J Chaplin In The Big City

I don’t remember much, but I woke this morning from a dream in which I was wandering around NYC, aimless, comical, like Chaplin, Keaton, perhaps even Harpo.

I had the sensitive, innocent, mischievous look of a man with nothing but curiosity and attraction to guide me, the comical little movements, unrequited and longing looks at all the disconnected people, buildings, stores, phenomenon, the optimistic magnetism of one trying to connect with everything only to be quickly followed with the sad thwarted look of a man turned away by everyone, finally resolved, each time, into the plaintive, content look of one who settles for his own little adventures, trip of emotions, hope of finding a woman who cares, a simple returned glance, a friendly smile, a friend or at least partner in melancholy among the homeless, the old, the children, the animals.

I was full of perfectly awkward gestures, little slips, contained modest movements…attempts to dance with the city like a big crude partner that keeps whirling me around, stepping on my feet, crushing me against the walls, the others, paying me no attention.

It ended with me sitting on a stoop, in a lonely corner slightly away from the crowd and it was all in black and white, silent.

Dancin With Dizzy

I dreamt I was watching a show on the history of Jazz, and was immersed in it. On a train rocking along going back through the tough times of the 20s, 30s, 40s in black and white. From desperate poverty and outright racism came a song and dance that was more than victorious. It was Jazz. I don’t remember much but the end now (though there was a scene in which uncle Ted entered, with which I shared a moment of sympathetic adoration, comprehension of what Jazz was).

I was in a club watching Dizzy Gillespie perform at the end of his life. When I got there, I sat at the bar. Someone gave me some weed. I took a seat at the front of the spacious place across the empty dance floor from the band, where Diz stood leading. I fumbled with the weed b/c it was mixed with tobacco, separating it out as I could, but having a hard, distracting time trying to be inconspicuous. A guy next to me obviously wanted a toke, watching me, what I had. Finally I managed to half-way sort it out, but gave up, distracted again by the music, the performance.

Diz was having a great time and I became enthralled with his masterful mischief. At the end, the band had stopped but he was still scatting along, doing a little dance. I walked along with him as he sang and shuffled his way back toward the bar, across the big, clean place. As we approached the end of the empty floor, and our conversation –at least one other person was now hovering, wanting to talk to him– I asked him if he possibly remembered meeting Eric Molin. A subtlety pleased look of recognition came over him.

As he smiled back at me I told him that was my dad, that he had left me his trumpet –I got goosebumps, and pointed them out to Diz– and that dad had studied with the same teacher, Dizzy’s first, at which point his expression became a bit less comprehending. I said, “I love you Diz,” as I backed away, and the supremely celebratory scat and shuffle now became mine as I left him, singing my bebop, doing my little dance.

Songs On The Spot

Newspaper and Trumpet played some tunes and wrote some newsprint Wednesday evening.

  1. Started Over
  2. I’m Empty
  3. Don’t Le Me Be
  4. Caveman Fannypack
  5. I’m Red
  6. Thank You
  7. Started Over (Again)

Making Art With Sara Hickman

588667816_e748a8a99f_mI am very excited to post that I have begun making art with Sara Hickman! We got together a few weeks ago and had a  fantastic time writing a few poems, starting a few songs.

Here is the rough sketch of the first semi-complete song, Bananas! She had the instrumental la-la chorus, improvised a great chorus and verse, to which I added another two and a bridge.

How We Got Bananas!
0.1a – Sara sings the la-la chorus…
0.1b – …then she makes up a fantastic verse.
0.2 – I add two more verses and bridge, sketched it w/reggae guitar, backing vocals.
0.3 – Sketch again with driving guitar, sampled shaker, new takes, bit more production.


da da da da, da da da da

i greeta da bananas in da morning
and eata da banana most every day
i dip a da banana into my yoghurt
and peck at peanut butter you got on your plate

oh how i am hungry for something so healthy
i needa da energy so i can play
hello mister granola or you can say hola
anyway you mix it it’s quite a parfait

my little banana my little banana
oh you’re so yellow my bright happy fellow
i love my banana more than i can say
da da da da, da da da da

i packa da banana for de afternoon time
for a sweet snack in a slice of da shade
it’s got it’s own package but squeeze it so lightly
or you’ll get all slimey wherever it’s laid

banana beer banana bread banana chip banana pudding
banana split, cherry and chocolate on it
banana boat and a banana cream pie
banana lips banana nose banana eyes

my little banana my little banana
you’re good for my tummy and so sweet and yummy
i love my banana more everyday
da da da da, da da da da,

i peela the banana in the evening
when you come around i make you fresh fruit
you say you love it when we get together
and you let me feed you with my little spoon

oh how i love you, oh you’re so beautiful
you make me happy more than i can say
when you go away oh i’m so lonely
but i go bananas and then i’m ok

my little banana my little banana
you’ve got such a luster when out with your cluster
you follow your hunches and travel in bunches
stick it in your ear and pretend you can’t hear
but please never take my banana away
da da da da, da da da da

Sara’s also entrusted me with 7 canvases, so beyond the new songs, I’ve got a few visions to chase…bless you sweet generous muse! I’ve just made some additions to her painting below (namely the Adirondack chair and black writing on the flower). Check out all the art and music we’ve begun making at newspaperandtrumpet.com.

The Chair and The Chicken