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'Music'

July 2017


 02/08/2017


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John Coltrane’s "A Love Supreme": A Short Appreciation


In honor of the 50th year since the transition of John Coltrane, I follow these words with a creative review of A Love Supreme.

A Love Supreme, Part I – Acknowledgement

Coltrane punctuates the rhythm on time, a clarion call for a change that must come. His own notes were a change too at the time. His rhythmic expression that sets the tone for the chant is a construction of theory even as he is in action an acknowledgement how the two are united.

A Love Supreme, Part II – Resolution

Jimmy Garrison’s meditative contrabass segue is a pause for a new direction, theory embodied in a simpler, more understated way – another way to a call to action. Resolution, then, is resolving contradictions of theory and practice. The bassline is a call to meditation and to action in its brevity as the ensemble enters.

A Love Supreme, Part III – Pursuance

Drummer Elvin Jones enters at the center with his solo emerging as a call to freedom, that “pursuance” of what is deep inside humanly, that is, of what is internal to us as humans desiring freedom, peace, justice, equality, of how we achieve these goals as we struggle. To do so, we must find moments to identify what resides at the center of the discourse, what may be powerful even in understated moments.

A Love Supreme, Part IV – Psalm

Coltrane invites us to a synthesis of Acknowledgement, Resolution, Pursuance – the colors of liberation are weaved through the dreamscape here. What can be ominous – such as in the drums – is instead intriguing, actually, thought-provoking. In other words, prayerful: it calls to justice-seekers who rightly hear messages amid wordless interplay.

© Ángel L. Martínez 29-31 july 17
The Bread is Rising Poetry Collective 

 


 

Let the Chant of Bebop Flow

(John Coltrane’s Music)

As the morning rises on this day of July of 1967
You have made a transition and became an ancestor
And in part of the earth and each part of each other
A page of history: Amiri Baraka was in jail
Newark and Detroit had sparked a rebellion
For freedom, justice, and equality
Fifty moons ago
John Coltrane was a natural light
Like notes and sounds of the alto saxophone
Lifted our soul and harmony into our lives
Like wading over water
Trane shares his heart and soul
In a limited time space
Like Blue Train, Kusimama, Giant Steps, and My Favorite Things
Moving together with the best of everything
Only rhythms that are happy flow as Love Supreme takes over
It was a gift and a journey that Trane was on time
Soon, the Sun will warm us
And a pow wow will circle Central Park to heal us
As Buffy Sainte-Marie lifts our spirit in a universal chant
For Standing Rock and Split Rock
A Tribe Called Red led us into a Ghost Dance
For the eagle to fly free, Leonard Peltier,
A family reunion on the 49th year of Old Timers Day
Echoes of cha cha cha and mambo and guaguancó surrounds the air
Listen to La Lupe, the Queen of Latin Soul
Lo tuyo es puro teatro
As a Grito of El Barrio is Not for Sale
Of the mask of the neoliberal gentrifier
Hell, no!
And Joe Bataan speaks a Latin boogaloo of My Cloud and Ordinary Guy
Telling the truth of working class culture
And now the Old School can’t stop
Billy Stewart singing “sitting in the park waiting for you”
And Pete Rodriguez sharing his words “I like it like that”
On the 70th anniversary of the James Weldon Johnson Residence
A family affair as I lift my pen with all my poems
Of an old doo wop melody of honoring my brother Pedro Carlos
With a friendly smile as Little Anthony and the Imperials sing
“I am on the outside looking in,
I don' wanna be, I don' wanna be left on the outside”
This is life

© Carlos Raúl Dufflar 7/7/17
The Bread is Rising Poetry Collective

 



Reminiscenses

Turning radio on
to listen a popular song
about "Yesterday was Saturday"
and a quiet voice:
"Can you turn sound down, please?"

Singing folk songs
with my sister and her friend.
"You suppose to sing first voice."
"O.K., O.K. I'll not try
to listen to the duet."

Paul Anka singing
above swimming pool.
"You have to lay still
for very long time
if you want to get
clover leaf on your belly right."

Sweaty hands on my back
after the midnight.
"Lets go home."
"How are we going
to shake them off?"

Bach's concert in the church.
And
the music,
temporary, pop,
and classic, always classic.

A picnic in the park
with playing band.
I hear a voice of woman
who lives one floor above:
"I am going to kill that drummer."
"Good night."

Marie Neumann
POW!




Love is an Alphabet


Awakening to the sun’s weak rays; only just managing to filter through the voile curtain, draped gypsy style, covering the expanse of cheap double glazing – Leah let the music wash over her. ‘Blue Moon, you saw me standing alone...’

Choking back the lump forming in her dry throat, Leah scolded herself; it’s only a song, with words written by someone who didn’t even know her. Didn’t know how longingly, she had, as a young girl, stared through a single pane of glass, as the cycle of the moon, rotated with the passing into womanhood.

Echoing the dulcet tone.. ‘Without a dream in my heart..’ Leah stayed one beat behind, her cognitive skills, a little slower now. Feeling for the volume switch, she allowed the song to rise, to lift her back, to the night she saw him across the dance floor. Gracefully the couples had swept between them and she had longed to join in, to feel the freedom of lifting feet, in pulsating abeyance to the singer, crooning his tune in time with the band ‘you knew just what I was there for...’

Heady from the two glasses of Champagne, she had found herself smiling openly at him, as he returned her gaze, through the moving bodies.
Ill at ease, with the fabric of her frock, not falling below her knees, Leah recalled trying to pull it down against all its stiffened resistance. Just like her mother, the material hadn’t given an inch.

Keeping her wandering mind focused was challenging, but she must get to the end of the song, or else she may have lost him forever.

Leah once more let the only remaining clear memories engulf her frail mind.

‘May I have the pleasure of asking you to dance?’ Nervously, his tremulous voice had caused her to lift her eyes from the fixation of seeing her shapely calves encased only in sheer nylon.

Oh, the temerity of saying yes ‘of course you may’ caused her heart to leap, even now – as the song continued ‘and then there suddenly appeared before me, the only one my arms will ever hold...’

Putting her slim hand into his, she had allowed him to lead her directly under the rotating glitter ball, its twinkling light illuminating dancing patches of fairy dust on the polished floor. Quivering, at first, like two birds in new flight, they had let the music lead them, melting into the 4/4 time of the Foxtrot. Rotating together, two as one combined, eyes locked, her blue moon had turned to gold.

She remembered getting home late, her mother waiting for her, the hand across the face, not even in her grave; which would come soon enough; would she ever forget that - the sheer humiliation, and the hand that had shattered her beautiful evening.

Uselessly, she had pleaded, and locked in her room, the only moonlight, came through the unchanging single pane of glass. Vacant years followed, till her mother breathed her last, releasing her, but it was too late.

‘Without a dream in my heart – without a love of my own...’
“But I had a love once, real love” Leah’s broken voice cried at the radio. “Xavier, I want to dance, are you there?”

Yellow sunlight, a mellow shade of gold fell upon the coverlet, embracing Leah’s cold face. Zephyr wind, warm from the west, carried his answer and putting her wrinkled hand into his, she allowed him to lead her directly under the rotating glitter ball.

Footnote - Written from a challenge - a story with all beginnings of sentences following the order of the alphabet. I have lifted out of my story the 'style' for writing group homework - write a story'poem including using lyrics of a song within it (doesn't have to follow alphabet order - that's a different workshop)

Jan Hedger
WOW
 


MUSIC
COMFORT AND ME


I have to be comfortable with me
To love me
Regardless to my disabilities
Even though sometimes I feel very down
I have to be comfortable with me
To love who I am
To discuss with the world
Inside my soul
I have to be comfortable with me
I have to
Or my words will sink
Into a great big hole
Why should I let this comfort I feel for me
Die a natural death
Just because disabilities
Have claimed me

Why? I should let
the beauty I feel cry
Through all this music
The music that grasps me
One day, regardless
Music will be heard,
Through my soul
Through the world
Through the atmosphere of the planet
Into the hearts of others
You see,
My comfort, and me
Will survive
and dance,
and dance,
and dance...

(C) Josie Lawson
10/07/2017
All Rights Reserved
GROW

 


 

Improvisation

The guitar sings to me
my fingers stumble
the me
lody catches me
my fingers fly
away among the winds of time
and long forgotten pathways
away across the ocean
blue and wandering
deep and still
beyond sound and sense
and through the crashing waves of light
to tremble on a distant shore
to walk and seek
and ask for more
time to dance and
time to play
and search for you and me
to say I love you now
loved you before
love you for ever
infinity calls the tune
the rhythm is in the falling leaves
in sunlight gleaming on morning dew
in winter frosts
the soft scent of spring
in every soul that's ever been

and all the moments of creation's dream
my fingers stumble
the guitar sings
and love is in the air.

Lucia Birch
August 2009
Stevenage Survivors

 



Caught in Flamenco (Espinela)

She danced around the olive trees
In hot and fiery Spanish mood
Dark, fluid, seductively lewd
For man, strumming guitar on knee.

Beyond the town where no-one sees
Without distraction to encroach
Her drive for dance beyond reproach
Her yearning for him as intense
For nothing else could recompense
Raven haired beauty; that he’d woke.

Jan Hedger
WOW

 



MUSIC POWER

I entered the bar, I felt like an alien,
In a place that I didn’t belong,
I was glared at and stared at.
So I started to sing my song.
Then a guy on a harmonica joined in,
Accompanied by a chap on guitar.
I sang louder and much stronge
r,
They began to join in round the bar.
With the power of the music I felt ok.
As though, at last I began to belong.
When I finished, they asked for another.
You see; that is the power of a song!

Jim White
Individual




SO KIND


I no sooner find the music of life
When it finds a hole
The sounds screech and cry
like a bell in a church finds a lost soul
It beautifies with the summer and the stars
And it senses the notes that many find
So kind, so kind the music of life
Music, it climbs through the screeching hole
And finds the joy that the hole tried to hide
But how can music fade away
When love of sound should never die
Music can live through a deaf ear
Even though it is hard to hear
You realise what you once heard
Sings in your heart, your memory
Your soul

(c) Josie Lawson
4/07/2017
All Rights Reserved
GROW 





Artwork by John Joseph sheehy

     



 

The Funeral Vocal Music

The song sung the man had music in his voice
As he continued to sing various instruments
Were playing in his voice music instruments
No one spoke sneezed or coughed in the crowded church
No one moved the singer remained seated
All through his song the corpse in the coffin
May have moved and stirred by this voice
The corpse connecting to this music power voice
The song sung had music in his voice vocal music

John Joseph Sheehy



Musician's Testament

 

“Being a living legend is such a precarious livelihood. What a ducking of responsibility!” (John Cale)

“Success means being worried about everything else except money” (Johnny Cash)

I’m putting down this last eyewitness account leading up to zero hour because all the registers have gone into the red; everything’s going to blow. If I am stopped in mid-sentence, that will be far more meaningful than anything fully articulated, anything remotely retrospective.
The circuits are overloaded – all the knobs are turned up at full blast; the membranes are bloated with acrid gas – within a hair’s breadth of splitting. There’s a mass of lig
hts winking through the window, threading through the cobwebs. Any one of them may parallel the final signal. This chewed-up, cracked biro may burst before everything else does.

It’ll have to be me or the world, so I’m saying it’s got to be the world, because I am the world. I got the tip-off on the cusp of my high, and everyone else will be swept into the chasm before me. Even as it yawns, that brooding cavern threatens to vomit its poison. Only the ignorant will survive to benefit. Soon the industrial archaeologists will have a great time rooting out where the mines were. Such fragments will give those grimed, bedraggled survivors some skeletal guides to their reconstruction work. Shades of ditching schoolbooks and hitting the road!

There’ll be overloaded, short-circuited amplifiers in sync with the next terrorist attack. I hope that blast of sirens in the background is in sync with its prevention.

All sentient beings have witnessed mingling, fleeting bondings – and sensed the great dispersal, trampled over fragmentary gellings of scraped, scarred survival. They have faced, and assumed, all the moulded postures of rebellion, some true, the majority false. They see, and they are, the half-moulded, half-pushed egos ravaged, broken by penury and bilious credit alike, nonentities bloated by the gas of half-digested models. Hypochondriac anarchy is counterpointed against real estate investment. Grimy grindings between half bars, petulant hisses and spits in fatuous, hair-splitting copyright wrangles. All the oceans are now a dull, murky grey.

My mirror focuses me on those who struggled to crack their frames: after they had succeeded, they became retrospectively embittered by their flecked rainbow bubble success, gazing on the fragments of their broken frames – splinters and paint-gunged sawdust. I recall the background of massed, bulging bin-liners during the dustmen’s strike, garages filled with howls of desperation, sometimes honed by loose connections, flip-side to the synchronicity of amplifiers and diesel engines.

Slouching in his squat, remote-control bleeping the organic video camera inside his cranium’ teenage jab of the first jack-plug insertion. First flash of the PA, fear of the private self, terror of the shrieking, waving public aura, desperation at the stifling refuges of comfort. None have escaped jittering through the lash of the broken string, trembling through the rampaging feedback, flailing at the short circuit.
Decades of fashion – whirling, defying linearity, through beaming contradictions of retro. I see faded tints of rockabilly grease, crowning abandoned beer-bellies; they prod my remote memories of Picture Post.

Some were told “we like you, but I’m afraid we can’t sell you”. Some opted for clinical coiffure, rediscovered pinstripes, some huddled in Benefit-propped withdrawal, with all its worn gentility. Low-profile managers and accountants modulated between the two poles of fashion.
I thought that Sixties song The Free Electric Band was really quite silly, though it did highlight the emptiness of bogus rebellion. How many saw through it? How many will always respect a hit when the revulsion it engenders is there for all to see? When I started out, there was none of today’s demystifying biography around. But then all were sneered at by the gagged and sheltered as helpless pawns, gaga narcissistic cretins. Now so many on both sides are bloated with fictitious wisdom.

Initially ridiculed with infantilizing smiles, gagged and muffled as a noise nuisance, crass shatterers of the translucent porcelain palace of taste. Could time go on, rolling its wheel, catching up with its own tail when rejection melted into acceptance, when relentless clockwise motion engendered an anti-clockwise mirage.

Heralded by cumulative shredded eardrums, the waves have rolled; the boundaries of censorship have been pushed to sub-flyover walls – so vulnerable to graffiti. Manhandling-battered sounds systems huddle under their frayed tarpaulins.

* * *

Now, in bold enlightenment, the casualty roster is faithfully displayed in retrospective Top of the Pops broadcasts. So many just trapped by exhaustion, so many more by strobe-light fixation. But how many of their respectable equivalents are In straits essentially every bit as dire, but swishly disguised, rank corruption percolating with infinite subtlety through the pinstripes, the laundered creases? The banal, the ugly and the bizarre often attract just as much attention as does the presentable.

Everyone knows that the charts are as capricious as fruit machines. Bristling macho strutting are vainly but honestly mirrored in flirtations with androgyny. Disparate, polarized souls, showing the common denominator of crumbling tower blocks – and stale, seedy boarding school quadrangles.

Where to locate and batten down the crude riffs, where to corral the wild, exploratory chromatics? Fifties survivors – bloated, greased and ebullient. Then all that yawning at old-time knees-ups drenched in Sixties nostalgia. Rubbed vinyl straining to plummet to nothing – then, centrifugally, to reascend.

Shades of busking in the old days, before it moved up-market and got licensed – furtively shivering, feeling on the periphery of crime, breath ever-bated for the looming of a uniform round the corner – sigh of relief at the cast-off coin that once tipped the scales for me top buy a loaf of bread – then close up the torn, perforated gunny sack.
Squatting in crusading paranoia, inspiration counterpointed against dust and cigarette ends.

“If you’re really talented and brilliant, it’s a burden to have all that, it seems it’s almost a fairy book thing, like love has to come and make the beat into a prince” (John Cale)
Rasping, labored breaths of warning reticence heave in the background, inflating the skin of hypertension so that it stretches the crash barriers to a hair’s breadth of bursting. Fear always gives an edge – to any performance. A fragile fledgling fled in panic from the paparazzi, from the autograph hungry, and flipped the brittle coin of sycophantic derision. The fruit machine made a gratified grin: it knew it would always take more.

Squeezings of the bent notes from beer-soaked, rust-proofed harmonicas wail forth, making ripples in jaws and microphones. Feedback constantly reverts to its spontaneity – must be highly stimulating for those at the mixing desk – reminds me of I am a Lonesome Guitar Strangler. Smashing impulses of the Destruction in Art Symposium, wrecked instruments, defective from the workshop, or written off against insurance?
“Contradictory viewpoints are important because they show the richness of a character.” (John Cale)

There is a centrifugal force of the common stimulus, reaching to penury and glutted luxury – from the goad of being pushed to steal, to the draconian magnet of having pampered access to all the destructive agents and their corresponding therapies; from cardboard and junk-stall box to de-luxe custom built, to break out of poverty and then to go crashing right into it – to blow and to invest conjointly – shared perspective of the dank cell and the chocolate-box restored palace.

Most of the hard-thinking, the great utterers, need their reference points of shallowness – whereon they can skate, fall and get bruised, periodically cracking their surfaces. In response to intensive research, most now accept that the greatest disasters can be the greatest catalysts. The roving cameras get everywhere, and all the celebrities’ greatest catastrophes are revealed by the universal leveler. How does it all work out? The retainer fee, only awarded to the ultimately desirable, is so abysmally pathetic in real terms.
Those first exhibitionistic gestures before the
mirrors, the desperate urge to break out of the dead-end rut. The followers’ matching desperation for a brief respite from their interlinked ruts, blindly piling up detritus. Retro youth club shindigs with punctuating explosions, fanning out into binge-drinking desperation.

The fabric of security is disintegrating all around us. How much security can the radiation zone of one powerful, destructive individual wreak. How many struggling souls truly live in conscious anticipation of posthumous idolatry? What are their inner feelings about what is rejected in temporal terms?

There’s a perpetual game of cat and mouse with the media-greedy – interchangeable roles, running away from them at every angle, chasing them round every corner. There’s often a sense of an egg-timer emptying, of ideas getting diluted. The relationship with mortality is ever ambiguous; aspirants rush both away from it and into it.

* * *

Rutted gig-ride in rusty, grinding, clapped-out van; sable eructations shivering, frayed in the face of biting sleet and seeping drizzle. The obsessed, poised to retch in a whirling haze, tightening the pulse-clamps on their arms, clambered up the rusted, giddy escalator, oblivious of the choking tinderbox beneath them – laced wills overwhelming into the pull of the opposite direction. You want to smash up the very thing you want to break into.

Paralysed in a traffic jam between gigs. Great dream of being the ultimate villainous genius in the condemned cell, with infinite recording facilities – multi-track, sampling, available for the ‘last request’. There might even be dreams of the reverb unit getting connected to the Electric Chair.
Bleeding momentarily from a snapped string – then blackened and clotted, brushed off and flushed as crumbling detritus. Loose valves and split reeds on saxes, thwarting their serpentine bends. In those circumstances, saliva often has a double value. Some lumps are dough to the core, others have grit inside. For those who like to treat them as apples, the teeth get chipped when they bite. The pathetic and the repulsive generate their own magnetism. When life is circular, the illusion of reverse motion becomes real, straddling the boundaries of pain and vanity.

Mountainous banks of levers and speakers; thrub of the Carnival, striving for the epicenter. But now ever more people are realizing their dreams at home – glued in comfort, doped even out of boredom by indefinite flickers. Downloading becomes universal; virtual reality becomes actual – instant image-manipulation, available to all – ever reflectable on oneself. Now there are lenses tailored to every purpose, every angle, every distance. Nine-day wonders proliferate and shrivel – perpetual succession of houses of cards, instantly collapsible. But where would life be without a bit of gambling?

Belching barrages of plasticine emptiness make the shallow grades. Mega-drumkits, multi-brass, make a cliché of yawning, reciprocated thunder. Happily counterpointed flirtations with politics get under the skins of the sneering and patronizing. Placards and sandwich boards flap, buffeting their definition. Slogans have the dynamics of riffs. Snarls and bits of scrabbling rats with their copyright wrangles – an arm and a leg for a bar and a half.

Thin, brittle sounds deeply reverberating. Feelings aroused and titillated, feelings anaesthetized. So many figures, so many personalities turned, two-dimensional, flattened by the flickering strobe-sequence. One if left to debate the necessity of mantras. Masses are burnt out through their sweat, powdered into the aftermath of skeletons.

Rippling cross-references of crossovers; sophistication giving itself draughts of new nourishment. Grinding, blistering cartridges of shellac in the old record factory.
Buffeting crowd, spilled beer further downtrodden, wrangling around the cashbox. Bruising blows scattered, drenched, coins like confetti, banknotes ever more crumpled. Somebody had the equivalent of a getaway car.

The Gretsch looked a little warped. In what direction is it going? The demagogue pressurizing wounds, the comforter, the provocateur with only the most under-cover of cheerleaders.

The politics, the disruptions, the terrifying but invigorating crowd – confused, grubby cash from abysmally paying gigs. Battering migraines counterpointed against jutting sofa wires – shivering with the morning dew at its least poetic: out of the sleeping-bags, around the block – pending opening of the dingy café.

Giddy, hyper, exhausted, careering in second- and third-wind clouds, burning more with apparent recharging, sweating into emaciation. Everybody’s chasing consumer rainbows, which can never occur with uninterrupted sunlight. Maybe some pollution lends a bit of grit to life. It all goes round in circles, dependent as it was on the spool and is on the disc.

So many get sunk in despair, accompanied by noble rhetoric about those who ‘sell out’, wallowing in the warps of might-have-beens.

The symbol of the toothpaste tube is highly versatile. Squeezing the tube, pounding the riffs sometimes grown tired. Of course, the highly dedicated often have bad breath. In some perverse way it makes me think of masses of electrician’s tape, abandoned to periodic twists, and giant insulated pliers always a necessity.

It seems no longer essential to get things right first time.
Deafening applause clinches images of cohesion, and the cameras grab them for glossy regurgitation. But the backstage friction is sometimes captured; never-ends get frayed – there are splits and wrangles, where publicity smiles get stretched and twisted.

Ever get the feeling that a handful of them have lurched and stumbled to safety by treading on rafts of corpses: fame has always run parallel to war – but now, with the advent of terrorism, it has gained linear proximity. Agents’ pawns and true originals seethe at each other.

. . . No man has contributed more than me in my original compositions to produce that exaggerated and false taste. (Lord Byron, Letter to Isaac Disraeli, 1920)
Models and footballers occasionally make their sound-blunders. Lurking mobs go one remove from a tabloid-friendly newsreel; countless masses such the dummies of headphones.

But what about those ‘oh-so-nice’ ones, getting oh-so-groomed; stiff, wincing singing teachers sharpening their poise and pose like artists oh-so-elegant 6B pencils? What about all those at limited removes from lookalikes, empty copies with diluted visual reinforcement?

Myriad scarf-waving, blending into unison chorus: how much of it is spontaneity, how much blind servitude to fashion? How many get truly fulfilled, all drenched in the mud? Still, such activities help rotate the years, activate the never-dying magnet.

Vinyl sank and rose again, the digital probes onward. Looping riffs forever hold their sway. Pulsing with the bass and drums, pushing – squeezing fantasies through congealed mass migraines, worrying visible veins – varicose and non-varicose. Vision expansion – beaming, sassy, inner bounce or intrinsic brittleness? Street corners littered with glittering obsolete equipment.

David Russell


 

Song

Verse
Ever found something laying on your mind
Ever found something you can't get out your mind
There's a place to go
A place we all must know

Chorus
It is Heaven on earth
A place everyone needs to find
Heaven on earth
The place you can leave the pain behind
This is for me, this is for you

Verse
Everyone has demons you need to get rid of
But you've got good things to help get them off
There's a place you can go
A place you need to know

Chorus

Verse
Think
of all those good things, those nice things that you've done
Carry o
n with those things, all the nice and fun
There's a place out there for all of us to go
It's a fun place that you should know

Chorus

Verse
We all want to go there
To a place that really cares
Look up and around
Take in every sight and sound
Think of birds, and of trees
The place you want to be
I described the place, the place for you and me

Chorus

Ending
Think of Heaven. Those gates to Heaven

Chorus
Chorus to fade

Jamie Fidget 



***





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