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May 15, 2022


Thank you, Terence, for including me on this blog. It's an honor and thrill. Just earlier this morning I emailed radio station WKCR, a great radio station out of Columbia that plays a lot of jazz and runs all-day, sometimes multi-day festivals for various artists: Trane, Duke, Kim Gordon, Bach, etc. BUT no Miles. I asked why no Miles festival. The station manager actually just responded to my message explaining that when they did run a Miles day in the 80s, Miles called in and bitched about it, so to honor his wishes, or something, they never ran another one. But they invited me to lobby for one. Sending them my argument in favor of a fest, along with a link to this poem on your marvelous blog, just might do the trick.

All in favor of a Miles Davis Festival on WKCR, please send your advocations to Schuyler, Station Manager at WKCR: [email protected]

Love Terence's weekly "picks" as they bring back old friends I have not heard from in a long time.
Will write WKCR!
Miles is the theme music on my radio/podcast series. Everyone loves him. Perfect for poetry energy.

Simply brilliant!

Greg, you're miles ahead. Phil Schaap at WKCR heroically championed Bird, Mingus, Milt Jackson, Ellington, all those guys. And if memory serves, when Miles died in September 1991, WKCR played wall-to-wall Miles for seven straight days!
Great to have your masterly work on our blog, Mr. Masters.
And, oh yes, I second what Grace said about Terence's picks..

Thanks, Grace. (And I love your comments.)

been a big fan of greg's poetry and other writing for many decades, so happy to see this brilliantly insightful poem in this illustrious series of yours, terence

Michael: thank you for reminding me to read Greg's new book.

Thank you for the lovely responses, Michael, Sandra, David, Terence, Grace.

Hey, Greg Masters masters an historical recounting of this Olympian moment, while setting his own musical beauty next to that of the players. It's so nice to hear what this careful listener follows, notes and feels and thinks.

I listened at 20:37. I’d never heard it. What a delight. I can still hear the triplets. And it’s one of those days of coincidence—the Sunday NY Times crossword puzzle was looking for bassist Carter’s first name. I’m so happy 20:37 is locked into a poem for another 50-plus.

This anecdotal poem manages to transport one right into the session and the music. One feels it. A remarkable achievement for which I'm delighted and grateful. Thanks, Terence. Thanks, Greg, & thanks Miles & Co.

I am grateful for all the comments here. Thank you for your support.

Robert: Thanks for that comment.

The first Miles album I bought--from the Columbia Record Club--featured a live concert in France which opened with an announcer saying, "avec le jeune Tony Williams". I wore that LP out!

Fine poem, thanks!

Thanks for this arressting nostalgia trip. I have heard in person all the folks mentioned, if my (dazzled) memory serves--the dear great gone Famous Ballroom Sunday afternoon concerts, filling the vast space with great jazz and joyful people. I feel re-blessed by this poem!

Greg, I say this poem is a MIRACLE!

B.B. King supposedly said: “When I make a mistake once, it’s a mistake. When I make a mistake twice, it’s genius.” In his poem Greg Masters illuminates what might be called mistakes by a band “working out” ideas for playing a tune that ultimately showcase genius in its creative studio process. From the 23-minute track in the box set to the 7-minute finish found on MILES SMILES in 1967, Eddie Harris’s tune “Freedom Jazz Dance” was reborn and nurtured as sui generis sound by Miles Davis on trumpet, Wayne Shorter on tenor sax, Herbie Hancock on piano, Tony Williams on drums, and my favorite jazz bassist, Ron Carter. (Ron’s recordings with tenor titan Houston Person never fail to enthrall me.) Greg’s poem evokes that Miles Davis Quintet’s performative evolution as if Greg were in the studio with them. And, in a visceral sense, he was. We can’t help wanting to learn what Greg himself hears and “sees.” It is poetic mimesis at its best: his words inspired and mirrored by their music. Greg’s poem would surely have made Miles smile.

Even though I'm taking only my first steps in listening to jazz, I was encouraged to hear a bit of Tony Williams's drumming resemble the sound of my Irish drum (bodhran), which I learned years ago, Terence, from your brother Jesse, whose encouragement to keep going with it I am now following. Maybe a little Irish jazz someday?

Thanks for the comment, Peter. You can hear jazz influence on Irish music going back as far
as the great Flanagan Brothers in the 1930s.

Such a responsive, erudite and, likely, good-looking audience. Thank you for your comments.

Just catching up with this brilliant poetry/music in the making kit. Every part of it thrilling & deeply moving. Thank you Greg and Terence for this experience.

Thanks, Joan. I'm glad you liked it.


Happy to read At 20 Minutes, 37 Seconds this morning--so lyrical and precise at the same time. Looking forward to reading your new book, too.

All the best,

Just checking this out now. Glad it came in on my BAP radar. Listening to the session reel now. I'm at 12:04. I thought I knew everything of Miles, especially the fusion period, which is my favorite. I think it's only in recent years, with many more releases of complete sessions, that a wider audience is coming to appreciate the density and complexity of the fusion work. This rehearsal though is a goldmine! Scholars and fans everywhere will pore over this recording and others like it. Your poem brings all this to light, but that's an ancillary function. In essence, your poem is a miracle, as it transcribes the listening experience. It is really in the moment, a New York School work for sure, and also one of more Black Mountain like investigative poetry. Writing that makes me think of how important Miles was to Robert Creeley, among others. Creeley said he learned a lot from Miles's pauses. So Kudos to Greg! Thanks to Terence. And thank you for alerting me to the egregious lack of a Miles festival at WKCR. I've just written in support of the cause!

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That Ship Has Sailed
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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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