Gerald Wilson, 96

RIP local jazz legend Gerald Wilson, pictured here on trumpet with Irving Ashby (guitar), George "Red" Callender (holding his hands over his ears), Lee Young Sr (drums), and Phil Moore (piano). (Order # 00052121, Security Pacific National Bank Collection)

RIP local jazz legend Gerald Wilson, pictured here on trumpet with Irving Ashby (guitar), George “Red” Callender (holding his hands over his ears), Lee Young Sr (drums), and Phil Moore (piano). (Order # 00052121, Security Pacific National Bank Collection) photo via LAPL Photo Collection

MY INTRODUCTION to musician Gerald Wilson was on the radio.

Not on disc, but as DJ. He was on the jazz station KBCA, later KKGO, the frequency my family’s car and household console stereo was always tuned to while I was growing up. I loved his voice, the “between platter patter.” bigband

Later I learned more about Wilson and his contributions to jazz in Los Angeles in particular. As well as his work as an arranger and bandleader that spanned eight decades, he also taught classes in jazz history and appreciation at college campuses across the city. But what many Angelenoes might remember him most for — if not by name — but a piece of music that has been part of the backdrop/soundtrack of L.A. for as long as I can remember — Viva Tirado — a piece he dedicated to dedicated to bullfighter Jose Ramon Tirado, part of his own long-time interest in Latin culture and its shades of influence.

He’s another one who I thought would go on forever.

Thank you, Gerald Wilson for sorting out and reflecting the true sound of Los Angeles in all of its influences, nuances and moods.

Obits here from Los Angeles Times and New York Times

Visions and Revisions

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BOAT MAGAZINE docks in L.A. with the goal to explore a off-the-path Los Angeles.

I have a piece in this one, about the marks and impressions we Angelenos’ leave on a place that continually — rapidly — changes. Looking forward to seeing the other pieces when the issue lands in my mailbox.

A little preview of my page here.

Voice (22)

REQUIEM

So,
when the strong unholy high winds
whiplashed over the sold-off marshlands
eaten back to a sigh of saltwater,
the Crescent City was already shook down to her pilings,
her floating ribs, her spleen & backbone,
left trembling in her Old World facades
& postmodern lethargy, lost to waterlogged
memories & quitclaim deeds,
exposed for all eyes, damnable
gaze & lamentation—plumb line
& heartthrob, ballast & watertable—
already the last ghost song
of the Choctaw & the Chickasaw
was long gone, no more than a drunken curse
among the oak & sweet gum leaves, a tally
of broken treaties & absences echoing
cries of birds over the barrier islands
inherited by the remittance man, scalawag,
& King Cotton, & already the sky was falling in on itself,
calling like a cloud of seagulls
gone ravenous as the Gulf
reclaiming its ebb & flowchart
while the wind banged on shutters
& unhinged doors from their frames
& unshingled the low-ridged roofs
while the believers hummed
“Precious Lord” & “Deep River”
as the horse-hair plaster walls
galloped along with the surge,
already folklore began to rise up
from the buried lallygag & sluice
pulsing beneath the Big Easy
rolling between & through itself,
caught in some downward tug
& turn, like a world of love affairs
backed up in a stalled inlet,
a knelt-down army of cypress,
a testament to how men dreamt land
out of water, where bedrock
was only the heart’s bump
& grind, its deep, dark churn
& acceleration, blowzy down
to those unmoored timbers,
already nothing but water
mumbling as the great turbulent eye
lingered on a primordial question,
then turned—the gauzy genitalia of Bacchus
& Zulu left dangling from magnolias & raintrees,
already…

– BY YUSEF KOMUNYAKAA

remembering: nine years ago today, landfall