Friday, January 22, 2016

Jack Douthitt's Jazz Tanka

Tonight as the snow storm continues I'd like to post some of Jack Douthitt's jazz tanka.  The first responds to Stephane Grapelli (who is depicted above).

Stephane Grappelli
Runnin’ Wild

piano riff opens
then the violin
runs wild
like Paganini
never imagined

I'm always happy to see a poet who is inspired by "Sing, Sing, Sing," one of my favorites.

Benny Goodman
Sing Sing Sing
1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert

The band ripped
Carnegie Hall apart
with Sing Sing Sing.
We danced in the aisles
happy and exuberant

(first published in Riffin’Around
a chapbook by Jack Douthitt)

Count Basie
One O’Clock Jump
Count Basie at Newport

Basie plinks
piano and bass noodle
the rest of the band
can’t stay quiet…
because it’s one o’clock

I hope that you enjoy Jack's jazz tanka.  I always enjoy publishing a new-to-me poet, and this time he has brought a new-to-this-blog-zine poetic form.  Now that I am teaching my online poetry course again, I am looking forward to sharing these and other poems with my students!

Let's finish with some music to go with these poems.

Here is a live version of "Runnin' Wild" from 1937,  Django Reinhardt joins Grappelli in this performance.

Grappelli plays with David Grisman here:  "Sweet Georgia Brown" is a very appropriate song as I have the Warriors game going in the background.

There are many different versions of "Sing, Sing, Sing," but this version is the 1938 Carnegie Hall one:

This video of "Stompin at the Savoy" includes a montage of Goodman and his orchestra:

This version of Count Basie's "One O'Clock Jump" is from 1943:

Count Basie joins with Sinatra on "Fly Me to the Moon" here:

Enjoy, and stay safe in this storm!


  1. Just a wonderful display of words and sound to rise to on a cold Saturday morning in St. Louis. Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie take me back many years to 8th grade parties in someone's basement with largely innocent kids of those times dancing to Glen Miller's "In the Mood." When someone put Sinatra's "Moonlight in Vermont" on the phonograph, we all knew it was time to go home. A different world and a different time but I miss it still, David Bowie notwithstanding.

  2. Donal,
    I could not improve on what you have just said. Those parties were such fun, the phonograph's arm falling on the record, the sound, rhythm, the dancing, sometimes close. It sure was a different world. My parents had all the original recordings of Glen Miller--for Grandma's victrola. We still have a bunch of them, 78's I think. Anyway, the tanka are wonderful. Congratulations on your fine sound.