D.C. poet Brenardo concludes the summer contest with his poem "Yellow," which was inspired by the jazz-fusion group, Yellowjackets. I really like that this poem depicts the musicians themselves on stage as well as the impression that the music makes.
I hope that at some point Brenardo has recorded this poem on YouTube as he is an excellent performer. We both took Michael Oliver and Elizabeth Bruce's Acting for Writers course this summer, and Brenardo's reading was one of the highlights at our performance on the last day. Furthermore, that evening, he was going to perform again at the 14th Annual D.C. Poetry Festival, so perhaps YouTube has a video of his work, if not of "Yellow."
MIGHT BE THE COLOR OF SOME TRUE LOVE’S HAIR
IS SURELY THE COLOR OF THE GROOVE WE SHARE
IN THIS LAIR
THE COLOR OF THE JACKETS WE WEAR
IN OUR MUSICAL MINDS
TIC TOCS DROPPED BY MARCUS’S SNARE
JIMMY RUNNING UP AND DOWN THE BASS LIKE STAIRS
RUSSELL RUSTLING CHORDS AND TONES OVER HEAR, THEN, OVER THERE
BOB BOBBING AND WEAVING, ERSTWHILE LEAVING TRAPESE SOARING, LIFTING, TWISTING WITHOUT CARES
RHYTHMS NIMBLE HIGH HAT, SYMBOLS, SYNCOPATED, ORCHESTRATED, CROWD GRACED, EMBRACES, CELEBRATES IT
BOOM THEN ZOOM FILLS ROOM WITH BASS, RACING, CROONING, LOOMING LARGE
PIANO CHARGING, PEAKS TO PAUSE, UNSPOKEN ARE OUR OOHS AND AHHS, MAJOR, MINORS, SPACED WELL PLACED
WIND COMES IN TO SEND THE FRENZY HIGHER
APPLAUSE ERUPTS WITH ALL INSPIRED
YELLOW IS THE COLOR OF THESE GROOVES WE WEAR
THESE MOVES THEY SHARE
THESE THINGS THEY DARE
WE ROCK, & BOP, WHILE YET IN CHAIRS
Below are some videos of Brenardo as he performs "It Takes a Village to Raise a Child" and "Heaven Help Us All" at the MLK Library in DC.
The Yellowjackets have had an extensive career, and various musicians have joined the group over the years. Their albums also feature a number of guest musicians, most recently the trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire whom we've heard at this site. Enjoy these selections from YouTube:
This video is by the most recent incarnation of the group: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbvABmqWUOU
Here guitarist Mike Stern plays with the group: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-93v5t_aL8
I just had to include this live clip from Hanover. It will also give some of us a better idea of what goes on in a jazz club: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUoHh8zv9-U
We'll finish with a few old cuts:
Below is a picture of the Yellowjackets from 2012.
Thank you for a wonderful summer contest. I have enjoyed meeting many poets and presenting their poems at The Song Is.. Next up will be a post with information about voting and the categories. In the meantime, enjoy "Yellow" and music by Yellowjackets.