Saturday, July 5, 2014

Takuya Kuroda and Kris Bowers

In the 1970s, Dr. Billy Taylor argued that "jazz is America's classical music" (qtd in Wilkins ).  However, the music has gone far beyond our borders (I am speaking as an American).  California-born poet and editor Felino A. Soriano proves this in his poem inspired by the Japanese trumpeter Takuya Kuroda.  (Kuroda is now based in Brooklyn.)

toward smile and its fundamental creation

                                                                   —for Takuya Kuroda

of this listening
and the burgeon of sound
syncopates among
dexterous fascinations amid
these wings and oscillating breathing hands


soliloquies demonstrate preferences of
solitude, silence, danceable articulations
against mirror and/or varied languages
                     styles of brass-blown rhythms
linking into a bouquet’s center
the scent strong and elongated

with gift
sways and

converts hope
into an augmented elation of

Right now I am enjoying his album Rising Son (2014):

Here is a link to his website:  It is quite attractive and contains informative essays.

Soriano has also been inspired by Kris Bowers, an American pianist who has played with Kuroda.  Bowers also won the 2011 Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition!  The poem, below, refers to his work with Jose James.

introverted dance and its electronic configurations

                                                                   —for Kris Bowers

this hall
which leads

a talkative brand of paralleling
visceral exhalations

into each
rolled species of extracting
syllables’ reinforced multiple meanings,
gained and by gathering what leaps from
a spiraling direction of blue/green/gold
led kaleidoscopic configurations

this hall

slim though populated
into pageantries of embracing
eclectic embraces—

never sends silence or
its synonym for chaotic

Here’s the link to Bowers playing with Jose James; Bowers’ solo starts at 3:38 into the video:

Bowers performs a cover of Kendrick Lamar's "Rigamortis" here:

For more information about him, see his biography:

Poet Felino A. Soriano has written numerous poems inspired by jazz and philosophy, including these  written for 5 of his favorite pianists, Jason Moran, Thelonious Monk, Robert Glasper, Vijay Iyer, and Ethan Iverson:

He is also the founding editor and publisher of both Counterexample Poetics, a site for experimental work,, and the publisher Differentia Press:   He has recently founded the journal Of/With:  Its first issue will appear in September.  In addition, he is an editor at Sugar Mule and is currently working on a special issue for that journal:

Felino also includes a link to a recent interview with Icebox Journal:

He notes that this interview conveys of his writing process, something that will be useful to those of you who are interested in developing your writing process further and/or approaching our project of writing poetry in response to jazz.  I would also recommend going back to the original call for poems and listening to some of the YouTube videos there.  YouTube is an incredible resource, but so is WBGO and its Jazz Bee  The Jazz Bee is a special channel for emerging artists although they don't seem to be playing them tonight.

For more see, his bio at his website:

Enjoy!  I'm glad to publish Felino's poems since they respond to some of our younger, newer, and most exciting artists as well as to the experimental aspect of jazz.  

If you would like to contribute to this blog's series of poems inspired by young and not-so-young jazz musicians, here is the original call for poems:

You may also like Avis D. Matthews' "Metaphorical":

I encourage you to read, comment, and contribute!  Jazz is so diverse.


  1. Beautiful stuff Marianne! I feel honored to be invited to contribute some of my art to your blog. As you may or may not know, I love jazz and often have it playing while I am painting. I also have a poem I may dig up--called "Way Back" that you might enjoy. It was inspired by a jazz piece I heard back in Eugene. It was great! Called, I thought, though I could be wrong, "Jazz, She Is A Woman" all about how jazz came out of Africa and landed in NYC. Haven't seen or heard it since however. If you could point me to it, that would be most appreciated.

    1. I'm so happy you'll be able to contribute, Bea! "Way Back" is a great piece to post here. I will check with Ethan about "Jazz, She Is a Woman." He knows all about that music--unless it was a piece by a local musician. If we can't find it, we can't find it, and I'll post something else.

    2. Also, I'll post your poem on Wed., July 23. :)