Herbert (Harry) Kuhner

Swing Men and Women

A series of poems
on jazz personal Introductions
Morelle Smith & Harry

Swing Men & Women contains poems
on prominent jazz musicians and singers
of the Swing era, such as Lester Young,
Roy Eldridge, Big Sid Catlett and Billie Holiday,
as well as some who got lost in the shuffle, like Lil Hardin Armstrong.
Situations that these men and women had to overcome,
such as Jim Crow, are also dealt with.
And last but not least, this collection is rounded out
by biographical aspects of the author as a jazz devotee and drummer.

I’ve had a bumpy ride as a writer,
but jazz has always provided me
with joy and solace.

The word Divine
does have a personal meaning for me.
It applies to music,
as well as to all art that strives for


Kick-Ass Drummers

Guitarist Allen Johnson,
a former schoolmate of mine,
called Chick Webb
and Gene Krupa
“kick-ass drummers.”

I can see those guys
using sticks and brushes
to whip any musician
lingering behind
and kicking him into shaping up
with the bass drum pedal.

A drummer has to make a band move.
It’s his business
to see that everybody keeps pace.

Chick and Gene are certainly good examples,
but every drummer who was worth his salt
has been a kick-ass drummer.

I’m sort of shy,
and I try to be a nice guy,
but being considerate
of your fellow man,
does not mean
not being a kick ass-drummer
when you sit at the kit

Any musician
who plays with me
is going to get his ass kicked
if he tarries.


– Herbert Kuhner