Branford Marsalis
Jazz Thing
[Various pieces of jazz compiled by Marsalis]
"I would like to play a, little tune I just composed not so long ago"
"Ms. Billie, Ms. Billie, Ms. Billie Holiday"
[drum roll] [piano keys played]
"Byrd?" [trumpet solo] [group horns]
"The music called jazz"

[Verse 1: Guru]
Its roots are in the sounds of the African
Or should I say the mother, bringin' us back again
From the drummin' on the Congo
We came with a strong flow and continue to grow
Feet move to the beat of the t'balo
Now, dig the story and follow
For then it landed, on American soil
Through the sweat, the blood and the toil
Hear "Praise the Lord," shouted on chain gangs
Pain they felt, but it helped them to maintain
Scott Joplin's rags, Bessie Smith's blues
St. Louis blues, they were all the news
Ringin' smooth, in all the listeners' ears
Fulfillin' the needs, and plantin' the seeds of a jazz thing
King Oliver's group was a train comin' through
To Chicago, bringin' the New Orleans groove
And when Satchmo blew, the audience knew
Basin Street Blues was no whorehouse tune
It was music, great to dance to
Great to romance to, with a lot to say to you
Relayin' a message, revealin' the essence of a jazz thing

[DJ Premier cuts "Jazz Music"]

[Verse 2: Guru]
In the 40's came be-bop, the first be-bop
The real be-bop, so let me talk
About Diz' and Bird, givin' the word
Definin' how a beat could be so complete
Playin' with ferocity, thinkin' with velocity
About ornithology, or anthropology
And even Epistrophy, and this is real history
Thelonious Monk, a melodious thunk
No mistakes were made with the notes he played
His conception, was recondite
A star glowin' bright among dim lights
The critics did cite that he sounded alright
And Charlie Mingus, such nimble fingers
Droppin' the bass all over the place
And Max Roach, cymbals sockin'
Bass drum talkin', snare drum rockin'
Restructurin' the metaphysics of a jazz thing
John Coltrane, a Man Supreme
He was the cream, he was the wise one
The impression of Afro Blue
And of the promise that was not kept
He was a Giant Step
And there was Ornette Coleman, he was another soul man
The original invisible, playin' great music
I wonder why the bankers couldn't use it
Now, listen, see
The real mystery is how music history
Created by Whiteman or any other white man
That pretended he originated
And contended that he innovated a jazz thing
(Of course, we know who can really blow)
Scheamin' on the meanin' of a jazz thing

[Verse 3]
And this music ain't dead, so don't be misled
By those who said that jazz is on its deathbed
'Cause when Betty Carter sings a song
Ain't nuttin' goin' on but simply good music
And you won't refuse it
She's takin' her time, makin' the nuances rhyme
Sonny Rollins, tenor saxophone
With a big old tone, recitin' poems
With notes as words, and haven't you heard
Now there's young cats blowin'
And more and more people, yes, they will be knowin'
Jazz ain't the past, this music's gonna last
And as the facts unfold, remember who foretold
The 90's, will be the decade of a jazz thing
[DJ Premier scratches "I love jazz music"]

A jazz thing