Category Archives: Jazz

Cecil Taylor (1929-2018), Frank O’Hara, Amiri Baraka

When the groundbreaking avant-garde jazz pianist and composer Cecil Taylor died last month, there was an outpouring of obituaries and tributes to his genius and influence.  But there was less attention paid to Taylor’s connections to the literary world, and … Continue reading

Posted in Allen Ginsberg, Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), Beats, Billie Holiday, Bob Kaufman, Cecil Taylor, Charles Olson, Frank O'Hara, Franz Kline, Gilbert Sorrentino, In Memoriam, Influences on the NY School, Jack Kerouac, Jazz, Kenneth Koch, Larry Rivers, Michael McClure, Morton Feldman, Music, Norman Mailer, NY School Influence, Ornette Coleman, Paul Blackburn, Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, Thelonious Monk | 1 Comment

“Frank O’Hara: In the Heart of Noise” — London, Nov. 9

If you’re in or near London next week, you’ll want to check out this event devoted to Frank O’Hara, featuring poet, critic, and New York Schoolologist extraordinaire Mark Ford and the Aurora Orchestra.  It will be on November 9th, at Kings Place in … Continue reading

Posted in Billie Holiday, Event, Frank O'Hara, Jazz, John Cage, Mark Ford, Morton Feldman, Music, Ned Rorem, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ornette Coleman (1930-2015), Frank O’Hara, Amiri Baraka

This morning brought the sad news that the groundbreaking jazz musician Ornette Coleman has passed away at 85.  There will surely be many obituaries and testimonials to Coleman’s importance and legacy, but I wanted to just note some the important points of … Continue reading

Posted in Abstract Expressionism, Alfred Leslie, Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), Frank O'Hara, In Memoriam, Jackson Pollock, Jazz, Music, Ornette Coleman, Vincent Warren | 1 Comment

A Real Mad, “All-American” Combination: LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka’s Salon

Last week, on a trip to the Czech Republic, I had the pleasure of meeting Josef Jařab , one of the most important Czech scholars of American literature.  Jařab is a leading Czech authority on American poetry, and he has translated and written … Continue reading

Posted in Abstract Expressionism, Allen Ginsberg, Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), Beats, Cecil Taylor, Frank O'Hara, Franz Kline, Jack Kerouac, Jazz, John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, Larry Rivers, Music, Ornette Coleman, Visual Art | 1 Comment

John Burnside’s “The Day Etta Died” (after Frank O’Hara)

The Guardian‘s weekly “Saturday poem” series posted a piece for today by the Scottish poet John Burnside called “The Day Etta Died,” which is of course a riff on “The Day Lady Died” by Frank O’Hara.  Burnside’s poem even begins … Continue reading

Posted in Billie Holiday, Frank O'Hara, Jazz, Music, NY School Influence, Poems | Leave a comment

Baraka’s “Blues People” at 50 and the “New American Poetry”

The other day, NPR posted a good piece marking the 50th anniversary of Blues People, the landmark book on African-American music, from blues to jazz, written in 1963 by Amiri Baraka (then LeRoi Jones). The piece, by Eugene Holley, Jr., discusses … Continue reading

Posted in Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), Beats, Jazz, Music | 1 Comment

Billie Holiday, Darryl Pinckney, and reciting O’Hara while “completely blotto”

Last week, in honor of the July 17th anniversary of the day Billie Holiday died (also known hereabouts as the day Frank O’Hara wrote “The Day Lady Died”), several tributes to Lady Day popped up around the web.  Yesterday, Andrew Sullivan … Continue reading

Posted in Billie Holiday, Frank O'Hara, Jazz, Music, Robert Lowell | Leave a comment

A Visual Footnote to O’Hara’s “The Day Lady Died”: New World Writing and The Poets of Ghana

Because his poems are so overstuffed with references to proper names, movies, books, small-scale historical events, and famous or not-so-famous friends, people who love and teach Frank O’Hara’s work often talk about how useful it would be to have an annotated … Continue reading

Posted in Billie Holiday, Boris Pasternak, Frank O'Hara, Jazz, Jean Genet, Uncategorized | 1 Comment