"The words and the music don't just coexist," Dan Morgenstern writes in his liner notes for Dan Jaffe's Playing the Word. Morgenstern, director of the Jazz Institute at Rutgers University, says Jaffe's words and music "come together, they swing and sing." On the album (and in its companion book), Jaffe riffs spoken-word-style about jazz performers, devoting significant time to such Kansas City heroes as Charlie Parker, Milt Abel, George Salisbury and Claude "Fiddler" Williams. The poet performs at 7 tonight at the Blue Room (1616 East 18th Street, 816-474-8463), jamming with area luminaries such as Angela Hagenbach, Jeff Harshbarger and Doug Auwarter. Co-headliner Phyllis Becker, who collaborated with Hagenbach on the disc Poetry of Love, reads from her latest collection, How I Came to Love Jazz, with instrumental accompaniment. Tickets cost $5.
Wed., June 25, 7 p.m., 2008