When I recently played the Boston Court Theater in Pasadena, a fan handed me a poem he had written after seeing one of my shows at a small club in Seattle. When I perform in the Northwest I play with my friends from New Stories, Marc Seales, Doug Miller and John Bishop.

Here I am at Pike's Market,
one of my favorite stops in the city.
Excerpt from
(You Must Listen)

The horn man
Glides through a smoky crowd
With purposeful strides.
Head down, draped in his
Black-on-black threads,
Rubber soles crossing a
Scarred wood floor,
Warped from years of
Damp, Salty air
Drifting in off Elliott Bay...

Come the ghost murmurings
Of gone masters when he plays;
Hear ancient truths
Emerge from the golden bell
Of his tenor.
Axiomatic line and scalar runs,
The pushing, clicking keys;
Impossibly long notes that weep,
Seep out from under
His fingertips.
Echoes of pain and hope,
Resignation and yearning.

His solos,
Grounded in an architectonic logic,
Restate the melody,
Laying a foundation
Building, story by story,
With each turnaround.
Dynamically crafted
To peak in the last eight bars,
Then ease back down
As the band falls in behind him
To pick up the melodic line again.
A river of light,
Color and sound;
The stories of a life...

And you must listen.

Courtesy of Mark Friedlander
Mark Friedlander © 2004
I played a jazz festival at the University of Minnesota and was pleasantly surprised when I received the following poem many months after that performance. I enjoyed these words and the description of my music.

Head of the Lakes Jazz Festival - March 9, 2002

Ernie got visceral
vivisected himself right onstage
Big brass thing
hangin' out his mouth

You know
where the alien baby comes out
right under the rib arch
how it blows out
right in your face
scary shit
the life
the guts
only this baby's beautiful
God bless the child
We breathed on it

And Ernie
you know
swallowed it
Spewed it back at us
His joy in the child
the jazz baby
big brass baby
flowed like his blood
like lava over us

We breathed
exploded in sparks with him
We kept glowing
long after the volcano jazz baby
returned to the womb

Composed by Mary F. Lee