Friday, August 11, 2017

SIREN CALL

Classmate Steve Tristano in Oregon 1952-2015

2nd grade, Mrs Burge had left the room,
Lennie's son, Steve Tristano climbed up
on the piano bench to bang out a boogie woogie,
we were all rocking out—until she returned.
Busted. Instead of praise, she raged
and let out an anachronic scream
that ripped open the fabric of the universe.
We cowered as Steve took the brunt of her anger.
In that way, we knew jazz was bad, very bad.
A siren call, a farewell to arms. An addiction.
And Steve slipped off his moorings a bit—
the descent into darkness had begun.


what prompted this post:
KayAnne Pickens Solem said: On the first anniversary of my dear Steven Tristano's death last November I was too caught up with my own painful issues to mark his passing properly. He is on my mind this summer. Steven Tristano, the oldest son of Lennie Tristano the great jazz pianist/ composer. This photo was taken a few years ago, by Bud Tristano, Steve's younger brother. Steven was my dear teenage boyfriend in west Marin county in the late 1960's, he was a part of the Free Family for a while, Marsha Thelin remembers him with fondness. He was a very gifted jazz guitarist himself, as a teenager he played with our dad JP Pickens, jamming for hours— sometimes on guitar and banjo. He always lauded our dad's pioneering innovative banjo playing and always remembered our family with love, though we didn't see each other for years at a time. His affection for me and our family is a gift. Love you Steven forever. (Steven died November 21st, 2015.)


2nd grade, Mrs Burge left the room, Steve climbed up on the piano bench and banged out the boogie woogie, we were all rocking out until she returned and let out an anachronic scream that ripped the fabric of the universe. We all cowered as Steve took the brunt of her anger....in that way, we knew jazz was bad, very bad. A siren call to arms.

By the time this photo of Steve was taken, he had cleaned up, was off the heroin, but his body paid the price for those decades of addiction.

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