By Irish Echo Staff
Tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 15, marks the 68th anniversary of the opening of Birdland, AKA Jazz Corner of The World, named for Charlie Parker, “the most famous musician in the world of that era, at that split second,” said Echo contributor Frances Scanlon.
She pointed also to U2’s “Angel of Harlem,” written in homage to club regular Billie Holiday: “Birdland on 53, the streets sound like a symphony…”
Vulture magazine voted it recently U2’s 17th best of its output of 218 songs, commenting that the work “accurately captures the excitement and enthusiasm of coming to New York after dreaming about it.”
Scanlon has written a poem, which appears also in the Fall/Winter 2017 edition of the Newtown Literary Journal out of Queens, channeling Parker against the backdrop of New York City Council’s vote on Oct. 31, 2017, “to repeal the portion of that 91-years-on-the-books law that banned social dancing in bars and restaurants that lacked a cabaret license.”
Scanlon added: “Parker, experienced the ‘Luck of the Irish’ when on March 17, 1953, his N.Y.C. Cabaret Identification Card was re-instated. Its revocation in 1951 had crippled Parker’s soaring international jazz ascendancy.”
Do you hear my fingers barely sashaying over keys, sore lips, locked sweet sound.
With high-arched feet I play every
instrument with stomp, swing and imaginative thing.
Who am I – train your reflexes for a non-stop flight on the archway of sound.
Disgorged from Kansas City, I will not travel west of Washington nor south of Chicago
Now’s the time, I’m told, but will I be bold enough to be all that I am for my legacy?
Destiny dies hard in my horn, sworn up with the ravage of heroin, no sparrow could spare.
BIRDLAND won’t let me in on a comp yet what about me playing with “Strings”
Show-stopping, brightening tempos, top-shelf no twinkie “Lady Be Good”
A counter-pointer big be-bopper break through-er.
The “Yardbird Suite” can’t be beat
What is the flight for this yard of bird beyond the here and now.
Jazz not yet heard beyond imagination becoming soaring flying feverishly forever.
- Charlie Parker