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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Recording of “Bleeker Street”

Listening to the recording
of a jazz group:
guitar, drums, bass,
trumpet, piano, and tenor sax:
Houston Person on tenor,
his session for an album called
Moment to Moment.
The tune is Bleeker Street.
So why do these old players
keep playing:
because once in a while
the muse attacks
dropping a bit of magic
on a recording or a line or melody
that makes the musician wonder
where it came from.

He'll think,
“Not me,
but I've just been blessed
with the touch of eternity."

How many times does it happen
on a musicians riff,
a painter's canvas,
a line of poetry,
for someone really great?
For pros, it happens more often
than you think.

Most listeners
won't hear it,
won't see it,
won't read it.

The artist keeps moving
from note to note,
session to session,
club to club,
in the hopes of finding
that feeling.
Oh, they'll repeat their finery
they know is perfect.
It's how they make
the loaf of bread
everybody needs to butter.

For the common artist
it might not happen so often,
but when it does
they might not make their crust,
but all that practice of bad notes,
writing of senseless phrases,
painting that seems like the sides of a building,
yeah, all of that
will shrug off like so much dust
that suddenly turns to silver flakes
mixed with gold,
and a few diamonds
for good measure.

Nope, it doesn't happen often,
but that's how
Person looks in his pictures,
with common notes whitening his temples
and gray phrases pushing out his mustache;
trying once again to find
that quavering shower of electrostatic staffs
notated with holy water.

Houston Person
is the cleanest tenor sax player
on the radio this night,
and I've just been washed
after his notes went
down the drain
on top of me...
oh Lordy, my soul is rinsed.

Barry G. Wick


Castanea_d said...

This is another one that I am going to print out. The university jazz department rehearses in our church (since the Flood, for one more year until their new building is done), and I am going to put this on the bulletin board so they can see it, with the info as to how to find your blog. Maybe you will pick up some readers from it.

This "old player" of Bach and Franck and Messiaen and church songs attests to the truth of what you say here.

Barry Wick said...

Since writing this, I've added some recheck it...the words remain the same. Sometimes I get so tired, exhausted in the middle of these inspirations that I don't follow protocol when I want punctuation. Thank you for your comment. This poem is a kind of theme for me lately. It praises the muse who has been very good to me lately...whatever muse is handling my case. I couldn't be more grateful.