Lester Bowie (1941-1999), trumpeter—and so much more*
Lester Bowie Brass & Steel Band, live, Italy (Umbria), 1996
Together, We All Go out under the Cypress Trees in the Chou Family Burial Grounds by T’ao Ch’ien (AKA T’ao Yuan-Ming), 365-427 A.D. (translated from Chinese by David Hinton)
Today’s skies are perfect for a clear
flute and singing koto. And touched
this deeply by those laid under these
cypress trees, how could we neglect joy?
Clear songs drift away anew. Emerald wine
starts pious faces smiling. Not knowing
what tomorrow brings, it’s exquisite
exhausting whatever I feel here and now.
This holiday, recovering from pneumonia, I’m more thankful than ever for family, for art, for poetry and, yes, for music.
*Lester is a member of the MCOTD Hall of fame, along with saxophonists Von Freeman and Henry Threadgill; drummer Hamid Drake; gospel singer Dorothy Love Coates; composer Morton Feldman; poets John Berryman, William Bronk, and Wislawa Szymborska; and photographer Helen Levitt.