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Dedication to Tommy Flanagan

AAJ Staff By

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"Tommy Flanagan"-
sounds like an Irish gentleman
strolling the countryside
indeed someone you might think of
in a silly
way
drinking Bailey's
and Cream

but what was it Tommy,
what was it he happened to be?

Whatever it was he happened to be-
he must have been

Something a little
more than the cream of a
60 year old bebop dream

Something more than the undying
presence of a heavy on this jazz
scene.

He must have been something
not best "heard not seen"
but best "heard"
both heard and seen.

"A beautiful cat"-
and who will deny this?

But, if you "only" heard
the music- oh, if you
only heard the music

You "heard" the gentleness and playful nature
of one Tommy Flanagan
in only two dimensions

You see,
to "see"
Tommy Flanagan
was to know where
all of that-
simultaneously majestic
and cherublike
bold, beautiful,
bebop-poesy
came from.

The soul inside- a beautiful cat, and you just had to see him.

He was the Jazz Poet
and sure he played those changes well-
spritely,
with distinction.

And yet his poetry didn't stop
there.

He was also a man of the world
a real friendly soul
as at home in a village in Germany
as in a downhome neighborhood of
South Philly

A true master of
the art of good humor
and who spoke the language of
kindness and decency
with an uncommon spontaneity
and level of invention

He won friendships with people he never
even spoke to
people smiling to themselves
"that cat is a good cat, or I don't know what..:"

It is said perhaps,
he smiled with the regularity and consistency
of the sixteenth notes
in a most classic solo
he would have played
on Confirmation, Relaxin' at Camarillo,
or any other steady cooker
he had cooked up and
made.

Night after night
town after town
he essayed
that characteristically delightful
bebop poetry
becoming neither jaded
or the older cat you write off as
dated.

just all the more charming,
so much the more charming...
and if you only heard him
well - you caught something,

but you just had to see him.

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