ELLA AND JOE IN WESTWOOD
Alone on stage: Ella and Joe, guitar and voice,
pick and pitch, rhythm and song.
Joe’s hands: Fingertip-toeing down the strings,
digits like tightrope aerialists balanced
on vibrato chords.
Ella’s voice: Acrobatic notes swinging in the air,
somersault scats, grabbing the bebop trapeze,
jazz riffs, sound-glyphs.
The dead still make music.
Ella with her big, thick glasses,
Joe’s balding pate, half-pick strum,
feeling my front-row seat still warm from years ago,
the audience ascending like a cloud in musical sky
as a voice travels up the string
asking How high the moon?
*For Ella Fitzgerald (1917-96) and Joe Pass (1929-94), and a concert at the Westwood (now Geffen) Playhouse, Los Angeles.
Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Pass “Gee Baby Ain’t I Good to You” 1974