Amy Barlow Liberatore… stories of lost years, wild times, mental variety, faith, and lots of jazz

Tag Archives: Smoky Clubs

Incantations in Jazz

Back in The Day
jam sessions were serious affairs
Jazz hinged on trust, ears, collaboration, and rotgut

Cat would stay
Play for no pay
‘Til break of day

Strayhorn charts in clouds of smoke or
off-the-top-of -your head bebop
Slammin duels or cozy duets

Soubrettes mimicked Ella, got laid
Torchettes dug deeper, got respect
Getz and Jobim brought bossa to the scene

Miles straight up in any incantation
Trane proclaiming A Love Supreme
but his lover was the needle, the ride

Recording sessions went straight to vinyl
Benny, Lionel, Slam – his high-pitched, mellow voice
doubling his bass lines, so fine, class, no sass

Basie showed Sinatra how to swing
(before the “ring-a-ding-ding”)
All live, driving, vibrant, vital

Women with ample curves strung like pearls
Billie moaning, Ella owning the scat, Bessie howling
Flat-out fine, no whine about the need for pay

Getting laid, getting high, getting by
by the grace of jazz, flowing like honey or
slappin you upside the head like a pissed-off date

He’d make love to her later
after the session cooled off, horns packed up.
Then everyone got down to real business

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For ABC Wednesday, brought to you by the letter “I”; Three Word Wednesday (Need, Hinge, Lethal); the open call at Real Toads, AND Trifecta’s word, “Ample.”  Also at the place where I’m always jammin, Poets United.

This is the soil from which I spring. Call it a dangerous environment for a young girl, but I was right at home with the old cats, the ones who gave Art Tatum driving lessons (he was blind)… the ones who ruined their voices on bathtub gin and took up the drums to keep bread on the table. Imagine my luck, a little white girl who could sing blues, accepted by musicians of all colors and lifestyles! Peace, Amy