Count by Any Other Name
Sep28

Count by Any Other Name

“Basie’s stuff means something.” i Jack Kerouac, Horace Mann Record Good Morning Blues: The Autobiography of Count Basie as told to Albert Murray (first edition 1985) is something like the Count’s music: it’s not only about the notes he plays, it’s also about the notes he leaves out. This is more a “tell some” rather than a “tell all,” and so be it. Basie plays it straight and simple, like his music, and the subject of the book is...

Read More
The Kid from Red Bank
Sep16

The Kid from Red Bank

“Count Basie’s swing arrangements are not blaring, but they contain more drive, more power, and more thrill than the loudest gang of corn artists can acquire by blowing their horns apart.” i Jack Kerouac Count, bink-bink! The Kid from Red Bank On the River Navesink Red Bank Boogie One O’Clock Jump Stomp and stamp and stump the band Give the man a mighty hand Tinkling keys Fats Waller knees William Basie’s simple swing Keep your flashy...

Read More
The Beat Generation at War
Sep13

The Beat Generation at War

  From Beatdom #15 – Available now on Amazon as a print and Kindle publication: The Beat Generation is often viewed as apolitical, apathetic, selfish, and borne out of the post-WWII era of prosperity. They are viewed as rich kids who chose a bohemian lifestyle as a matter of fashion, as part of a teenage rebellion that went on too long, and inspired too many imitators, and eventually morphing into the beatniks and hippies...

Read More
Literature
Sep11

Literature

“ . . . companionship . . . definition of literature . . .” i Jack Kerouac In memory of Patrick and Paul Let me reach for another book And another and another Let me climb that ladder That soars up high As I reach for another and another book Not any old book But books that speak to my soul And tell me I have traveled this road before you And as Thoreau said “If it is not a tragical life we live, then I know not what to call it” And...

Read More
Tristessa
Sep03

Tristessa

Tristessa Black tresses Dirty dresses You mess-a Mucha lucha, Muchacha, señorita Esperanza Junk is a drag “It is a way of life.” i Just ask BOOL No gains, all loss (Not everyone as smart as old Harvard Lee, anthropologist) Junk is called junk because it is junk “They all looked like junk.” ii Hope is gone, Esperanza Replaced with junk Sickness Hopelessness Tristessa Junk is a drag Junkies are a drag Goodbye peachy coffee complexion...

Read More
I am Bartleby i
Aug08

I am Bartleby i

“It never meant juvenile delinquents, it meant characters of a special spirituality who didn’t gang up but were solitary Bartlebies staring out the dead wall window of our civilization . . . ” Jack Kerouac I am Bartleby, So don’t bother me The narrator say “the easiest way of life is the best” That, too, is my bray, don’t press it “a bit of wreck in the mid Atlantic” Sailed from Perth to Niantic So let’s not get frantic “No; I...

Read More
Melvillian Flat
Aug06

Melvillian Flat

There’s something about this second-floor Red Bank flat that hints of Melville, poor Bartleby scribbling away at his lonely desk, (or Kerouac when he took the job in the Hartford filling station and typed away gloomy hours). Maybe it’s the curve of the rounded windows or the rectangular window facing the street with its late nineteenth- century commercial buildings or the hardwood flooring with its long planks or the kitchen stool I...

Read More
Setting Kerouac to Music: An Interview with Kubilay Uner
Jul29

Setting Kerouac to Music: An Interview with Kubilay Uner

This article originally appeared in Beatdom #14 – the MOVIE issue.     Kubilay Uner is the composer for the 2013 movie, Big Sur, based on the Jack Kerouac novel of the same name. He has worked with Michael and Mark Polish – the brothers behind the movie – on various projects, as well as performing live scores in concert halls. I spoke to him about setting Kerouac to music for the big screen.   *   Has Kerouac been...

Read More