‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – a jazz edition

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the club
All the hep cats were grooving, the music was love.
The band was a-jammin’- our notes danced in the air
In hopes we’d get paid, and dammit, paid fair.

Lovers were nestled, sweet-nothings were said
While visions of after-show hookups danced in their heads.
And Mark on the trumpet, and me on the traps
Started a groove that proved – we were all cool cats.

When outside of the club there arose such a clatter,
The band sprung from the stage to see what was the matter.
Away to the front door we flew like a flash,
Tearing past sexy ladies and cats smoking hash.

The moon on the breasts of a girl named Jenna
(Distracted us for a moment – but we got back on track, ya dig)
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But the ghost of Louis Armstrong, and some jazz cats from yesteryear.

These legends were sacred, the legends were tight
Louis said “We’re gonna play a show with you tonight!”
They spirited past us and up onto the stage,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Basie! now, Davis! now, Coltrane and Waller!
On, Baker! On, Monk! on Gillespie and Parker!
To the top of the ceiling! To the top of the wall!
Now groove away! Groove away! Groove away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
The music was soaring, boy these cats could still play
And me and the boys ran back up to the stage.

We were playing with legends, the crowd was getting hot
Grooving, and moving, and smelling of pot
The eighty dollar bourbon came off the top shelf
And was passed around to everybody, except for myself!
(Literally, it was out by the time it came to me – very disappointing)

Armstrong, he nudged me, said “take a few bars”
So I drummed my ass off, and I soloed it hard
The ghosts were waving handkerchiefs, saying “fella don’t hurt em”
And the band came back in at the end of my sermon.

Satchmo’s eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks blew up when he played, they looked just like cherries!
He gave me a wink as the band played on
At this moment I wondered, “what kind of drugs am I on?”

The band and the legends all stopped for a break
And we sat down at a table so we could drink through the wait
We all shot whiskey, I coughed as it went down in my belly
Satchmo shook as he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was jolly and plump, a right happenin’ old elf,
Lovin’ the fool I was making of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, and we went back to stage
We played our last set, it was all of the rage.
Satchmo and friends floated out to the street
Sweat lingered on my brow from the musical heat.

Then the jazz ghosts began ascending up to the sky
And I watched them go with a tear in my eye.
But I heard Satchmo exclaim, as he rose out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

Ya dig? – Chad Henderson

Chad Henderson is the Marketing Director, PR Director, and Production Manager at Trustus Theatre in Columbia, SC. In his time at Trustus, he has directed various critically acclaimed productions including “Passing Strange”, “Spring Awakening”, “The Last 5 Years”, “Assassins”, “The Rocky Horror Show” (Winner-up Best Local Production), “reasons to be pretty”, “The Lieutenant of Inishmore”, and “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead” (2007), which was named “Best Local Production” by readers of the Free Times. He has worked with The Studios of Key West, Workshop Theatre of South Carolina, The Columbia Children’s Theatre, Spartanburg Next Stage, The Spartanburg Youth Theatre as well.