POEM: Bat City

moontower

Bat City

I don’t cook in courses
but for you I’d make an exception
serve small portions on my
few fancy dishes
so it would take a good long time
you’d smile and laugh and tell
stories about Bat City or
White Crane style or
whatever tickles your fancy
afterward we’d take a walk
in the soft summer night
fingers interlaced, palms touching
serenaded by crickets and tree frogs
all of nature’s troubadours

/ / /

Jason Crane
26 April 2015
Oak Street

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My #XtremeShakespeare Suggestions

1J_Kr_3Q_400x400Each night, the Nerdist show @midnight suggests a hashtag for people to base jokes on. Last night, for Shakespeare’s birthday, the theme was #XtremeShakespeare. Here were my contributions. You can follow me on Twitter at @jasondcrane.

  • Don King Lear
  • As Yule Brynner Liked It
  • Cory-Haim-Olanus
  • Henry V, That 80s Show Where The Alien People Were Actually Lizards And That One Lady Swallowed A Mouse Whole
  • Twelfth Night Without Internet Access
  • Real Housewives Of Windsor
  • Jonathan Winter’s Tale
  • Dramedy Of Errors
  • Orange Julius Caesar Salad
  • Midsummer Night’s Dream About That Meatloaf Song “Bat Out Of Hell” On Infinite Repeat All’s Well That Ends Down A Thirty-Foot Well – Are You All Right?
  • Much Ado About A Crapton Of Stuff
  • Hamlet
  • Stephen King Lear
  • Mercury Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto Venus And Adonis Timon Of Athens, GA, R.E.M.’s First Drummer, Had A Bad Coke Habit
  • Maybe She’s Born With It, Maybe It’s Cymbeline
  • Measure For Measure For Measure For Measure For Measure For Measure For Measure For Measure For Measure
  • Christopher Titus Andronicus
  • Love’s Labour’s Left Luggage Lately Lost, Larry
  • The Barbell Merchant Of Venice Beach
  • Henry IV, Part 1,752,937,886
  • Othelloooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
  • Little Richard III
  • MacBeth I Hear You Callin’ But I Can’t Come Home Right Now
  • Romeo & Juliet & Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice
  • Two Billion Gentlemen Of Verona
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“Cloudless” – a W.H. Auden poem set to music

auden

Last weekend I stopped by W.H. Auden’s former home on St. Mark’s Place in New York City. That visit reminded me that years ago, I set one of his poems to music. You can hear it using the player above.

Posted in Music, My Music, New York City, Poetry | 1 Comment

Record Of The Day: Gerry Mulligan Presents A Concert In Jazz

gerry

I heard this record for the first time last night and it’s a killer. I’m partial to Gerry Mulligan anyway, and I’ve always enjoyed his Concert Jazz Band recordings. This album was recorded in New York City in 1961. The 13-piece band is outstanding. It includes Bob Brookmeyer on valve trombone; bassist and jazz humor anthologist Bill Crow; Mel Lewis on drums; Gene Quill on clarinet and alto saxophone; and Doc Severinsen on trumpet. The arrangers are equally impressive: Mulligan, Brookmeyer, George Russell, Johnny Carisi and Gary McFarland. (This is McFarland’s first recording. I was interested to learn that he’d studied at the Lenox School Of Jazz in my hometown of Lenox, Mass.) The band cooks at times, and at other moments lopes along with that easy swing associated with the best Basie material. Recommended.

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Standard (for Porter & Perez)

standard

Standard (for Porter & Perez)

they are silent phantoms
moving like wraiths between
the close-knit tables

remove a plate
add a napkin
offer the dessert menu

steal away into
a darkened corner
of the club

then a sound
like overheated lightbulbs
pop pop popping

the bassist looks up
smiling
as a new phantom

glides toward the kitchen
holding a witch’s broom
(and dustpan)

the sound of glass dragged
across poured concrete, then:
“Besame Mucho”

/ / /

Jason Crane
18 April 2015
Jazz Standard
NYC

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Record Of The Day: The Best Of The Sir Douglas Quintet – Doug Sahm

sahm

I backed into an appreciation of Doug Sahm, and I can tell you exactly how I got there. In 1996, I got married, and my then wife was a huge fan of Los Lobos. I became a huge fan, too, and we started buying other albums by members of Los Lobos, including the 1998 album by the supergroup Los Super Seven. That band featured David Hidalgo and Cesar Rosas of Los Lobos, along with Tex-Mex and tejano giants such as Freddie Fender, Joe Ely and Doug Sahm. Sahm’s voice hit me immediately, sounding like last call in all the juke joints in the world. That said, I didn’t start listening to too much of his own music until I started working at Webster’s. I kept seeing “Sir Douglas Quintet” records and passing them by, not realizing that “Sir Douglas” was Doug Sahm. Once I listened, though, I was hooked.

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