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mark weber and kazzrie jaxen at outpost performance space

Poet Mark Weber writes, “I always say I published my first poem when I was 15. But that sounds like I published the first poem I ever wrote. It was probably my twenty-third poem. Came out in the high school newspaper where I was indentured in Southern California, just outside Los Angeles. I’ve written 10,492 poems since then. I’ll read a dozen of them this night with accompaniment from my cherished friend Kazzrie. Most of my life, I’ve been entangled in music and writing. I was the kid at high school walking around with a John Coltrane album under his arm. I wrote the Los Angeles column for CODA jazz magazine 1976-1986. Didn’t really hit my stride as a writer of poems till I was 28. It’s been an interesting field of endeavor, all these years. I’m writing a book about the Los Angeles jazz scene 1950-1970s–you can turn on the radio at noon every Thursday on KUNM to hear what I’m investigating.” Improvising pianist, teacher, and composer, Kazzrie Jaxen is known for her exuberant intensity, originality, virtuosity, and ability to transport an audience. Her music ranges from free improvisation to jazz standards, and from original songs to vibrational journeys into the dreamtime. Jaxen has recorded for the Jazz Records and New Artists labels and has performed at Carnegie Recital Hall, The Greenwich Village Jazz Festival, The Blue Note, Birdland, and many other venues. Mark Weber says it like this, “….she is beyond compare… a transcendent jazz pianist… adept in the mystical art of swing, that elusive phenomenon that makes jazz JAZZ. She is capable of transforming a piano into a hurricane…Lennie Tristano had many students and Kazzrie is one of the shining lights that has brought his vision into the 21st century.” This is her first performance in New Mexico.

Thursday, October 21, 7:30pm – Mark Weber & Kazzrie Jaxen. Sponsored by Sole Comfort and Podiatry Associates of New Mexico. $15/$10 Members & Students. Available in advance, by phone or in person, at the Outpost Performance Space (268-0044)

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Mark Weber | Photo by by Jim Gale |October 21, 2o10

Doing My Thing Oct 21

Dear Friends,

If you’re like me and the mere mention of a poetry reading makes you want to head for the hills, then, I certainly won’t hold it against you if you decide to stay home Oct 21 and balance your checkbook, instead.

After all, you’ve put that off for months.

Time to catch up.

For those of you who don’t have checkbooks, let me say that I promise not to trot out the latest small dramas of my life in rhyming quatrains (remember how much our 5th grade teacher Mrs Gillingsteinham loved that?)

Still and all, it’s been five years since I’ve presented my work in public in New Mexico. And bringing Kazzrie Jaxen from New York to the stage with me is special.

What is poetry?

Poetry is words supercharged with that type of electricity like when you grab a Van de Graaf generator and your hair stands on end. Usually the inception of a poem began with an instant of heightened awareness. We all have them. Poets are the deranged
individuals that insist on writing them down and reading them to captive audiences. Poets wear capes and big floppy hats with a peacock feather and a pince-nez, watch fob, emerald ring from a guru in Katmandu.

Poets are those crazies that grab onto the electromagnetic cyclotron energy generators and hold on for dear life, sparks flying out the ends of their hair, eye sockets gone white, their tongue flapping like a cobra, skin crawling with neon caterpillars.

Alas, the evening is not going to be all poetry, there is so much more. There will be a public demonstration of poetic suicide, we’ll have mother’s own kitchen oven on stage and a volunteer (not me!) from the audience (preferably a poet) will be gassed. Have you ever noticed how many (American) poets have offed themselves? What’s up with that? Sara Teasdale, Vachel Lindsay, Hart Crane, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Lew Welch, Charles Bukowski, John Berryman, etc.

We all know poetry tends toward the self-indulgent and angst-ridden but come on! This is taking it a bit too far. A tradition I suppose.

So, skip the oven, I was merely thinking out loud.

Maybe a blood letting? . . . .

Then, we’ll have Mrs Gillinghamstein come up and teach me, again, all about iambic pentameter and A-B-A-B rhymes schemes. . . ha ha ha.

Kazzrie Jaxen | Photo by  Jim Gale |  October 21, 2010

Let me start over:

Alas, the evening is not going to be all about poetry, at least not poetry of the written word. This evening is mostly about introducing Kazzrie Jaxen to New Mexico and vice versa.

First set will be a sequence of ten poems — shorties — interspersed with piano miniatures from Kazzrie. The SECOND SET will be all Kazzrie! Though, I think she said something about me reading one or two poems with her somewhere amidst this. If you are accustomed to living in the cosmic world with ethereal presences then it’ll all seem quite normal. However, if you’re like me and spend your time squeezing lemons then the concert is going to be a little scary.

Kazzrie has a natural infectious exuberance and she not only re-harmonizes the standards of the jazz repertory but she has re-harmonized her whole body. She’s got the boogie in her left hand and the solar winds in her right.

She’s easily one of the great jazz pianists of our time.

At age ten she was playing recitals of Bach, Scarlatti, Chopin, Beethoven, Prokovieff. By age 20 she was studying with jazz mystic Lennie Tristano and absorbing a comprehensive understanding of the language of jazz. By age 30 she had fully realized her own voice within the world of art and jazz.

ALSO, Arlen Asher & John Trentacosta have asked me to guest on The Jazz Experience radio show KSFR, this coming Monday, October 17, to discuss Kazzrie’s music. This extraordinary radio show airs every Monday morning 9-12noon. ( I’ll be on the second hour.) KSFR 101.1FM and streaming on the web >  KSFR.org.

ALSO, Kazzrie herself will be on my KUNM Thursday radio show Oct 21 @ noon — this will be the pledge drive show and I’ll also have my dear friends Senor Tom Guralnick and Senorita Robin Seydel assisting me in this search for pecuniary equivalencies. Whew, did I say that? What’s in this tea anyway?

Yours in poetry & tea,

Mark


Kazzrie Jaxen | Photo by Dana Duke

Download listen to Kazzrie Jaxen | From Abyss To Abyss from her recording For the Beauty of the Earth which can be found by clicking the CD cover on the left…or please go here if you are interested in the down-loadable MP3 version.