“Across the styles” haiku

Written last May 26. Includes Levon Helm, who you probably know died April 19.

Another crazed batch
Of birthday folks hatched today
From jazz to opera

There’s Miles Davis,
The birth of the cool, just one
Of his jazz styles

Bebop and hard bop,
Modal jazz and fusion jazz
Miles pioneered

He was “Kind of Blue”
And drew us “Sketches of Spain,”
“Relaxin,’ ” “Workin’ ”

Like the Pied Piper
Miles blew a magic horn,
But his led to life

Teresa Stratas’
Instrument? Soprano, matched
Only by her heart

She sang opera, yes,
And Broadway, too; her “Showboat”
Was like no other

Kurt Weill’s widow gave
Stratas songs no one else had
— And her voice owned them

Stratas sang it all
Fearlessly, flawlessly with
Punk intensity

Retired, she helped
The poorest among us, joined
Mother Teresa

Heartbreak and mystery
Play muse to this sorceress:
Pop queen Stevie Nicks

Her Fleetwood Mac days
Wove witches and dreams into
Hypnotic hit songs

She conquered demons
Of her own, to keep sharing
Her dream songs with us

The band “The Band” played
Funky and loose, often thanks
To Levon on drums

Levon Helm, his mates
Backed Dylan and then made their
“Music From Big Pink”

Great albums followed
Till the Band’s “Last Waltz” and then
Levon’s solo work

Levon Helm’s back beat
And back-country vocals kept
Their own unique swing

He’s still rocking on,
Winning awards, releasing
New songs and CDs

From “traditional”
To “matched,” drummer’s changed his grip
— But never lost it

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