Monday, April 19, 2010

for milt jackson (15)

for milt jackson
(1923 --1999)

a “rhapsodic melodist”
some have described u,
with those big puffy bags
beneath yr big, serious
eyes, yr sweet inimitable,
opulent tone, those fluid,
executions above all &
before all else swinging.
& those countless other
bags from whence u came.
yr integrated attack, free-
flowing in structure or
tightly unstructured if
u saw fit, featuring a
range of highly contrasted
moods & color but always
resolving/dissolving in the
blues, always yielding an
undercurrent of radiance
beneath slow cleverly
paced solos however bright
or darkly hued or a brilliant
sheen on the shimmering
surface structure of dazzling
melodic runs. yr cool stance
& unpostured mastery, never
looking stiff, never playing
from yr elbows. yr succinct
palms-inward two-mallet grip
coaxing out those sanctified
singing vocal lines or striking
those bebop, hard & post
boppish riffs, lavishing yr
soulfully elegant attention
like a skilled lover on yr
beloved instrument, striking
low notes softly in the
erogenous center of the
bar, playing near the node
in poignant phrasing, bowing,
pitchblending, setting new &
unequaled expressive standards
for vibraphonic virtuosity.

© Joseph McNair;2010

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