Jazz - I What is jazz? What is good fiction? What is great art? What is anything? Who have you played with? Who do you play like? Do we know their names? Do we drop their names? Coltrane had a name. So did Bird. Miles had a name. So did Duke. Who did they play with? Who did they play like? Yes, they walked the earth, Heroes to some, saints to some, Masters to some, junkies to others. They heard the sounds before they played them And when they played them, their fragile notes Became us. Something stirred, something started, Something late at night When hipness awakened And set us apart. We knew their names. We knew their sidemen. We know them now Who they played like And who they played with. They played like themselves They played with us. Jazz - II Jazz comes in all flavors Some you recognize The mellow cry of pain, Relaxing with the blues It don't make sense The chaos of the city and of your feelings The groove of driving straight ahead into the night A lonely bar at 2 A.M. A crowded floor of dancers A soulful song sung just for you Just for lovers, just for losers, just for loners, just for boozers Words sometimes, they sound like a horn And prayers sometimes, a horn says words for them That don't make sense and don't need to Bebop, hard bop, inside, outside Free thing, No thing Smooth jazz, rough jazz Black jazz, white jazz Jazz is dead. Always was. Always will be. That's what I love about it Jazz comes in all flavors Some you recognize Jazz - III He's in his zone So don't disturb him He's all alone You can't perturb him His solo flies The blues surrounding His alto cries The drummer pounding A beat so fierce A groove so thrilling His sounds will pierce Someone who's willing The set is done The club is quiet He packs his horn Chicks at the bar Tonight the village The road tomorrow One night here, one night there A troubadour with no change in his pocket So let good times roll on Inside the loneliness, the constant gnawing Discontent and sadness Disconnect and madness A hipster clown, not a square bone in his body His song a cry of laughter and pain The ecstasy dissipates And all that is left over Is the jazz life. Cool. He's in his zone So don't disturb him -Mel Nusbaum, 2005 ---------- The Musical Biography of Guitarist and Composer Mel Nusbaum Exciting and creative, originally from Chicago (played blues with The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Mike Bloomfield, jazz with John Klemmer and Hart McNee); Madison (founded the Original Imitations and Sebastian Moon; played with Michael Moss, Ben Sidran, Roscoe Mitchell); currently lives in the New York area; has played jazz, funk, latin and fusion with the groups of Cecil Payne, Harold Ousley, Chico Hamilton, Howard McGhee, (including McGhee's big band with George Coleman), Cliff Dukes, The Brecker Brothers, Booker Ervin, Tom Malone, (producer of Mel's first album, 'Further Adventures of Sebastian Moon' with pianist Jose Hunt, drummer Rudy Lawless, and saxman Joe Ferguson). He has played guitar and enhanced the groups of Ted Curson, Lonnie Smith, Milt Larkin, Bill Hardman, Patato Valdez and many others. Mel is a very rhythmic player, at home in a hard driving rhythm section. He has sat in with some of the great drummers, including Art Blakey, Roy Haynes, Philly Joe Jones, Al Drears, George Brown and Charli Persip; pianists such as Harold Mayburn, Billy Taylor, Toshiko Akioshi, Joanne Brackeen, Richard Wyands, and Sir Roland Hanna. His bass mates have included Reggie Workman, the great Jimmy Garrett (musical director of the Supremes), Wilbur Bascomb (Aretha's bassman), Vishnu Wood, Paul Ramsey, Marcus MacLaurine, and Stanley Banks. For several years, Mel studied piano and music theory with Sir Roland Hanna. Not content to stay in one place musically or mentally, Mel counts versatility as one of his traits. He has backed up the 'Clown Prince of Bebop', Babs Gonzales; played 50's doowop with the Crests; jammed with Rahsaan Roland Kirk; played at the Newport Jazz Festival with John Garvey's U of I big band. In the 70's, Mel could be found playing with funky jazz groups in the clubs of Harlem, and latin groups in the Bronx after hours scene. In the 80's, Mel formed the Sounds of Space, a jazz/pop fusion group, and played the downtown loft scene. His group included veteran sidemen John Purcell, Wilbur Bascomb, Stanley Banks, Steve Butler and Jimmy Madison. When the loft scene dried up, Mel went on to form a computer consulting firm to support his growing family. In the 90's, Mel has returned to Madison several times and renewed his musical roots there, reuniting with Sebastian Moon, veteran bassman Dennis Oliver, and dynamic drummer Myron Cohen, producing a CD recording of their live concert, 'Phasing In...' which featured Mel's original compositions. Riding on the wave of that release, Mel produced 'Another Side of the Moon,' showcasing more original compositions, this time in a live set with stunning horn arrangements by David Cooper. In the 2000's, Mel has been doing even more with music. Mel says, 'Lately, people have reacted positively to my new tunes. I'm encouraged and am looking for new ways to express these creative feelings.' Mel's new CD, "Our Love" is a mellow set of all original tunes with a quartet consisting of Scott Avidon on tenor sax, Mike Richmond on bass, and Armen Halburian on drums. Mel is looking to work with the quartet in clubs and concerts.