Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Bryn Fortey Completes the Spring/Summer Poems

As the spring/summer contests wind down to a close, I'm pleased to see how British poet Bryn Fortey has "brought us home," as they say.  Both of his poems invoke important women in jazz music, so they are wonderful poems to end the spring/summer with.


Listening to firmly struck keyboard
And voice capable of horny seduction
Able to bludgeon or soothe
From song to song
From mood to mood
She can grab me by heart or balls
I don’t complain
Just as long as next tune kicks in
The chords and structure
Of her interpretation
Sweeping me to an orgy of adulation

Praise be to you Nina
I hope in death you found your god
I’ve found your music
And that will have to do for me

Bryn Fortey

Previously published in MERRY-GO-ROUND And Other Words (The Alchemy Press) 2014.


Lil Hardin ranked with
Such as Jelly Roll Morton
Among the greats
Of early jazz piano

Playing for King Oliver
She tutored the unsophisticated Louis
Becoming ambitious on his behalf
Hot Fives
Hot Sevens
Solo Stardom
She was the gal who guided
While he just wanted to play

Their friendship lasted
Surviving divorce
And she herself died
After performing at a 
Louis tribute concert

Amen, sister

Bryn Fortey

Previously unpublished.

Let's start with some of Lil Hardin Armstrong's music.  As Margaret Moos Pick points out, the "second Mrs. Armstrong" was not only a skilled musician but also a composer.  If you'd like to learn more about LHA, by the way, here is a link to Ms. Pick's essay:  http://riverwalkjazz.stanford.edu/program/my-heart-story-lil-hardin-armstrong

I'll start with her "Got No Blues," which she recorded in 1927 as part of the Louis Armstrong Hot Five:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1DNA4q14fM

After the breakup of her marriage, she continued to performs.  Here is one of her songs, "It's Murder," done with the swing orchestra that she led:

Another of her songs was "Oriental Swing":  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIMhJjEl90A

I do want to return to Nina Simone's music as well.

I'll start with her "Mississippi Goddam": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVQjGGJVSXc

This version of her "Work Song" was done on the Merv Griffin Show:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfQNdwgvJMw

I'll finish with her "I Put a Spell on You": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ua2k52n_Bvw

Thank you for a wonderful spring/summer!  I will be posting the winning poems in these contests soon.

1 comment:

  1. So glad to find a moment to appreciate what you shared! Looking forward to knowing and sharing more !!