THE LIVES OF DEAD JAZZ SINGERS: Maxine Sullivan

26 02 2009

THE LIVES OF DEAD JAZZ SINGERS:
Maxine Sullivan

Daddy cut hair. As the world did a couple of twirls. Maxine Sullivan of Twelfth Street. Next to the newspaper stand. Happy as a peach. Detroit losses jobs. War in Europe. News of the World. But no one in Pittsburgh cared. If the Pirates weren’t on the front page then it was September. A long while from April. And all that hope for love. Maxine went to New York one weekend. And did not return. Loch Lomond. An odd song for a little black girl to make a career upon. She was “Going Places” in the twentieth century. And then one day she stood up. And stepped off the stage. What is the point to all of this? There was a daughter. To raise. Out of the limelight. In an attic. A Rembrandt of a photograph gathered dust. A street in Harlem with nappy haired boys sitting on the curb. And behind them. Charles Mingus . Thelonious Monk . Count Basie . Gene Krupa . Coleman Hawkins . Lester Young . Gerry Mulligan . Art Blakey . Buck Clayton . Bill Crump . Roy Eldridge… and the list kept going on. Her son pointed to a shy little lady that was Maxine Sullivan standing on the sidewalk of the photograph. Next to the newspaper stand. And said – That lady is my mom.

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14 12 2011
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