[Dixielandjazz] Re: Jazz & Poetry

Bill Haesler bhaesler at bigpond.net.au
Sat Mar 19 19:10:59 PST 2005

Dear Steve,
Your comment: "Say, isn't just about every song with lyrics that is OKOM, a
mixture of "Jazz" & Poetry"?" prompts me to refer you and other DJMLers to
the essential book 'The Poets of Tin Pan Alley. A History Of America's Great
Lyricists' by Philip Furia (1990. Oxford University Press).
It should be on the shelf of everyone who has an interest in popular song
written 'between the wars'.
Mr Furia successfully  analyses, in simple language, the way in which the
lyric masters manipulated word, phrasing, scanning and music, against a
readable history of the genre.
I always make sure that the singers in our band read it, as it reveals to
them that lyrics are not just a string of words and helps them to understand
the songs they present in a more meaningful way.
Incidentally, 'poetry and jazz' was quite popular in Melbourne, Australia
during the late 1950s.  It is certainly not new to us here. It was featured
at the 15th annual Australian Jazz Convention in Melbourne in 1960. A
'traditional jazz' event.
However, our poetry & jazz was much happier in a 'modern jazz' environment.
A popular exponent was the late, and somewhat eccentric, Adrian Rawlins, who
combined his readings and jazz using popular local 'traditional jazz' bands.
Although, I did feel at the time (and still do) that it was stretching the
boundaries of the jazz music I love.
But, as is already known to listmates, I am a mouldy jazz conservative.
I dimly recall that years ago my friend Adrian spent some time in New York
doing his poetry & jazz thing.
Kind regards,


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