I love this abstract of a scientific paper on ‘Neurological Problems of Jazz Legends’. It’s full of medical jargon but if you read it out loud it sounds like a beat poem. Try it with the same rhythm as Ginsberg’s poem Howl.
Neurological problems of jazz legends
J Child Neurol. 2009 Aug;24(8):1037-42.
A variety of neurological problems have affected the lives of giants in the jazz genre.
Cole Porter courageously remained prolific after severe leg injuries secondary to an equestrian accident, until he succumbed to osteomyelitis, amputations, depression, and phantom limb pain.
George Gershwin resisted explanations for uncinate seizures and personality change and herniated from a right temporal lobe brain tumor, which was a benign cystic glioma.
Thelonious Monk had erratic moods, reflected in his pianism, and was ultimately mute and withdrawn, succumbing to cerebrovascular events.
Charlie Parker dealt with mood lability and drug dependence, the latter emanating from analgesics following an accident, and ultimately lived as hard as he played his famous bebop saxophone lines and arpeggios.
Charles Mingus hummed his last compositions into a tape recorder as he died with motor neuron disease.
Bud Powell had severe posttraumatic headaches after being struck by a police stick defending Thelonious Monk during a Harlem club raid.
If beat poetry aint your bag, try dropping it to the beat of Gang Starr’s wonderful track Jazz Thing, which, among other things, taught me the recondite word ‘recondite‘.
Link to PubMed entry for ‘Neurological Problems of Jazz Legends’.
Link to Gang Starr’s Jazz Thing.