They Said He forgot and called Him Dizzy

One two
a one two three four

My name is Diz-zee Gill-espie!
I wanna play my horn
just
        f                       uuu!
            o             o
                r    y

My name is Diz-zee Gill-espie!
Lemme swing my jazz for you!

My name is Diz-zee Gill-espie!
I made beee-boppppp
in the fo-orrties!

My name is Diz-zee Gill-espie!
Lemme swing my horn for you!

Lemme swing my jazz for you!
Lemme swing my jazz for yoouuuuu!

Man, can you hear that horn swing?
Unblock your ears,
round out your edges,
let the man with the rubber cheeks talk to you!

I never go back to Georgia! UH!
I never go back to Georgia!

Cubano be Cubano bop,
you wanna do a little Freedom Jazz Dance?
Or should we spend a Night in Tunisia?
Just you and me discussing flatted fifths
under a moonlit sky and whether or not
Charlie Parker was really hooked on smack,
or was it just his LIFE that killed him.

My name is Diz-zee Gill-espie!

I can hear that crazy Bebop beat,
big stand up Bass walkin' all over town!
Is that Max Roach on traps?
Flyin' in high!
Slidin' in low!
Bringin' with him Afro-Cuban rhythms
that hark back to Africa. Yes!
Mama Africa! Continent of crazy colored people
who live in jungles hot & steamy filled with
Lions and Leopards,
Giraffes and Elephants,
Hippos and Rhinos,
wild animals and wild people
who live along the banks of the Nile,
and the plains of the Kalahari!

My name is Diz-zee Gill-espie!

Is that where we come from,
the banks of the Nile?
Or is it the banks of 52nd Street,
New York City, late 1940's after the war,
a time far removed from 1998,
when everyone had money because
we were Americans, and we had won!
Came in like the Cavalry and
saved Europe's butt from the Axis
that was spinning out of control.
Kicked heavy ass with patriots of all colors
and come home heroes!
Long live truth, justice and the American way!
Were we in a mood to party!

And there stood Dizzy.

Smile as wide as the Mississippi River is long!
Beret cocked cool to one side,
eyes bright, goatee sharp, horn in hand,
changing the face of Jazz as we knew it.
"Jungle music!", some called it.
"Bebop will never last." Wrote the Critics.
"Heathen sinners who don't care about our society!"
the righteous shouted, but they were just scared
and saw their kind dying out fast,
as everywhere Dizzy went people started
loving him and his music more and more.
Throwing caution to the winds and
opening up their hearts to real for a change!
I mean, brothers and sisters, this wasn't just music.
Can I get an amen!

This was one heart singing out.

Then another and another and another and another,
until a whole generation was in the choir and
the world responded like it never had before!

My name is Diz-zee Gill-espie!

In those brief moments,
it must have seemed as if

            Peace

was finally at hand.

For the angels were singing,

  and the light
        was shining
               on us all!

My name is Diz-zee Gill-espie!

I wanna play

my life,

my heart,

my love,

        forrrrrrr

                          you.

 

BLOW BAD BLUES BROTHER LATEEF


Blow bad Blues Brother Lateef
blow mean bad Blues
with jump and swing
and ev-va-thing!
'Til the 2 'Til the 4 'Til the 6AM
sleepy time when the sunrise
sits just over Earth's eyes,
languid on the horizon.

Blow bad Blues Brother Lateef
blow mean bad Blues
the world has never heard before!
Blow to the Four Corners of the Earth
and cover the sky with your horny sax sounds
swingin' with the back-beat Boogie Woogie
of bar room brawls, Big Joe Turner,
and the workin' man drinkin' big to
ease the pain of being stepped on.
Of brothel houses,
abusive spouses,
bloody crosses burning
in the heat of the night.
Of blowin' a tire on the Cadillac
Flat City halfway to the gig,
on the run and caught
somewhere between nowhere
and nowhere at all.

Blow bad Blues Brother Lateef
blow mean bad Blues
Of your hand slidin' up her warm thigh
makin' love to her
like you make love to your axe!
Sweet Sula momma
snakin' hot tongue
down to your Medulla Oblongata!
Oh baby! Gotta go gotta go I gotta go

Blow bad Blues with Brother Lateef
blow mean bad Blues!
Sing lullabies to the memories
of hot Havana nights.

Drinking wild Cuban Rum
and watching Fidel and Che
takin' back the banks
and kickin' out the Mob.
No mas Traficante for Santo's boys,
and Sweet Sula momma shakin'
her hips not two feet from the band
while Viva La Revolution!
raged just outside the door.
Her cheeks and muscles bulging
with sweat and the sound of gunfire.
The fabric covering her Sweet Sula momma
curves being stretched to impossible tightness,
the shape is where it starts, man!

That's what Brother Lateef says
when he blows bad blues
when he blows mean bad blues
and whispers: It's all in the tellin'.
The sound that paints a picture
is worth a thousand words in the air,
and ten thousand notes on this saxophone.
He whispers this in my ear
then blows a G-Flat
stopping to smile big at me
who is listening to him
blow mean bad blues.

Blow Brother Lateef
blow those Blues
in my ear and out the door
to the streets where
we the people need them.
Where the sidewalks crack under
the weight of the heavy-hearted whose
hope is gone with the slash of a knife.
Send them out with a voice pure enough
to STOP! the fists that pound a woman's
bare white flesh on crowded Sixth Street
and Avenue A as witnesses of all colors
stand by cheering for more.

Lay those Blues down hard to mend the broken of spirit,
the lost and forlorn, tattered and war-torn,
and when you've comforted all of them
turn your Blues to the one who looks
into the mirror and calls himself me.

Blow bad Blues Brother Lateef
blow mean bad Blues
and I'll meet you out
past the Chicken Shack
with a bottle of wine in my hand,
and my soul intact.
We'll meet and laugh and

Blow bad Blues Brother Lateef,
blow mean bad Blues.

 

©1998, by Garland Thompson