le jazz est là
La java s'en
La java s'en va
Il y a de l'orage dans l'air
Il y a de l'eau dans le gaz
Entre le jazz et la java

Chaque jour un peu plus
Y a le jazz qui s'installe
Alors la rage au coeur
La java fait la malle
Ses p'tit's fesses en bataille
Sous sa jupe fendue
Elle écrase sa Gauloise
Et s'en va dans la rue

Quand le jazz est
Quand le jazz est là
La java s'en
La java s'en va
Il y a de l'orage dans l'air
Il y a de l'eau dans le gaz
Entre le jazz et la java

Quand j'écoute béat
Un solo de batterie
V'là la java qui râle
Au nom de la patrie
Mais quand je crie bravo
A l'accordéoniste
C'est le jazz qui m'engueule
Me traitant de raciste

Quand le jazz est
Quand le jazz est là
La java s'en
La java s'en va
Il y a de l'orage dans l'air
Il y a de l'eau dans le gaz
Entre le jazz et la java

Pour moi jazz et java
C'est du pareil au même
J'me saoule à la Bastille
Et m'noircis à Harlem
Pour moi jazz et java
Dans le fond c'est tout comme
Le jazz dit " Go men "
La java dit " Go hommes "

Quand le jazz est
Quand le jazz est là
La java s'en
La java s'en va
Il y a de l'orage dans l'air
Il y a de l'eau dans le gaz
Entre le jazz et la java

Jazz et java copains
Ça doit pouvoir se faire
Pour qu'il en soit ainsi
Tiens, je partage en frère
Je donne au jazz mes pieds
Pour marquer son tempo
Et je donne à la java mes mains
Pour le bas de son dos
Et je donne à la java mes mains
Pour le bas de son dos


Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey

Hayden Carruth (1921- )

Scrambled eggs and whiskey
in the false-dawn light. Chicago,
a sweet town, bleak, God knows,
but sweet. Sometimes. And
weren't we fine tonight?
When Hank set up that limping
treble roll behind me
my horn just growled and I
thought my heart would burst.
And Brad M. pressing with the
soft stick and Joe-Anne
singing low. Here we are now
in the White Tower, leaning
on one another, too tired
to go home. But don't say a word,
don't tell a soul, they wouldn't
understand, they couldn't, never
in a million years, how fine,
how magnificent we were
in that old club tonight.


Elegy for Thelonious

Yusef Komunyakaa (1947 -)

Damn the snow.
Its senseless beauty
pours a hard light
through the hemlock.
Thelonious is dead. Winter
drifts in the hourglass;
notes pour from the brain cup.
damn the alley cat
wailing a muted dirge
off Lenox Ave.
Thelonious is dead.
Tonight's a lazy rhapsody of shadows
swaying to blue vertigo
& metaphysical funk.
Black trees in the wind.
Crepuscule with Nellie
plays inside the bowed head.
"Dig the Man Ray of piano!"
O Satisfaction,
hot fingers blur on those white rib keys.
Coming on the Hudson.
Monk's Dream.
The ghost of bebop
from 52nd Street,
footprints in the snow.
Damn February.
Let's go to Minton's
& play "modern malice"
till daybreak. Lord,
there's Thelonious
wearing that old funky hat
pulled down over his eyes.


Nicholas Cricket

Joyce Maxner

Nicholas Cricket plays every night
in the Bug-a-Wug Cricket Band.

Moonlight glows and summer wind blows,
rabbits come dancing on tip-tippy toes.
The music is just so grand!

Nicholas Cricket plays with all his might
in the Bug-a-Wug Cricket Band.

Little Lake shines and Little Stream winds,
peep-peep-peepers come dancing through the vines.
The music is just so grand!

Nicholas Cricket is a banjo picker
in the Bug-a-Wug Cricket Band.

Crickets play fiddles and guitars with middles
curvy and round as a rantum riddle
and ducks come dancing
The music is just so grand!

In the blue blue night
when the moon is bright
underneath the leaves of summer
if we're quiet and quick
we can find Cricket Nick
and the washboard strummers
and the slap-a-spoon drummers
and the crick-crick-crickety kazoo hummers.

We can dance all night
'til the rosy dawn comes.
The music is just so grand!

Ladybugs strut and toads sashay,
moths and mantises wing their way,
snap-turtles swing and grasshoppers sway
while Nick and the crickets

The music is just so grand!

All the Bug-a-Wugs grow sleepy and still
and go back with the moonlight under the hill.
Back to the trees the peepers pop,
back to the hollow the rabbits hop,
back to the willows the weary ducks waddle
and back to our beds our tired legs toddle
to dream as Little Stream
             its way
                             into tomorrow.

The music was just so grand!
The music was just so grand!
The music was


The Day Lady Died

Frank O'Hara (1926-1966)

It is 12:20 in New York a Friday
three days after Bastille day, yes
it is 1959 and I go get a shoeshine
because I will get off the 4:19 in Easthampton
at 7:15 and then go straight to dinner
and I don't know the people who will feed me

I walk up the muggy street beginning to sun
and have a hamburger and a malted and buy
an ugly NEW WORLD WRITING to see what the poets
in Ghana are doing these days
in Ghana are doing these days I go on to the bank
and Miss Stillwagon (first name Linda I once heard)
doesn't even look up my balance for once in her life
and in the GOLDEN GRIFFIN I get a little Verlaine
for Patsy with drawings by Bonnard although I do
think of Hesiod, trans. Richmond Lattimore or
Brendan Behan's new play or Le Balcon or Les Nègres
of Genet, but I don't, I stick with Verlaine
after practically going to sleep with quandariness

and for Mike I just stroll into the PARK LANE
Liquor Store and ask for a bottle of Strega and
then I go back where I came from to 6th Avenue
and the tobacconist in the Ziegfeld Theatre and
casually ask for a carton of Gauloises and a carton
of Picayunes, and a NEW YORK POST with her face on it

and I am sweating a lot by now and thinking of
leaning on the john door in the 5 SPOT
while she whispered a song along the keyboard
to Mal Waldron and everyone and I stopped breathing


Jazz Fan Looks Back

Jayne Cortez (1936 - )

I crisscrossed with Monk
Wailed with Bud
Counted every star with Stitt
Sang "Don't Blame Me" with Sarah
Wore a flower like Billie
Screamed in the range of Dinah
& scatted "How High the Moon" with Ella Fitzgerald
as she blew roof off the Shrine Auditorium
                     Jazz at the Philharmonic

I cut my hair into a permanent tam
Made my feet rebellious metronomes
Embedded record needles in paint on paper
Talked bopology talk
Laughed in high-pitched saxophone phrases
Became keeper of every Bird riff
every Lester lick
as Hawk melodicized my ear of infatuated tongues
& Blakey drummed militant messages in
soul of my applauding teeth
& Ray hit bass notes to the last love seat in my bones
I moved in triple time with Max
Grooved high with Diz
Perdidoed with Pettiford
Flew home with Hamp
Shuffled in Dexter's Deck
Squatty-rooed with Peterson
Dreamed a "52nd Street Theme" with Fats
& scatted "Lady Be Good" with Ella Fitzgerald
as she blew roof off the Shrine Auditorium
                     Jazz at the Philharmonic


Jazz Fantasia

Carl Sandburg (1878 - 1967)

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 hushahusha-hush with the slippery sand-paper.

Moan like an autumn wind high in the lonesome tree-tops, 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.


239th Chorus

Jack Kerouac (1922 – 1969)

And how sweet a story it is
When you hear Charlie Parker
tell it,
Either on records or at sessions,
Or at official bits in clubs,
Shots in the arm for the wallet,
Gleefully he Whistled the

Anyhow, made no difference.

Charlie Parker, forgive me-
Forgive me for not answering your eyes-

For not having an indication
Of that which you can devise-
Charlie Parker, pray for me-
Pray for me and everybody
In the Nirvanas of your brain
Where you hide, indulgent and huge,
No longer Charlie Parker
But the secret unsayable name
That carries with it merit
Not to be measured from here

To up, down, east, or west-
-Charlie Parker, lay the bane,
off me, and every body