Sunday, May 22, 2016

Requiem for Elvin and Philly Joe

I really love it when a new-to-me poet submits some poetry and it's about a (slightly) less well known musician. Thank you, Glen Armstrong, for sending along this tribute to Elvin and Philly Joe Jones.

Requiem for Elvin and Philly Joe

I’ve heard bodies
become music / become other bodies

experimental at first then
breathing / catching

asynchronous as all
phantasms must be

warming / returning
to a pulse

sometimes at night Pontiac Michigan

and the so-called Badlands
of Philadelphia

echo / ring / divide
as if by hand
and stick

dividing a ride cymbal
into unexpected 3s / galloping 4s
as if these cities

might at any moment


Glen Armstrong holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters and has three recent chapbooks:Set List (Bitchin Kitsch,) In Stone and The Most Awkward Silence of All (both Cruel Garters Press.) His work has appeared in Poetry NorthwestConduit and Cream City Review.


With all this emphasis on the drums, I feel like I am back grading papers again, playing lots of drum-heavy YouTube videos to keep me going.  (I just can't drink coffee anymore.)  But let's take a listen to some videos featuring both Philly Joe Jones and Elvin Jones.

Here they play their version of "Brown Sugar":

If you want to watch Philly Joe Jones in action, watch this clip of him from 1978:

It's not Halloween, and vampires are out of vogue now, but you might like "Blues for Dracula":

My husband has just vetoed "Blues for Dracula," so here is a video of Elvin Jones in action:

I'll finish up with his "Anti-Calypso":

There is a lot more that I could post, but I will finish now.  Enjoy!

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