This is my first attempt at a rudimentary multi-track recording. I played all the instruments (diddley-bow, pandeiro, cajon) and wrote the poem. I recorded it using a Blue Snowball microphone and Audacity, neither of which is really designed for this purpose. But what the hell, I dig it and I’m learning. Enjoy!
The new old Mingus was recorded
seven months before my own debut;
thirty-plus years before I made it to Detroit,
where Charles and Roy and Joe and
John and Don were still figuring out
the steps, some of them having only
recently been invited to dance.
There is space for all of us in music.
The misfits and the fits, if those
even exist. I’m skeptical myself.
But anyway there is room enough
at this kitchen party for you
and everyone you’ve ever known.
Hang up your coat and grab a drink.
I was a kid the first time I saw men play jazz.
My grandpa took me to hear Pete Fountain
and Al Hirt someplace. Rochester maybe. He knew
them from Lawrence Welk. At least that’s where he
learned about Pete. Toupee like a dare, clarinet
dancing like a baton as he made the uncool
cool. Saved my adolescence.
OK not actually. It still wasn’t cool to play jazz
in the eighties. Not as a nerdy white kid
in an all-white town forty-five minutes
from the birthplace of Chuck Mangione.
I did get a lot of hall passes from
the band teacher, and that was something.
Better than class. Way better than gym.
I like to picture Mingus sneaking out
of the locker room before his gym teacher
can line him up for dodgeball. Mingus who
might have flashed a blade at Duke. Mingus
who told racists in no uncertain terms
to fuck right off. Did he have to run laps,
gasping in the morning cold?
Last night I joined Eric Ian Farmer (guitar, vocals) and Desiree Dennis (guitar, vocals, shaker, djembe) for a show at the Full Circle Center in Mill Hall, PA. It’s a magical space dedicated to healing and mindfulness, and the acoustics are amazing. Enjoy this video of the first half of the show. This was originally on Instagram Live, thus the vertical video. Sadly my phone died while filming the second half, and that video disappeared into the mists of time. I guess you had to be there. 🙂
I recently had the pleasure of performing with Ady Martinez (cuatro, vocals, shakers) and Eric Ian Farmer (guitar, cajon, vocals) at Chumley’s in State College, PA. Here are both sets. These were originally on Instagram Live, thus the vertical video. Also the first 16 minutes of the first set are sideways, but the music isn’t. Enjoy!
the bodhisattva of Hamilton Ave (all praise to Jah)*
briskly walking (trying to get back
in some sort of shape) I spotted
the bodhisattva beneath a bush
the moss covering him like a robe
the leaves surrounding him
like an offering
at this point in the poem, I very much
want to tell you that I’m listening
to a killer Desmond Dekker track
“Rudie Got Soul” doesn’t have much
to do with a lone bodhisattva
forgotten under a bush
then again, maybe they have
to do with one another
/ / /
16 February 2018
State College PA
*As you can see from the title of this post, rather than the title of the poem, I had mistakenly placed this statue on Prospect Ave, rather on its true home, Hamilton Ave. Also, in the days since I wrote the poem, someone smashed the statue.