Lay for the Day 19th
the pianist Jimmy Rowles was born on this day in Spokane, Washington.
He was a favourite accompanist of two of the finest jazz singers, Carmen
McRae and Sarah Vaughan, both of whom recorded songs by him. Carmen, with
Rowles on piano, recorded his quirky composition The Ballad of Thelonious
Monk, in cod country-and-western style, on her live set The Great
American Songbook (1972). Sarah sang Frasier, The Sensual Lion
(with superb lyrics by Johnny Mercer) on another live recording, Sarah
Vaughan & The Jimmy Rowles Quintet (1974). He can also be heard
in fine form on a live Jimmy Witherspoon album from 1960, in the company
of Gerry Mulligan and Ben Webster (Witherspoon, Mulligan, Webster at
poem, in the persona of a piano, also celebrates the neighbouring birthdays
of three other pianists: Bill Evans (16th August 1929 in Plainfield, New
Jersey), Mal Waldron (16th August 1925 in New York), and Count Basie (21st
August 1904 in Red Bank, New Jersey).
Still your crying,
brass, your thunder
and lightning, drums
and let me speak.
I have reasons
for what you shriek,
wail and clatter,
for what you sing.
My words are each
condensed and a
phrase whole pages.
What I proclaim
I have in black
and white. Even
strength is my name
and my heart like
yours is strings and
hammers, which with
these keys opens.
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