“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

“Hawk takes flight” haiku

Coleman Hawkins, Nov. 21, 1904 – May 19, 1969

Really don’t know jazz
Do know I like anything
By Coleman Hawkins

The Hawk, hatched this date
In St. Joseph, Missouri
Baby, born to blow

Piano, age 5,
Cello at 7, at 9
Tenor saxophone

Many instruments
Many Midwestern homes
Nebraska, Kansas

Topeka High band
Must’ve really had some swing
Hawk doing his thing

He played in KC
Before the Big Apple called
Hawk was on his way

Fletcher Henderson
Gave him a chance, Satchmo showed
Him how to relax

He was the first great
On the tenor sax, and few
Ever outdid him

Lester Young, called Pres,
Told people Hawk really was
The tenor’s first prez

So swinging, so smooth
Miles Davis said Hawk showed how
To play a ballad

Chords and progressions
Hawk knew them all, but what’s more
He knew to evolve

Hanging with Django
And Benny Carter, breaking
Ground, “Body and Soul”

Helped when the time came
Ushered in new bop players,
Out-jammed them at times

Thelonious Monk,
Dizzy, Miles, Rollins, Coltrane
To name just a few

More traditional
In his last decades, but still
A winning tenor

Happy birthday, Hawk
Let that smoky sound tell us
All the things you are