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Atonal Lament For Charles Mingus

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The bass moans softly
Two cellos start to cry
Softly; then four violins
Enter in unison, screaming

A dervish chorus of wails
Alive, but in sotto voce

Trombones bleat... Jimmy's, Willy's...
And groan. With a shrill
French and an English horn
Two flutes whisper in pain

And a dervish chorus of wails
Full attack on the living. Crescendo

Saxophones sniffle and honk
Two tenors; an alto and soprano
One flute whimpers suddenly
Underscored by cellos

The dervish chorus surfaces
For air... Four violins
Sigh... A groaning bass
Leads in a lungful of tuba

Anger — Anger — Anger
Reposed in a soprano saxophone
Now singing cool — cool — cool

Dannie's tympani rumbles...
And tubular bells...
Iterate percussion will never agree
A lonely triplet
Horace Parlan
Then — pianissimo

The dervish chorus exhumes
His spirit once more
Ensemble begins recessional
Then stops.

High above the two cornets
Jack Walrath's trumpet wails
Dannie brushes the sock
Then all is still...
Echoes in the chill of death

Generations weep for Charles Mingus

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