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Victor Dlamini

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Wynton Marsalis in Concert

Wynton Marsalis

Wynton Marsalis

Wynton Marsalis


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Kelwyn Sole</a>
    Kelwyn Sole
    August 28th, 2011 @16:13 #

    So: what's your favourite jazz poem?

    To start things off:
    William Matthews: 'Bud Powell, Paris, 1959'; 'Mingus at the Showplace'
    Amiri Baraka: 'Am/Trak'; 'In the Tradition: for Black Arthur Blythe'
    Edward Hirsch: 'Art Pepper'
    Frank O'Hara: 'The Day Lady Died'
    Mark Doty: 'Almost Blue'

    and, SAfricanwise....

    Rob Berold: 'The Music'
    Keorapetse Kgositsile (several)
    Rustum Kozain: 'Mingus Octopus'; 'Talking Jazz'.....
    That sequence of poems by Abdullah Ibraham that begins "Joey had the biggest feet / so he played tenor"....

    "I thought I heard Buddy Bolden
    say, you're terrible Lester
    why do you want to be
    the president of all this
    of the blues and slow sideways
    horn, tradition of blue presidents
    locked up in the brig for wearing zoot suit army pants
    of marylous and notes hung vibrating blue just beyond just after
    just before just faster just slowly twilight crazier than europe or all its racist children
    bee-doo dee doo bee-doo dee doo doo (Arthur
    of shooters
    & silver fast dribblers
    & real fancy ***********
    fancy as birds' flight, sunward / high
    arcs / swoops / spirals
    in the tradition
    quarter notes
    eighth notes
    16th notes
    32nds, 64ths, 128ths, silver blue

  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    August 28th, 2011 @16:40 #

    Love "Mingus Octopus", Kelwyn.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Rustum Kozain</a>
    Rustum Kozain
    August 29th, 2011 @08:52 #

    Thanks for props. Don't forget Kelwyn's own jazz poems - "Mankunku", "Jazz", "The drum is a way of life", "Barney".

    Here's "Mankunku":

    Dark golden boat
    on a sea
    far away, rock with me
    rock with me:

    deep-throated bird
    gentle me home
    past the mud-lined street
    where thoughts stick fast
    and children pick rubbish

    the night flakes notes
    from the scalp of my sorrow -

    hide in my pillow
    and cry for me

  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    August 29th, 2011 @09:48 #

    Thanks, Rustum :)

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Kelwyn Sole</a>
    Kelwyn Sole
    August 29th, 2011 @10:58 #

    There's a very strong connection to Jazz by quite a few SA poets, especially (but not only) of my generation - Seitlhamo Motsapi's poems are full of jazz references; Ari Sitas has written whole cycles of 'musical' poems; it's deep in Berold's early work etc ... RB's 'The Music' has a reference to Koh-i-Noor, that amazing jazz shop that used to exist near Diagonal St in Jhb (does it still?) .....and Hillbrow Records, where Ian Mates used to work, went to Wits with me and got killed in a landmine ambush (he became a journalist) in El Salvador, 1973 - there's a ref to him in Carolyn Forche.

    Oh-oh. The reminiscences are starting again.

    I had never come across William Matthews before I started to read his jazz poetry. Quite amazing - lines you have to know jazz to get, and even then that no other poet would even dream of, like this one about Bud Powell.....

    I'd never seen pain so bland.
    Smack, though I didn't call it smack
    in 1959, had eaten his technique.
    His white-water right hand clattered
    missing runs nobody else would think
    to try, nor think to be outsmarted
    by. Nobody played as well
    as Powell, and neither did he,
    stalled on his bench between sets,
    stolid and vague, my hero,
    his mocha skin souring gray......

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Liesl</a>
    August 30th, 2011 @07:07 #

    Radiant and lovely photographs, Vic. Great poem connections, Kelwyn. My bliss is complete and it's just 7 am.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Kelwyn Sole</a>
    Kelwyn Sole
    August 30th, 2011 @08:57 #

    Two more very nice poems - Matthews on the 'Buddy Bolden Cylinder', and closer to home Berold's 'Sun ship'. There's a great pocket Everyman called 'Jazz Poems' (ed Kevin Young) that's worth checking out. There are inter alia poems that make the connection to written literature:

    I was miserable, of course, for I was seventeen,
    and so I swung into action and wrote a poem

    and it was miserable, for that was how I thought
    poetry worked: you digested experience and shat

    literature. It was 1960 at The Showplace, long since
    defunct, on West 4th St., and I sat at the bar ....

    ...And I knew Mingus was a genius. I knew two
    other things but as it happened they were wrong.

    So I made him look at the poem.
    "There's a lot of that going around", he said.......

    but seriously, there is a connection - jazz pushes you towards listening more closely to rhythm, I think, and rhythmic variation: too much SA poetry (myns insiens) still sounds like all the poet has listened to is hymns and marching bands. Good schools have a lot to answer for.

    And, because of improvisation, jazz maybe suggests that you push the boundaries of form....

    ...Enough is enough. Brother can't play
    here again, the customers aren't paying.

    ...He summons the bassline
    of his thoughts in the shadows, tracing a new theory

    of silence. Don't worry about the next gig.
    Their ears are still learning.

    (John Keene, on Cecil Taylor)


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