[Dixielandjazz] Jazz Santa
kayewade at earthlink.net
Tue Dec 30 00:41:08 PST 2003
I'm a little behind in my e-mail - hope this hasn't come thru 10
A Christmas Jazz Memory
by Don Heckman
?Twas the night before Christmas and the gig was running late;
No sugar plums, no candy canes, just another overtime club date,
Holidays are work days in a jazz musician's life,
A chance to make some extra bucks to take home to the wife.
Chanukah's underway, Kwaanza starts tomorrow,
The Ramadan fast soon ends, and I'll forget the others to my sorrow.
If you want to make a living in the music world these days,
You'd better learn to celebrate in many different ways.
The clock slowly turned toward the midnight hour,
As we played a jazzed up version of the ``Waltz of the Flowers.??
We labored on, ``White Christmas,? ``Frosty?? and ?Silent
And I wondered if we'd still be jamming ``My Favorite Things?? at
But we finally got lucky, as the leader kicked off the final medley.
The singer mauled ``The Christmas Son! g,?? a version Mel would have
We did the ``Jingle Bell Mambo?? and the ``Drummer Boy Bossa
And wrapped it all up, with a rock ``Hallelujah?? coda.
I packed my horn, gave the guys my best wishes and headed into the
The streets were dark and quiet, the stores closed up tight.
Not that it would have mattered, since the gig barely paid the rent,
And whatever I could afford for presents had already been spent.
I walked through the falling snow, filled with memories of Christmas
Of marching bands and Christmas parades, of lighted trees and times too
good to last.
And I wondered if my kids, when adulthood beckons,
Would remember their holidays with the same sweet affection.
My footsteps led me home to a house warm and cozy,
Where my wife and my children lay innocently dozing.
So I sat for a while in the late night still,
Watching the snow fall gently on the hill.
When I ! suddenly heard a familiar sound in the distance,
A rhythm section s winging with hard driving persistence.
But this one was strange, something I'd never heard before,
A brisk and spirited clatter I can only describe as hoof beats galore.
Then a new sound, one both familiar yet odd,
Called out through the snowflakes, like a leader commanding a squad.
``On Trane! On Dizzy! On Monk! On Duke!
On Sonny! On Bird! On Miles! On Klook!''
The next thing I heard was just as amazing,
A set of riffs, hard-swinging and blazing,
Played on an instrument that was new to me,
The sting of a trumpet, the silk of a sax, the tone of a bone, all
blended with glee.
I ran to the window to see what was coming,
And was met with a sight incredibly stunning,
What looked like a bright red '57 Chevy,
Pulled through the sky by eight reindeer in a bevy.
They landed in my yard and the driver leaped out;
Grabbing a pack from the back he qui! ckly turned about.
I blinked my eyes at this strange apparition,
His cheeks like Dizzy, his smile like Pops, as natty as Miles, a man on
``Call me Father Jazz,?? he said as he came through the door,
musicians are my specialty.
I'll even make a stop tonight with a little something for Kenny G.''
Then, opening his pack, he lightly danced to our little tree,
Placing presents beneath it, ever so gently.
``There?s a drum set for Alex,?? he said, ``that kid has great
And a guitar for Allegra, 'cause the songs she writes are so fine.
And the books and the wristwatch you wanted for your wife,
That you couldn't afford, living a jazz musician's life.''
This is way too weird, I thought, it must be a dream;
Something like this is too good to be what it seems.
``Oh, it?s the real deal,?? said Father Jazz, with a riff-like
snap of his fingers.
``You?re on my list of serious jazz swingers.??
Moving t! o the doorway he turned back for a final review:
``And if you?re wo ndering why no box has been left for you,
It's because your present has already been given.
You know what it is? It's the spirit that makes your imagination so
``Musicians like you know that the gift of music is the gift of love.
It's a gift that can only have come from above.
And those non-jazz Beatles had it right, for all our sakes,
When they said, `The love you take is equal to the love you
He bounded lightly through the snow to his flying red Chevy,
Blew a celestial riff on his amazing horn -- so heavy!
And urged his team forward with a rallying command,
``On Dizzy! On Bird! On Miles! On Trane!
As his eager steeds rose into the winter sky,
Father Jazz called out one last stirring cry.
Looking down with a radiant smile and a farewell wave:
``Stay cool, Bro? and keep the music playing.??
Vocalist & Bandleader -Kaye Wade's Riverboat Ramblers
& The Tinsel Town Ten Minus 3
PO Box 1068 Studio City CA. 91614-1068
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