Ted Joans Lives! Tribute (15)

Cordley Coit

Ted Joans   (unfinished documentary)
Music: Ornette Coleman’s Empty Foxhole
Red beans and rice, wet pussy, nice.
We know where the .38 lives
where the rule of switchblades reign.
We waited for Brother Malcolm, Orly:
only for him he was diverted by death.

Pause a full measure: Sax Solo
From the last of Ted to Shakespeare & Co.
Armed with a pen, pocket cornet, herb, and gris-gris
teaching food, sex and art to listeners.
Always with missionary eyes for the uncool.

Bass line:
We knew along with a platoon of girl reporters
what just for kicks meant
And what the nice colored man was thinking
respectful as a shank stuck in a red neck…

Mama Drum solo:
Africa traveled in his bag brining together Black culture
DADA DADA DADA DADaaaah
Elders said he was the last, the last, their last.
A close call

Thumb Piano and Bass:
Ted: I mourn you with a beautiful woman,
I mourn you when I tell the truth,
I mourn you with sons and daughters under a black flag
It ends here at the beginning. It ends at the beginning. Here at the beginning.
Here beginning…
Bring it together:

2003, Simla, Colorado

Kenya Rodriguez:

What to say about such an extraordinary creature. A true artist, poet, musician. I am privileged to work with his son, Robert Jones Sr. He is just as eccentric, creative and headstrong as his father. TED JOANS truly lives!!!! This tribute certainly captives his amazing life and contribution to a society he refused to be a part of. Thank You TED

Valery Oisteanu:

I met Ted Joans in New York 1973, 30 years ago, through Charles Henri Ford as a fellow surrealist and collaborated with him at his “Exquisite corpses” that he had produced over the years one long scroll of pictures and words. We met at The Living Theater reunions, in Soho and at readings at Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church on the Bowery. He gave me one of his books of poetry and collage collaboration with Joyce Mansour: Flying Piranha 1978 and I gave him my book of poetry. His death is very hard to take because he was the last of his kind: Jazz-surrealist-poet-artist! Ted Joans lives!

Ted Joans-The Priest of Jazz

He was ready to play anytime
He was able to take on anyone
In Paris, Berlin or “Tombouctou”
Jazz was his religion till the end

Traveling Surrealist- shaman
With a hammock and beats book
Under his horny arms
Bird’s music in his heart

Preaching for Charlie Parker
Langston Hughes, the Beats
Jazzoetry,mouth and teeth
Triple-trouble-Ted flutters by

Available for impromptu lecture
Or a tumble in a crumpled bed
Surreal Dreams of Afrodisia
And Instant mirrors for Rhinos

He kissed unpardonable Pussy
He liberated sexually oppressed
Fomented,berated & poetisezed
Ted Joans-” Nomadic Consciousness”

Ted Joans by Valery Oisteanu

Hadani Ditmars:

I’m a musician/writer and friend of Ted and Laura’s in Vancouver.

This audio archive of a tribute to Ted ran on CBC radio – it contains snippets of tributes/poems from his “memorial” evening at Bukowski’s in Vancouver- as well as snippets of me performing “Gracias a La Vida” in his honour.

(This audio file features Hadani Ditmars as singer/guitarist, and Itamar Erez, also playing guitar.)

Click here to listen.


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About Denise Enck

Denise is a writer and editor of Empty Mirror. She has edited several literary magazines and her work has been published online and in print since the 1980s.