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From Marsalis, Jazz Profiles in Verse for Kids

Nov 17, 2005 (All Things Considered)

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Wynton Marsalis puts down his horn and picks up his pen for his latest project. It's a book called Jazz ABZ: An A to Z Collection of Jazz Portraits, and in it, Marsalis shares his deep knowledge of jazz in all its forms with children.

Marsalis jitterbugs his way through the alphabet, profiling 26 jazz legends — from Louis Armstrong through Dizzy Gillespie — through a variety of poetic forms.

At first, Marsalis considered writing poems and music for each portrait. But the thought of writing music for these jazz legends just didn't seem right.

Here are a few poems from the collection:

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'Louis Armstrong'   Armstrong.   Armstrong almighty!   An ad-libbing acrobat.   American ambassador of affirmation.   Adventurous author of ambrosial aires.   Absolute architect of the Jazz Age.   Almighty Armstrong attacks a trumpet with abandon!   Armstrong's amazing artistry astonishes audiences of all ages.   Africa to Asia, Australia to Argentina, and even Armenia, Ambassador Armstrong animates the altitudes with angular aural arabesques aplenty.   Awkward adagio arias adjusted with agile allegro accents appease Armstrong's admirers.   Anybody asks, tell them Armstrong almighty is aglow amidst the angels above.  

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