Saturday, May 8, 2010

for mccoy tyner (8)

for mccoy tyner
(1938 --

u were twenty-two when u joined the
john coltrane quartet,
but clearly the
real mccoy. trane knew this, kept u five years
close, at the core of this
most seminal of jazz experiments.
from where did that transcendent piano style come? from
what holy
place within? & where did u learn that unique
two-handed harmonic
attack & rhythmic charge – yr block
chording low bass left hand stacking
fourths & yr staccato
right hand
flying thru pentatonic scales, modal structures,
inverted triads &
multi-fingered runs – new voicings &
vocabulary for virtuoso jazz piano
& growing each time u
played. u
shadowed trane thru’ his scales, chordal structures,
melodic phrasings
& rhythms, playing mantrically, intuiting
the sacred audible tones
to help elevate each consciousness-
raising performance, drawing garrison
& jones to u,
transcending &
integrating all that had been played before,
fastened securely to his coattails,
to his ascension. he took
u to the pinnacle
of god consciousness, let u glimpse the
final & highest abode of ishwara, the
ultimate revelation of
the self in perfect
radiance & release. he would have taken
u further, into formless consciousness & boundless radiance.
but u did not like the free; were not yet
ready for the street
of pefume sellers, &
like the vagrant who was overcome by
the heady aromas on that street, who
could only be revived
by a fecal sal
volatile from the street’s gutters, u said all u
heard was noise; that u had no
feeling for the new music.
turned away,
turned back to yr unabsorbed present, to yr
raw blues & passionate pentatonic
; turned back to comfortable
virtuosity, but haunted by an audible image of a seed syllable
where all sound,
all music dissolves into perfect radiance &
release & a memory of not a means to
an end but the means
& the end.

© Joseph McNair; 2010

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