Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Beat-Bop Jazz

for Richie Powell

Lookin’ for a hat all beat up and torn
Lookin’ for a bed that ain’t never been worn

Up and down the highways, up and down the dial
Drivin' in the rain for a drink and a smile

Navigatin' barrooms — dancin’ in saloons
Hearin’ me some beat-bop jazz rhythm toons

Go! Go! Go! Sweaty fingers snap
Got to get down off this benzedrine slap

Harder faster — crackin’ walls of plaster
She’s half cut, think I’m gonna chance her

Abandon our morals at the bedpost of ruin
Hearin' me a nice beat-bop jazz rhythm toon


— Mark Butkus


Beat-Bop Jazz is inspired by the short life of bebop jazz pianist Richie Powell. Born this day in 1931, Richie died along with his wife Nancy and band-mate Clifford Brown while driving between gigs in June 1956.