Robert Pinsky once yearned to follow in the footsteps of his heroes Dexter Gordon, Coleman Hawkins and other titans of the almighty reed, which the poet describes in "Ginza Samba" as "a kind of twisted brazen clarinet" invented by "a monosyllabic European called Sax." When he realized that jazz's swing was not meant to be his professional thing, Pinsky made the pen his axe, and has gone on to become a maestro of meter, a viceroy of verse. But the influence of our nation's classic musical art form has long informed the muse of the New Jersey-born former U.S. poet laureate. His phrases and stanzas flow with improvisation-like fulminations, yet his structural chops reveal a master of the form able to keep the mighty stream from overflowing its banks. The translator of Dante and civic-minded initiator of the Favorite Poem Project often reads his poems in the company of jazzbos, his wordplay weaving with the "wiggly tune uncurling its triplets and sixteenths." Free-wheeling L.A. trumpet legend Bobby Bradford and his Mo'Tet back Pinsky for the Hammer gig, making for an evening of delightfully uneasy listening and provocative truth-seeking. Robert Pinsky and Bobby Bradford Mo'tet,
Thu., Feb. 10, 7 p.m., 2011

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