J is for jazzetry
April is a really packed month and that feels especially appropriate to me. As though the slowly-waking Spring energy starts gathering momentum and boom, suddenly it bursts through the door demanding attention, tossing out invitations, encouraging brain synapses to make new connections, and soliciting riffing on all manner of things. April always feels like the living equivalent of a fabulous jazz improvisation.
April is National Poetry Month and I’m all about celebrating poetry. April is also Jazz Appreciation Month. And so what better time to jubilate jazzetry.
Jazzetry: poetry read to jazz accompaniment
While there’s a genre of poetry called jazz poems originating in the 1920s which evinces jazz-like rhythm or the feel of improvisation, jazzetry is a bit different in that it requires actual musical accompaniment.
Last year NPR did a series about where poetry meets jazz. You can listen to 5 short clips, about 2 minutes each, or explore further if you’re inspired here.
I was first introduced to the concept of jazzetry through the performance of poet and saxophone player Joy Harjo. While I can’t find a good online example of her reading while being accompanied, this short video gives you a sense of her poetry and lets you hear her play sax as well.
I imagine Fool is a fan of jazzetry. I think of Fool’s world as being filled with poetry and Fool is nothing if not a perfect example of improvisation.
Read a poem today. Listen to some jazz. Imagine what it would be like if your life was a living example of jazzetry. How fun might that be? Have a favorite poem or a piece of jazz you love? Do tell – you know I love to hear.