Atop an Underwood

Atop an Underwood by Jack Kerouac Read Free Book Online

Book: Atop an Underwood by Jack Kerouac Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jack Kerouac
sleeping mind told it to my soul as I slept and I distinctly recall noting this as I dreamt. One of the incidents in the dream was that my mother was sick, and that I was hysterical and you were there to comfort me. My explanation for this, however, is the fact that the picture I saw last night called “Andy Hardy and Family” in which Andy’s mother was sick must have caused this event. However, I do remember that there were other events which occurred and which were perfectly Welles in character.
    The main idea of me telling you this is the mood which I was in upon awakening. I sat in my big arm chair and stared at the fireplace and contemplated the most penetrating meditations I had done in a long time, possibly since I sat on your wood pile in Lowell a few weeks ago and studied the board which you pointed out to me and upon which you had told me the white cat had stared at you for nights.
    Slowly, my mind unwound itself from my unearthly thoughts, and I picked up a book which I had given to me yesterday, called “How to Learn.” As I read it, the materialistic world returned to me, and I unconsciously made it known to myself that I would make this book my second bible. My first bible is the Holy Bible, because of the fact that I am about to make a concerted study in religion soon, and put down my conclusions of it along with its effects and consequences. However, back to my mood. As I made my way out of it, I looked at the clock and saw that it was 8 o’clock. I jumped up and put on WABC. On came the music which seemed to fit my mood, and soon, Orson Welles’ tremulous tones came over the ether announcing that he was presenting Jane Eyre. Thus, I enjoyed a program as I haven’t for a long time.

Count Basie’s Band Best in Land; Group Famous for “Solid” Swing
    In addition to publishing short stories in Horace Mann’s quarterly magazine, Kerouac wrote regularly for the campus newspaper, the Horace Mann Record, in 1939—40. He covered the sports teams and contributed articles on music, including pieces on the jazz critic George Avakian (a Horace Mann graduate) and bandleader Glenn Miller.
    â€œI want guts in my music!” Count Basie once said publicly. “No screaming brass for me,” he had added, “but I do want plenty of guts in my music.”
    And so, without any screaming brass, the Count managed to weld his unit into a terrific gang of soloists and ensemble players. Much to the dismay of most of our present day “swing” bands, they cannot be terrific unless they tear off some deafening brass measures to send the jitterbugs out of the world. Count Basie’s swing arrangements are not blaring, but they contain more drive, more power, and more thrill than the loudest gang of corn artists can acquire by blowing their horns apart.
    Possibly, excepting Duke Ellington, the Basie band is the most underrated and greatest band in the country today. Unlike the vacuous phraseology of pseudo-swing bands, Basie’s stuff means something. As for solo work, there is no greater assortment of soloists to be found on any one band-stand.
    Taking these stars apart, we can well realize why the Basie ensemble is the best in the land. Since the old days in Kansas City, these boys have been jamming together, causing a magnificent blend of musicians familiar with each other’s peculiarities and ideas, and a subsequent precision of play.
    To begin with, the Count has the greatest rhythm section in the history of jazz, and this has helped his other great musicians to improve. The Count himself is an outstanding soloist. He is a thrilling player with tremendous ideas. He ranks at least third among the best pianists of the swing world. The rest of his rhythm section is composed of Jo Jones, Walter Page, and Freddy Green.

    Jo Jones is the most finished drummer in existence. It is interesting to note how he keeps the beat going

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