Angel of Harlem

Lady Day, the truth
Still lingers with every new
Earful of “Strange Fruit.”

©2017

Portrait of a Love Chant

        For Charles Mingus

With the charisma
Of a cat with nine lives
The band meanders
About the melody
One solo at a time.

Then like an aural elixir
The singer scats sweet somethings
In the voice of every instrument

I’m in love with the bass
I love to flirt with the hurt
I hear vented from the valves of the horn
I love to dance with the drums
Sometimes I even think they are playing themselves.

©2001

Bird’s Flight: Ode to the Pyrotechnics of Charlie Parker

“You can tell the history of jazz in four words: Louis Armstrong. Charlie Parker.”
                                    -Miles Davis

What Charlie Parker brought
From Kansas City

To 52nd Street
Was the pyrotechnics

He used to school the world
In ornithology

& the blues.
He was the sole songbird

Of his kind, whirring

With his wings wrapped tight
‘Round the neck of his alto sax

Through choruses
& holes in the wall of night

Like the hum of the wind

Rustling through leaves, playing 
Pretty notes

That seem so perfectly placed, reprising

Himself in a pastiche
Of optimistic

Pandemonium, when every note was
An experiment

In experience

Anthologized
In anthems

Of his alter echo taking flight.
               

©2006

Chamber Music

        For Paul Chambers

The way he played bass
Reverberates in chambers
Of my memory
(Though he died at 33
Before I was even born).

©2014

Playlist: A Sweet Suite


(2400 Songs Strong)

The playlist
Riffs like the soundtrack of
My life, with melodies that recall
Even the most minute
Of details. 

©2020 MDSHall

https://music.apple.com/us/playlist/sweet-suite/pl.u-RRbVVv1smzXWJAv