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Trip Start Dec 19, 2006
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Trip End Feb 22, 2007


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Flag of United States  , Pennsylvania
Thursday, January 11, 2007

(Philadelphia, Thursday, January 11, 2007)-I had already arranged to return to Philadelphia January 11th to do a pair of gigs arranged by my young comrade Danny Collins, a poet and guitarist I've spend a lot of quality time with-along with his pal Tommy Hard, legally known as Josh McCardle-at Common Ground on the Hill every summer since my first residency there in 1999. Danny has developed into a very fine poet and a first-class documentary filmmaker based in Philadelphia, as well as a fearless and indefatigable organizer of poetry events all over the city.

But my dear pal Bill Milkowski heard I was coming to New York City and sent me an invitation to participate in the first ever Jazz & Poetry panel at the annual convention of the International Association for Jazz Education. It would be at 10:00 am on January 11th at the Hilton Hotel in midtown and I'd have a chance to do a number or two with the house ensemble. The event was organized by Goldie Solomon and I was thrilled to be part of it. I've been doing poetry & jazz since 1964 with little but steely indifference from the jazz establishment, and as you all know, I likes me a little recognition for my work every once in a while.

Dr. D's workday could be extended no longer, so I tucked her in at the pad and then split to catch the Philadelphia train for my gigs that evening at Robin's Books and then the fabulous Tritone lounge. The reading at Robin's Books featured several Philly poets, including the organizer, Justin Vitello, himself another homeboy from Detroit, and Dan Collins. At the Tritone, where Danny was the organizer, Elliott Levin and I were joined by some splendid players on congas, guitar and bass and I even got Elliott to do a couple of his own poems as part of our presentation.

It's so great to be able to play in Philadelphia, where the spirits of all the great musicians of the City of Brotherly Love hover in the air and secretly inform the lives of the present-day residents whether they know it or not. John Coltrane. Dizzy Gillespie. Lee Morgan. Archie Shepp. Jimmy Garrison, Jimmy & Percy & Albert Tootie Heath. Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff. Thom Bell. Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. Billy Paul. This makes for a delightful emotional atmosphere to perform in, and I'm always thankful to be invited there.

I spent the night at the warm and compact Dharma Cottage of Danny Collins & his companion in legendary Media, Pennsylvania, sleeping at the foot of their bed on an inflatable pallet and waking well rested in the morning. A sumptuous breakfast in downtown Media and a trip to Union Station put me back on the train for New York City in time to meet Dorothy and her son Mike and drive up to the Newburgh NY airport to pick up our rent-a-car and head out for D's house in Susquehanna PA to get ready for our little tour of out-state New York the next week.


-Covington LA
February 17, 2007
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