Sunday, March 21, 2010

for joanne brakeen (7)

for joanne brakeen
1938 --

do they call you the picasso of jazz piano
because u boldly paint yr musical ideas from
different aural points, independently? because
u pendulum from brilliantly colored, loosely
structured tonal poems of intense emotion
to the monochromatic, faceted abstractions that
whimsically hint of melody. or perhaps like
picasso, u had yr own époque negre which
vitalizes u still, yr amazing chops, the crystalline
geometry in yr virtuosic & unpredictable playing.
u must have been one bold white girl to beaugarde
yr way into art blakey’s jazz messengers in ’69
& u have certainly come a long way from the
self-taught slip of a girl imitating frankie carle,
bud powell & charlie parker. when i listen to u
i run the gamut from being buffeted like a ship-
wrecked sailor on a flimsy fragment of raft by
towering tidal swells & torrential winds driving
yr keyboard attack that strains my faith to its
limits [that inspite of all u will bring me safely
to shore] to a magical depiction of sound that
eschews the aural replication of nature, but
exaggerates & distorts notes, forms, & colors
that massage my soul like a forty-fingered
masseuse. the greatest among today’s players
acknowledge u peer; the tyners, the jarretts,
the hancocks, brubecks & matsui’s. even
tatum were he alive would throw you a
respectful nod. here are my heartfelt flowers,
joanne, the kind that won/t wilt or fade on
paper. impress them, please, on yr heart so
that like yr trills & figures on mine, they will
remain eternally fresh.

©Joseph McNair; 2010

1 comment:

  1. Miss Brakeen has guts & "the chops" to back them up. I love her work & your tribute to her.