Mardi Gras: Pete Fountain

Pete Fountain is how I first learned of the existence of New Orleans. When I was a little kid, my grandpa took me to hear Pete Fountain and Al Hirt in concert. Then I got a double-cassette collection of Pete’s music and fell in love. I’ve heard a lot of great music from the Crescent City since then, but Pete will always have a special place in my heart for being first. Here’s my favorite Pete Fountain performance:

Record Of The Day: A.R.C by Chick Corea/Dave Holland/Barry Altschul

A.R.C.
A.R.C.

A prose poem by Chick Corea covers the back of the record sleeve.
A prose poem by Chick Corea covers the back of the record sleeve.

This band features three-fourths of the band Circle (the missing member is Anthony Braxton). Right out of the gate, the trio is forceful and free-flying in their take on Wayne Shorter’s “Nefertiti.” And then on the next track, it’s “gaze into one’s soul” time on Corea’s “Ballad For Tillie.” A fun outing by three supremely talented players.

Note: Listen to my 2012 interview with Barry Altschul.

POEM: napkin poem

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napkin poem

how many times in how many bars
on how many napkins
text bleeding into the cheap paper
better suited for soaking up
condensation and mistakes
the band is playing “A Felicidade”
we are talking but not talking
text and subtext and saxophone
trying to avoid monkey clapping
loose lips sink ships

/ / /

28 February 2014
Zola, State College

Never heard “A Felicidade”? Enjoy.

POEM: whale song

A poem inspired by a conversation with saxophonist Sarah Manning..

/ / /

whale song

she goes each day to the ocean
to look for the whales, she says
that’s why she stays
despite the pull of the opposite shore
the all but inescapable magnet
tugging on the keys of her saxophone

of a morning she is crouched there
at the boundary, eyes narrowed
searching for shadows on the surface
a spray of spout-water above the waves

one day she knows she will hear them singing
on that day she’ll put lips to reed
feel the air move from her lungs
and she’ll join them in their song