Monday, October 20, 2008

Morning Joy

Morning Joy

Piano buttons, stitched on morning lights.
Jazz wakes the day,
As I awaken with jazz, love lit the night.
Eyes appear and disappear,
To lead me once more to a green moon.
Streets paved with opal sadness,
Lead me counterclockwise, to pockets of joy,
And jazz.

by Bob Kaufman

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dreaming of the Masters

This is the playlist from this mornings broadcast on KDVS. You can listen to it where it is archived under New Day Jazz - Justin Desmangles at

The over all tone and trajectory of the show was really, as you can see, motivated by the spirit of the great Charles Mingus.

The love affair with America's First Lady of Song, Ella Fitzgerald continues!

Special thanks to comedian, writer, actor and friend Paul Mooney

Charles Mingus - East Coasting
Charles Mingus -Hearts Beat And Shades Of Physical Embraces
Charles Mingus -(Soul Fusion) Freewoman
Lenny Bruce - Three Commercials
Ella Fitzgerald - Blues In The Night
Ella Fitzgerald & Ellis Larkins - I've Got A Crush On You
Randy Weston - African Village/Bedford Stuyvesant
Bud Powell - Collard Greens & Black-eyed Peas
Herbie Nichols - Argumentative Variation
Johnny Griffin - Cherokee
Betty Carter - My Shining Hour
Betty Carter - Something Wonderful
Helen Merrill (duet with Jim Hall) - Deep In A Dream
Billie Holiday - Am I Blue?
Teddy Wilson featuring Billie Holiday - I Cover The Waterfront
Billie Holiday - Billie's Blues
Margaret Walker - Old Molly Means
Bennie Green featuring Babs Gonzalez - Soul Stirrin'
Barney Bigard - Brown Suede
Interview with Paul Mooney by Justin Desmangles (live)
Duke Ellington Trio - Jumpin' Room Only
Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn - Tonk
Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn - Drawingroom Blues
Gil Evans Orchestra - Where Flamingos Fly
Lenny Bruce - How To Relax Your Colored Friends At Parties
Charles Mingus - Stop! Look! and Listen, Sinner Jim Whitney
Charles Mingus - Fifty-First Street Blues
Margaret Walker - Kissie Lee
Art Pepper - Why Are We Afraid?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Lenny Bruce, We Miss You Terribly

Dear Lenny,

We sure could use you these days. You turned out to be right about just about everything. I am not sure that's a good thing. I do know I wish more people had listened, and that those who did had listened a lot closer. You wouldn't believe what's going on these days. Or maybe you would, seeing as you all but predicted it. Remember that joke you made in Berkeley? The one about the church being like a franchise? A Howard Johnson's I think you said. The real reason why we were in Vietnam. Well now its Iraq. Robbing the cradle of civilization. I am sure you'd have a riff on that. You were one of the few geniuses of our age. You showed us ourselves in a stark yet forgiving light. That word "genius" though, not funny is it? That was another thing you demonstrated, that word is not an accolade. It is, as it was with Bird, with Mingus, another of society's labels for "danger-danger." The sacrifice you made! My lord, you gave everything for freedom, and the dignity of truth unadorned. It's your birthday today and I just really wanted to say thanks somehow. Thanks to Sally Marr, too. Hey man, I know this is small, too small a thanks for all you have done. I will work on something more and get back at you. But for now, happy birthday Lenny!

Justin Desmangles

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Roy Eldridge, Little Jazz


A hard look and a fake I.D. won't get you
into the Metropole, but at 15 you can stand under
the marquee's heat lamps outside to listen.

That epithetical "little" must've
implied something synedochial
together with a downright

brevity. Eldridge was his own quintessence:
as Billy Tenant expressed it, "the guy who
could squeeze anything out of a trumpet."

His playing contains no stunts or slurs.
Each bitten phrase meted out with compact dignity.
Where the trumpet blares, its pointed elevation -

zigguratic high notes, chomps
goading (in Kenny Clarke, for one) a concomitant
reach in rhythm (the ride cymbal rose

in prominence) -
with an aspiration like the Chrysler Building
clinches the night air.

by Bill Berkson
from the book Fugue State

Friday, October 3, 2008

WCW takes a shot at Old Possum

"I'm glad you like his verse; but I'm warning you, the only reason it doesn't smell is that it's synthetic. Maybe I'm wrong, but I distrust that bastard more than any writer I know in the world today. He can write, granted, but it's like walking into a church to me."

- William Carlos Williams writing to James Laughlin regarding T.S. Eliot.

Williams, of course, turned out to be right about Eliot. A euro-centric cultist of the first order, Eliot was not only a royalist but a racist and fascist sympathizer.

The pessimism of The Wasteland was met with condemnation by some and admiration by others. It inspired resistance as well. Among the most successful examples of this would be the joy expressed in Hart Crane's masterpiece, The Bridge.

The above quote was taken from The Way It Wasn't, an "auto-bug-offery" by the late James Laughlin, founder and publisher of New Directions.