Original poetry by Catherine A Lee, set to original music by the late Lowell S Davidson. Lee first encountered Davidson, a Boston composer/pianist/bassist/drummer in 1979. At that time, she was producing jazz concerts at her loft named Studio Red Top, which began their creative collaboration.
Davidson had this to say about his music: "The piano trio, i.e., the serious piano trio music, is a recent refinement of the earlier trio musics, which used the piano, as a percussive, contrapuntal, fugal or canonical function. Consider the musics possible with a trio consisting of piano, violin, and viola, or of piano, flute, and violin. Clearly there are many well-defined works in these idioms. But, in both these trio types, the piano trio appelate [sic] is misleading, for the flute, violin, and viola are incapable of sustaining sonoric exchanges which integrate the trifurcate timbral considerations relegated to each instrument extant in the trio.
The twentieth century piano trio, however, has in large part, especially in the jazz idiom, consisted of piano, string bass, and percussion. It can easily be seen that now the piano has been freed from its percussive functions, which, perforce, it had to accomplish in the piano-wind, piano-string trios to present melodic and harmonic and formal considerations available to the virtuoso pianist, through loving appraisal of composition."
By the time Lee encountered him, Davidson's concept had progressed to the point of notating his compositions by means of magnetic arrangements of visual art illuminated by odd-looking, yet functional, bare lightbulbs. He personally, lovingly, encouraged band mates to burn these notions into their brains before commencing to play their instruments.
This raw video--recorded by James Sanders--is of a release of hot air balloons during the closing ceremony of the March 2011 Luminaria arts festival in San Antonio TX. Its colors and use of light and anti-gravity are reminiscent of one of Davidson's pieces Catherine learned, although these images concatenate a dimension of motion that was unavailable in Lowell's original piece.
The piano trio heard is an excerpt of "Stately I" from Davidson's sole commercial recording, used for educational purpose. Playing with Davidson are Milford Graves, percussion and Gary Peacock, bass. "Lowell Davidson Trio" on ESP Records (ESP CD 1012, 1965) is for sale in the usual places.
The audio track was recorded during a week-long jazz poetry feature on KRTU-FM's Jazz Break at Noon show hosted by Kory Cook in April 2011.
The poet is grateful to all of these gentlemen for their a-muse-ing contributions to her art.
Catherine Lee founded/ran for 13 years Studio Red Top, a loft space where she produced concerts, jam sessions, and readings. In that adult playpen in 1978, Lee began exploring poetry as a percussive voice with jazz musicians. Today, Lee reads solo or sits in “on poem” with improvised music. Lee handmade several limited edition chapbooks available at Etsy (@JazzOvationInn), and blogs about jazz poetry on Facebook (Jazz Ovation Inn).

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