Category Archives: Voices Above The Fray

Free Write Friday ~ 50 Shades of JazZen Poetics ~ Jazz Is My Religion by Ted Joans featuring a short snap of Jazz Is My Religion by Django Novo


When folks thought Jazz, religion was not the first consideration that came to mind back in the Roaring Twenty daze.  The new American sound called “Jazz” dropped into American life in the 20’s by challenging what it felt like to live in America as a Jazz musician.   Civil Rights, Poverty, Women’s Rights and ultimately the emancipation from society’s deadly moral clutches.  Especially impacting the Cultural Revolution through the Literary Arts, i.e., Poetry, fashion, lifestyles and mass media were transformed by this so called “basement” music  that took the United States and the World by a storm of “Tsunami” magnitude. Jazz music also exacerbated the racial tensions in the post war period.  Jazz improvisation is different in the sense of learning the process of being a musician, for instance sight singing, music theory and improvisational styles.  Well the part we never see nor realize is the reason why Monk, Miles, Coltrane, or Herbie Hancock make improvisation look so easy and simple is that they practiced till their fingers and lips bled; they listened, learned and emulated their idol’s sound to near perfection; studied jazz improvisation techniques and last but the most important ingredient is EXPERIENCE and the wisdom they gained along the way.  The thing is jazz was like studying life and the process of expressing it is where all the practice and time pay off, but you would never know it.  Why?  Because it’s their passion.  So the job, home, family took on a whole new meaning.  As always, society can’t help itself but to judge what they don’t understand.  That applies to Jazz and its literary expressions.  They are filled with the same elements of music theory like timbre, cadence, color, rhythm just to name a few and are expressions of American Life.

Ted Joans (1928-2003), a poet and artist dropped into the scene achieving notoriety as a graffiti artist spray-painting “Bird Lives” on city walls immediately after the death of Charlie Parker in 1955, he spent his entire career writing poems about jazz or that imitated jazz playing. The most popular and well read jazz poem of his is “Jazz is My Religion.” In this brief excerpt, devotion to a pure, non-commercial jazz is seen as a form of piety, the purity of the commitment matching the purity of the art, a common feeling among many jazz fans and musicians of the post-World War II era.

Also emerging at the same time as Joans was Beat poet Bob Kaufman (1925-1986), whose poetry was often improvised on the spot, frequently not written down, in much the spirit of the jazz musician.  Free Jazz was emerging and Jazz lead the way in terms the phenomenal women, the Harlem Renaissance and Free Jazz.  Religion and Spirituality has always been at the heart of all Jazz.



Jazz Is My Religion

by Ted Joans


JAZZ is my religion and it alone do I dig the jazz
clubs are my houses of worship and sometimes the concert halls

but some
holy places are too commercial (like churches) so I
don’t dig the
sermons there I buy jazz sides to dig in solitude Like
Harlem U.S.A. used used to be a jazz heaven where most of
the jazz
sermons were preached but now-a-days due to chacha
cha and
rotten rock ‘n’roll alotta good jazzmen have sold their
souls but jazz
is still my religion because I know and feel the message
it brings
like reverend Dizzy Gillespie/Brother Bird and
Armstrong/Minister Monk/ Deacon Miles Davis/ Rector
Priest Ellington/ His funkness Horace Silver/ and the great
John, John COLTRANE and Cecil Taylor They
Preach A Sermon
That Always Swings!!

Yeah jazz is MY religion Jazz
is my story
it was my mom’s and pop’s and their moms and pops
from the days of Buddy Bolton who swung them blues to Charlie
Parker and
Ornette Coleman‘s extension of Bebop Yeah jazz is my
Jazz is unique musical religion the sermons spread
happiness and
joy to be able to dig and swing inside what a
wonderful feeling

jazz is/YEAH BOY!! JAZZ is my religion and dig this:
it wasn’t for
us to choose because they created it for a damn good
reason as a
weapon to battle our blues!JAZZ is my religion and its
international all the way JAZZ is just an Afro-American
and like us its here to stay So remember that JAZZ is
my religion
but it can be your religion too but JAZZ is a truth that is
black and blue Hallelujah I love JAZZ so Hallelujah I
dig JAZZ so


Thank you for swinging by…Laissez les bons temps rouler!


Copyright © 2016 by JM Fuller/Jannat Marie/Jazzybeatchick/. All rights Reserved.

This material has been copyrighted, feel free to share it with others; it can be distributed via social media or pingbacks or added to websites; please do not change the original content and please provide appropriate credit by including the author’s name or visual artist @  Readers shall not be charged by you under any circumstance for any or all of this content.




Gear Up Breast Cancer Survivors We R about to Kick Life into Full Swing 4 Breast Cancer Awareness Month.


JazZen4Life is an integrated healing and transformative program that uses Jazz Improvisation techniques with respect to knowing what your talent is; and Zen Mindfulness and the 6 Element Meditations and Blank Space in Healing Arts ~ Poetry (Voices Above The Fray).  You make your own choices—each literary expression reflects one aspect of your personality or experience or dukkha or suffering. Each session will begin with a poem as the trigger or pastiche and through meditation and mindfulness you are guided to intuitively open your mind and your heart to self-discovery. Through various healing art techniques, listening to jazz in many genres to joyfully deepen your understanding of the relationships between your inner and outer worlds; your family/community/world, and then what your experience was like and the choices you have to live a full and happy life.

The  most important part is to start your new life living with cancer would be Self Care.  The oncologist and surgeons did their job of keeping you alive.  Now the staying alive is up to you.  So, for Breast Cancer Month starting this Saturday,  let’s begin with a great website that has an even cooler app.  It is One Green Planet where they have an awesome program called:  30 Days to a Healthier You: A Daily Checklist of Wellness Tips.  I am all set to start Saturday morning as I head out to  Walnut Creek  California for a Lymphedema support group meeting.

JazZen4Life ~ Voices Above the Fray Poetry is the Integrative Poetry Workshop Series component of iSurvivor where you can DYI 2 Write Ur Dream Life using these tecniques. 

“Funny how a melody sounds like a memory.”  By Eric Church

My new beginning always involves finding ways to actualize my dream to be an author was accepting a major aspect of the writing life was solitary confinement .  It has been that way for the past twelve and a half years.   “Wild Dreams of a New Beginning” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti is a poem that spoke directly to my heart.  Acoustic alchemy provided by Herbie Hancock the man who always inspires infinite possibilities in my life,

“Wild Dreams Of A New Beginning”

by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

There’s a breathless hush on the freeway tonight
Beyond the ledges of concrete
restaurants fall into dreams
with candlelight couples
Lost Alexandria still burns
in a billion lightbulbs
Lives cross lives
idling at stoplights
Beyond the cloverleaf turnoffs
‘Souls eat souls in the general emptiness’
A piano concerto comes out a kitchen window
A yogi speaks at Ojai
‘It’s all taking pace in one mind’
On the lawn among the trees
lovers are listening
for the master to tell them they are one
with the universe
Eyes smell flowers and become them
There’s a deathless hush
on the freeway tonight
as a Pacific tidal wave a mile high
sweeps in
Los Angeles breathes its last gas
and sinks into the sea like the Titanic all lights lit
Nine minutes later Willa Cather‘s Nebraska
sinks with it
The sea comes over in Utah
Mormon tabernacles washed away like barnacles
Coyotes are confounded & swim nowhere
An orchestra onstage in Omaha
keeps on playing Handel’s Water Music
Horns fill with water
ans bass players float away on their instruments
clutching them like lovers horizontal
Chicago’s Loop becomes a rollercoaster
Skyscrapers filled like water glasses
Great Lakes mixed with Buddhist brine
Great Books watered down in Evanston
Milwaukee beer topped with sea foam
Beau Fleuve of Buffalo suddenly become salt
Manhatten Island swept clean in sixteen seconds
buried masts of Amsterdam arise
as the great wave sweeps on Eastward
to wash away over-age Camembert Europe
manhatta steaming in sea-vines
the washed land awakes again to wilderness
the only sound a vast thrumming of crickets
a cry of seabirds high over
in empty eternity
as the Hudson retakes its thickets
and Indians reclaim their canoes


Copyright © 2016 by JM Fuller/Jannat Marie/Jazzybeatchick/. All rights Reserved.

This material has been copyrighted, feel free to share it with others; it can be distributed via social media or pingbacks or added to websites; please do not change the original content and please provide appropriate credit by including the author’s name or visual artist @  Readers shall not be charged by you under any circumstance for any or all of this content.

What Do Cancer Survivors and U.S. Veterans believe in common? There is more to being Alive than just Breathing and No, We are not Grateful Living Drenched in an Attitude of “Beggars Can’t be Choosers…”


Jazz is smooth and cool. Jazz is rage. Jazz flows like water. Jazz never seems to begin or end. Jazz isn’t methodical, but jazz isn’t messy either. Jazz is a conversation, a give and take. Jazz is the connection and communication between musicians. Jazz is abandon.  ~ Nat Wolff

Actually, I don’t know what other survivors think because for the past 20 years I have been living in the margins of American life.  Of course I could blame this on something common like the neuropathy that took me down from a very active and productive life, which I never heard of before. I was paralyzed.  Or maybe the oh so common theme for the baby boomers was it was …”the rents fault” even better the man, anti-establishment, blah, blah blah.

I was born with a successful jazz arranger/conductor father who, you wouldn’t know it by looking at him, was a straight up, no holds barred, chauvinist of the more traditionally drenched deadly type.  He felt that the best way he could protect me from the “bad” things in life was to control mom’s and mine.

He wrote a song for me when I was 4 apparently it was a contract he made with himself to enforce it.  I spent most of my childhood in my room.  Not chained to a radiator but imprisoned by some undefined sense of  guilt, a duty as a daughter and powerless to do otherwise.  I grew up all jazz.  Not complaining, just that it is yet another layer that is so opaque that the truth became buried in pages in the books I read and poetry I wrote for an audience of one.  That changed in 1965 which for me was when I had truly fallen in love with music, words, and the Blank Space of which was filled with wonderful possibilities.

Being a Survivor comes in many layers and over the past twenty years the layers have gotten thicker.   Jazz is all about conversation.  It is when freedom of expression is allowed.  Where being totally present is a requirement.  Well there were three conversations I had with my father,  but this one is the one that not only confirmed my suspicions that this conversation revealed what my father felt about himself.  Ever since I was eleven years old I thought it was my fault that I was not the girl he wrote the song for and if he didn’t love me why should I? What remained in my heart was the last words that clang through my head to this day…  Funny thing I loved him no matter what and followed him everywhere in 1965 like a “mini-me” of him throughout all of the rehearsals and live performance.  But, those words some twenty five years after still cut through my heart with the same fear and anger…

”You brought this on yourself!  I told you that I am only doing what is best for you.  You can’t come back home and stop calling your mother at work you will get her fired.  Welcome to the Harsh Reality of Doing it Your Way!”

I didn’t say a word as the phone lay propped against my quaking chin slippery from the tears that fell from a shackled tree.  My arms lay dead at my side and my legs on fire and numb at the same time.  It was hours before I was set to begin my eight treatments of Plasmapheresis which drained my blood and replaced it with human albumin.  Now this was the only treatment for this neuropathy.  As a neuroscientist  the experiments done in the lab were what I thought were noble,  to find new pathways for nerve growth in spinal chord injuries or regenerating bone cells there was through electromagnetic fields were done on the body without any consideration of what was going on in the patient’s mind and spirit.  It is conceivable to not be concerned when we are talking about dogs, or cats, monkeys or rats.  But humans,  that is where we are now and I am terribly frightened that the Frankenstein syndrome has taken affect.  That life has been reduced to materialistic and is quantified by increasing the years of survival.  So the plan is to keep chasing the cure and forget about the carnage of the survivors left to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives.  Somehow I am having a hard time separating my father’s last words and how I feel when I even think of the word “Survivor”.

Actually, until now, I wish I was given the right and the choice to decide for myself because I am living with the unintended consequences that through no fault of mine I got GBS, Uterine and Breast Cancer, I now have Lymphedema I can’t afford treatment for and of course with being a 62 year old, single, female, missing body parts, weakened and rapidly deteriating neuropathy and being treated and feeling like I should feel lucky that I am alive, I don’t think so…It sucks.  And it is rightfully my choice with respect to the astronomical cost to save my life when I can’t afford to stay alive because of the circumstances.  Nobody seems to care.  They suggest therapy because they have accomplished their goal.  Now the rest is up to me?  NOT!  In the next posts will delve into the mindfulness of being a Survivor or the Secret Life of a Survivor…

So mindfully, Mary Oliver’s poem resonates so loudly in my soul…”Every day, I see or hear something that more or less kills me with delight.”

by Mary Oliver

Every Day
I see or hear
that more or less

kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle

in the haystack
of light.
It is what I was born for—
to look, to listen,

to lose myself
inside this soft world—
to instruct myself
over and over

in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant—
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab

the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help

but grow wise
with such teachings
as these—
the untrimmable light

of the world,
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?

Copyright © 2016 by JM Fuller/Jannat Marie/Jazzybeatchick/. All rights Reserved.

This material has been copyrighted, feel free to share it with others; it can be distributed via social media or pingbacks or added to websites; please do not change the original content and please provide appropriate credit by including the author’s name or visual artist @  Readers shall not be charged by you under any circumstance for any or all of this content.