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378

A Poem Celebrating "Exploration" by Granchan Moncur III

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after Mama got too tight, and
after Blue Note dove into a blue funk, and
after Hendrix collapsed saluting the flag, and
after the Sixties turned into Wynton's favorite whipping post,and
after "freedom" became too abused to call for seriously, publicly,
& even decades after,
when jazz became more market marginalized than anytime in its century-infancy,
in comes Moncur re
inventing himself
as if the 60s never knew they has become passé and
he explores,
trombone growing out of his forearm,
explores
Monk in a wonderland of an off-kilter shuffle, and
delicate balancing act of love & hate
Moncur & saxman Billy Harper
pulling rubbery ribbons of heart tissue
into a musical meditation
thick as the walls of Rothko's chapel, and
redoing a version of "New Africa"
because someone remembers Marcus Garvey beyond Burning Spear, and
his trombone asks "When?" regarding justice just when the con men assure us its here, and
playfully does a loping solo on "Frankenstein," a comic manic monster, and
then takes an excursion in order to celebrate
the eternal youth of Sonny Rollins,
who like his fellow trumpeter Roswell Rudd & himself
burns in phoenix-radiance, because jazz is music of the very old reinventing youth improvising,
and that trombone growing out of his forearm is really a branch of a tree
growing
downward
from where the music knows no age

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