Saturday, March 9, 2013

Anything Goes



image borrowed from bing


Anything Goes

“I like to play dangerously, where you’re going to
take a chance on making mistakes in order to create
something you haven’t done before.”--Dave Brubeck


That’s right, folks, it was those bare-butt slave gangs
from the Congo who brought us the rhythms
that would give birth to both the blues and jazz,

as they circumnavigated their master’s no-drumming
codes with spirited stomping, clapping, and
the patting juba, infecting us with a viral beat,

leading to foot tapping and then clogging, allowing
the eventual rise of dynamic drumming bubbling up
like strong hot blood from Afro-Cuban roots.

I just found out that after the Civil War
there used to be a twice-daily ferry between
New Orleans and Havana, as musicians shared

their common musical heritage and legacy, helping
to turn pale ragtime rolls into Dixieland, mixing in
the blues traditions like cayenne pepper, before

what we more readily recognize today as jazz
began to blossom and thrive in the smokey speakeasies
in the big cities during and following Prohibition,

where groups began to groove, to create moods
that would alter melodies, harmonies, & time signatures,
never playing a tune twice the same way, adding

excitement, amazement, & immediacy with the advent
of real improvisation, syncopation, poly & cross rhythms,
swing shuffles, boogie-woogie, bebop & free forms;

America’s music, emerging from church hymnals &
slave spirituals, whelping scatting, R&B, and God help us,
that precocious overbearing pastiche stepchild--Rock & Roll. 

Glenn Buttkus

March 2013

Posted over on dVerse Poets-Poetics

Would you like to hear the author read this poem to you?


11 comments:

Gretchen Leary said...

Love your ending. What better way than with Rock N' Roll? :)

Brian Miller said...

as they circumnavigated their master’s no-drumming
codes with spirited stomping, clapping, and
the patting juba, infecting us with a viral beat,

ha i like the revolutionary aspect of music...and its emergence for sure...jazz is very cool too...was just teaching my students about its emergence in the prohibition era....rock n roll though is in my blood so forgive me...smiles.

Claudia said...

smiles...i tap my foot along...there's music in your words...you surely capture the joy and spirit of music here...cool on never playing a tune twice the same way...right up my alley..smiles

amyjosprague said...

I really really enjoyed this--the info was fantastic but also the way you wrote it--the underlying rhythm like the very first drums and then rolling out on...nice

manicddaily said...

Glenn, this is itself so musical - it's like a poem in scat. Thanks. k.

henry clemmons said...

From the roots to the fruits of today's interpretation. Loved the voice in this. Excellente!

rowantaw.com said...

It's amazing what can grow out of hardship. People could wilt away, but no expression leads them on.

marousia said...

I agree with Henry - great voice

kkkkaty said...

Love the Brubeck beat here..nice tribute to him..to Rock n Roll origins, jazz...and what about Seattle's grunge?

rumoursofrhyme said...

Imaginative and informative as always, Glenn.

Anonymous said...

Music......civilization echoes in each and every note....