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Jon Hendricks - A Poem by Monifa Brown

Jon Hendricks
Photo: Brian McMillen / www.brianmcmillenphotography.com

Jon Hendricks – By Monifa Brown

Keeping up with the cats
Always knowing what to scat
A wordsmith with gifts
Ohhh, how your gab uplifts 

Telling our story with love and glory
Making history without mystery
Monk, Horace and Duke knew
Bird and Basie too
Free rein to put your pen to the game
The Father of vocalese you did it with such ease 

A whiz ahead of the biz
A sophisticate with lyrical arithmetic
Droppin’ science with Lambert & Ross
Shaw ‘Nuff you knew how to floss 

Taking the language of the horn and puttin’ it in plain form
Shedding light on notes that float
Double entendres riffs
Making it fit with your wit 

Jet fuel moves
bluesy moods
A soulful resolution
Flawless elocution
A vocal revolution 

Dressed to the nine, sounding mighty fine
Dapper hipster, keener than the next mister
Growlin’ low, honking loud
Falsetto soaring…Always alluring 

You brought casts to their knees just as you’d please
Trading fours with poise
Jump up, make some noise
Slinging adjectives with magnificent force
Tossing nouns and showing who’s boss
Riding the beat like syncopated dancing feet

Swingin’ left hooks, a right, then a fierce upper cut
Pulling punches…lookin’ them square in the eyes
Another TKO!

Born of Ukrainian Jewish and African-American descent in Brooklyn, NY, Monifa Brown's (formerly Carson, happily married and the proud mother of a wonderful son – who can be heard in some of Brown’s WBGO show promos) affinity for music began at an early age. "I am blessed that my parents were determined to expose me to the arts and jazz in particular. They would take me with them everywhere. The first time an irrepressible mark was made was when they took me to hear Miles Davis. His presence and sound were mesmerizing. Miles was magical and I was instantly hooked."