Shot 3 Silenced the Singer
Eddie Jefferson is on the marquee in Detroit
Baker’s Keyboard Lounge
May 9, 1979
1:35 in the AM
When the music’s over, step out into quiet night
1, 2, 3, 4, exit
Baker’s on Livernois Avenue
into the Motor City street.
The Patriarch Lyric Composer of Jazz Vocalese
Griot Poet who busted rhymes
on the solos of Hawk & Prez
Diz & Bird
Dexter & James Moody
is now hustling back to his road home
the Leland House Hotel
with friends Cheryl Francis,
Leonard Paul Harrell & Valerie Chalk.
Eddie Jefferson shut down the gig EARLY
some snide audience heckling
ripping the pick-up band
& his hard post-bopping Alto player Richie Cole
an attack from an Avant-Garde aficionado faction.
EJ had spidey sense & threw a safety net over Cole
told him to lay out of his party
stay put with his Flame
actress Brenda Vaccarro
who was hanging in D Town
with The Alto Madness Man.
Eddie Jefferson hit the Street.
Cheryl Francis painted a gothic tableau:
We heard a loud bang.
I saw smoke.
It was a green Lincoln.
I saw fire shoot out of the passenger side
Just a big burst of fire came out the window.
I kept asking, Where is Eddie?
Leonard Paul Harrell followed Eddie out of the club
53, of Detroit, a dancer
& old running buddy of EJ.
He viewed the green & chrome
Lincoln of Death
pull around a Checker Cab & stop.
2 shots close together rang out
I SAW THE BARREL OF THE SHOTGUN
OUT THE WINDOW FIRING.
THE 3rd SHOT HIT EDDIE.
HE SAID ‘HUP,’ like that.
I guess the force of the shot turned him to the right
& he started running.
I looked up to the 4th shot coming to ME.
I could only see the barrel of the gun & the person
that was holding---
the shadow of the person holding the gun
It was a green Lincoln Town Car
Light green or dark green?
Green like the green in a flower
green like a leaf
Green like the St. Patrick’s day hats?
Not that bright. Not that bright. A green leaf.
Like a green leaf?
BANG BANG BANG BANG
Paul hit the bricks yelled
The artist who put words to Eddie Harris’
Freedom Jazz Dance
made Last Dance steps
35 feet down an alley
made THE BIG JUMP
Vamping, Looping, Riffing
a funky gurgling New Vocalese
fresh for the yank
by The Sandman with the Shepherd’s Crook.
I said, Shotgun
4 blasts from the DRIVER
Late model / Leaf green.
I said, Shot 3
silenced the SINGER
put him Out, baby
Off the spinning Earth
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