Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Poem for a jazzman

Rainy night in Manhattan
Old music school auditorium
Jammed with the faithful.

Concert shiva eulogy celebration
Funeral for a jazzman.

Lew Soloff
Don't the words just roll off
The tongue of the trumpeter.

Legendary horn
Born to crumble walls
Within music and without.

Spinning Wheel solo
Poured Blood, Sweat and Tears
Over rock and jazz together.

From the back of the house
Wynton Marsalis leads
A New Orleans brass band.

Paul Shaffer leading the orchestra
 at the Lew Soloff memorial.
Jazz fame walks mournful steps
Down the side of the hall,
Just A Closer Walk With Thee.

Then, the turn at the stage,
Didn't He Ramble?
Playing out the joy.

Almost met him.
A promise made
To an orchestra in Westchester -
He would play classical chops in
Shostakovich No. 5.

Then the terrible news
On the eve of the first rehearsal.
We were left only with the ashes
Of a concert program dedication.

At the show,
Emotions flow
And sometimes they use words.

Improvised solos, big band, classical,
Even a young cello protege.

Asian singer Grace Kelly
Bears lightly a famous name
And the future face of jazz.

Grief stalks the room
Like a living thing.
Bravely, their music
Rages against the dark.

Yet Lew is alive in every soul,
As music always lives.
Farewell, brass man.
Show the Angel Gabriel
How to blow.