The other day I was very pleased to receive two poems from Glen Armstrong for the 1930s contest. Technically speaking, James Brown was not a jazz musician, but I am happy to include him and Glen's poem this evening.
Living at the Apollo
I am James Brown
and his Famous Flames
if strangers would just listen
as I pass them on the street
they would learn new dance steps
they would gather under-
things and flowers
to toss my way
once I have spilled
upon the sidewalk my entire heart
they would wrap my cape
around me and walk me home.
As I mentioned to Glen, if I receive ten good poems about Ornette Coleman, I will print them all. Tonight here is one very good poem!
Requiem for Ornette Coleman
If tempted to question or explain that scattered song reaching out in every direction, sit for a moment and listen.
The sigh and the holler are one.
Futility. Love. Initiation. (Damn those recurring white sheets.) Installation. Of lightning. Of trouble. Of staves into paper. Strength in the face of weariness.
Genres and best-of’s fall short.
This sort of blues contains no sort of. More committed than the clock is to ticking, the heart to pulsing. The wave washes over the mechanism.
One must stare the juxtaposition down to understand America: the rat sniff rose / the soaring footprint / the bardic o well / Omerica / free of home / Ohm’s law calculated to points unknown.
Let's finish with some music. Since it's Christmas, let's start with one of James Brown's seasonal songs "Santa Claus, Go Straight to the Ghetto":
This version of "It's a Man's World" is *live*: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBLNYuKLYD0
"I Got the Feelin'" is live at the Apollo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypIafBAaLqg
Also live is this version of Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSmYTc1Jv7w
On "Buddha Blues" Coleman plays the suona, a Chinese instrument that resembles the oboe.
I'll finish with his "Free" from Change of the Century: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoJpDPx_qNo
I hope that you'll consider entering the contests! For more information, see this link: