If you are a poet lover, this book is for you. If you are a jazz lover, this book is for you. If you are a vinyl lover, this book was designed to look like it’s for you too!
“Jazz ABZ” is a glorious collection of poems all written by Wynton Marsalis and illustrated by Paul Rogers. This collaboration was many years in the works and it was well worth the wait.
I had NO idea what a talented wordsmith Wynton Marsalis is! He plays with alliteration like Louis Armstrong plays with the trumpet. Now mind you, I’m not a die-hard jazz aficionado. Or I certainly wouldn’t label myself as that. I love some of the classic Jazz artists (Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Sarah Vaughan, etc.) and I mainly attribute that to a shared interest with my younger brother who plays trumpet and loved to play jazz in high school. Perhaps this is why I found this collection such a delight.
It’s poetry in jazz form, to a certain extent. It’s an alphabet collection at its most basic, but each letter stands for a different jazz legend. And for every poem, there is a different approach akin to the style of the musician that is highlighted. Some of the word choice (big vocabulary!) might take this out of the picture book category, except for the fact that there is a picture on every page. And the cream at the top? The book is a square the size of an old vinyl album (and the end papers act like the paper cover over the record as well). Brilliant!
I chose the letter F because frankly, I think I adore Ella the best of them all. Her voice has always stood out to me in any recording where she was involved. Notice all the alliteration in this poem, sprinkled with so many f’s it blows my mind. And it’s done in a call and response form. Beautiful!
And if you’re looking for more poetry fun this month, be sure to check out the Kidlitosphere Event Roundup!