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City of Asylum/Pittsburgh’s 10th POETRY JAZZ CONCERT with Oliver Lake Big Band, Gerald Stern, Kei Miller, TJ Dema—and new guest Ali Cobby Eckermann from aboriginal Australia

September 6th, 2014


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Stream the concert in real-time, Saturday
September 6, 2014,
7:45 pm ET

Past Poetry Jazz Concerts viewable at Youtube
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Jazz Poetry Concert 2014


September 6, 2014 @ 7:45 pm – 9:45 pm

Buy Tickets

Allegheny Commons, West Park
between the National Aviary and 400 block W. North Ave.

FREE. Click BUY TICKETS to reserve.

Karen Simpson

For the 10th anniversary of Jazz Poetry Concert, we are celebrating with a reunion of many of the favorite performers from years past–the Oliver Lake Big Band, Gerald Stern, Kei Miller, TJ Dema—and new guest Ali Cobby Eckermann from aboriginal Australia.

We are also relocating the Concert to West Park, right near the National Aviary. It will be held under a tent, rain or shine.

Jazz Poetry Concert welcomes people with disabilities. Please call for more information or accommodations.

CLICK HERE to reserve your spot, or email Karen Simpson.


2014 Poets

TJ DEMA (Botswana) is a founding member of her country’s spoken word movement, an honorary fellow of the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program and former chair of the Writers Association of Botswana she runs Sauti A&PM a Botswana based cultural production organization. In 2012 she took part in the Cultural Olympiad’s Poetry Parnassus and has read in places including Denmark, India, France and Germany. She has produced a multilingual CD, “Dreaming Is A Gift For Me,” featuring twelve Botswana poets, a solo EP “Tabula Rasa”, is featured on her band Sonic Slam Chorus’ self titled album as well as had her chapbook “Mandible” published by Slapering Hol Press in conjunction with the Poetry Foundation and the African Poetry Book Fund.

ALI COBBY ECKERMANN (Australia) is a Yankunytjatjara poet. Her first poetry collection Little Bit Long Time celebrated her success search to find her family. She has written much about the legacy of the Stolen Generations! including her first verse novel His Fathers Eyes. In 2013 her second verse novel Ruby Moonlight won the Kenneth Slessor Poetry Prize and the NSW Premiers BOOK OF THE YEAR. Ali released her poetic memoir Too Afraid To Cry that same year. In 2014 Ali was Artist In Residence at the University of Sydney, performed at the Ledbury Poetry Festival in England, and is thrilled to attend the International Literature Fellowship at the University of Iowa.


KEI MILLER (Jamaica) Born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1978, Kei Miller is the author of The Same Earth, winner of the Una Marson Prize for Literature, Fear of Stones, which was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book, and The Last Warner Woman. His most recent poetry collection has been shortlisted for the Jonathan Llewelyn Rhys Prize, the Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, and the Scottish Book of the Year Award. In 2008, he was an International Writing Fellow at the University of Iowa. Miller currently divides his time between Jamaica and Scotland.


GERALD STERN (Pittsburgh) Gerald Stern was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1925 and was educated at the University of Pittsburgh and Columbia University.  He is the author of 16 books of poetry, including, most recently, In Beauty Bright (Norton, 2012) and Save the Last Dance (Norton, 2008), as well as This Time:  New and Selected Poems, which won the 1998 National Book Award.  A kind-of memoir of a year in 85 sections titled Stealing History, was published by Trinity University Press in the spring of 2012.  Stern was awarded the 2005 Wallace Stevens Award by the Academy of American Poets, was the 2010 recipient of the Medal of Honor in Poetry by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, he was inducted into the 2012 class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was the 2012 recipient of the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry from the Library of Congress.  He is the 2014 winner of the Frost Medal and has a new book of poems coming out in the fall titled Divine Nothingness.

The Oliver Lake Big Band

CHRIS BECK (drums) Born into a musical family, Chris Beck, a native of Philadelphia, PA, has been exposed to an assortment of music genres throughout his life.  At the age of 7, he picked up his first instrument–the trombone–to which, after two weeks of instruction, he promised never to return. Mr. Beck then switched to the drum set, gaining experience with a host of gospel artists, drill teams, and other community organizations. Beck currently works alongside and has performed with various musicians, such as Legendary Motown recording artist Martha Reeves, Macy Gray, Nicole Henry, David Murray, Amiri Baraka, Ed Cherry, Curtis Fuller, Oliver Lake, Charles Fambrough, Tim Warfield Jr., Terell Stafford, Nicholas Payton, Orrin Evans, Bootsie Barnes, Elio Villafranca, Cyrus Chestnut, Eric Lewis, Wycliffe Gordon, Joe Locke, Derrick Hodge, Bruce Barth, Mark Whitman, and a host of others around the world.

NATHAN EKLUND (trumpet) has earned two Jazz Performance degrees, his Bachelor’s from William Paterson University and his Master’s from New Jersey City University. He has released six albums as a leader/co-leader and recorded on numerous others as a sideman, most notably Spyro Gyra’s 2006 Grammy nominated album Wrapped In A Dream. Nathan is very active in the NYC area big band scene, having performed with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Mingus Big Band, Phil Woods Festival Orchestra, Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Arturo O’Farrill’s Latin Jazz Orchestra and many others. He is currently an adjunct faculty member at New Jersey City University and also teaches at Montclair’s Jazz House Kids program.

DUANE EUBANKS (trumpet) Philadelphia native and trumpeter Duane Eubanks has performed everywhere from the Hollywood Bowl to Birdland to the Kennedy Center, in addition to touring throughout Europe and Japan. He is a member of Dave Holland’s two time GRAMMY Award winning big band and the late Mulgrew Miller’s band, Wingspan. Duane is a recipient of the 2013 Philadelphia Education Fund EDDY Award and two GRAMMY Awards for his participation on Dave Holland Big Band recordings, What Goes Around in 2002 and Overtime in 2005. Currently, Duane is teaching private lessons, performing with drummer Jeff Williams, pianist Doug Carn, bassist Avery Sharpe, and soulful songstress Rhonda Ross, daughter of the legendary Diana Ross.

JOSH EVANS (trumpet) Born and raised in Hartford, CT, was drawn to the trumpet after hearing a Roy Eldridge and Dizzy Gillespie recording at the age of 10. Josh began studying with Raymond ‘Dr. Rackle’ Williams and within a year he began performing regularly with Dr. Rackle’s Sound Griot Brass Band. By the age of 14 Evans’ musical career began to take shape when he started to study with and be mentored by the celebrated alto saxophonist/composer, and educator Jackie McLean. Studying under McLean who shared the bandstand with Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, and Art Blakey, would be pivotal in Josh’s career. The experience would blaze the path for performances with Jackie McLean which included New York based venues known as the Blue Note, Iridium, the Regattabar located in Boston, MA, and the Bushnell Center for Performing Arts in Hartford, CT. In April 2005 Josh began a Three and a half year stint with the Winard Harper Sextet, touring the United States performing and conducting master classes. The group personnel, at different points, consisted of Billy Taylor, Frank Wess and George Cables, as well as trumpet players Terrell Stafford, Claudio Roditi and Phillip Harper. The group would also record a wonderful album in 2006, entitled ‘Make it Happen’ for Piadrum Records. In April 2007, Josh was invited to perform a two week tour of Siberia with master saxophonist, and composer Benny Golson. It was during this time period that Evans would also start performing with master Drummer Rashied Ali and would become the bands trumpet player for the next two years. In January 2011, Josh Evans recorded and released his debut album ‘Portrait’. This Album shares Evans’ influential relationships with Rasieid Ali, Jackie McLean, Raymond Williams, Alan Palmer, and Ralph Peterson.

GREG GLASSMAN (trumpet) Born in Queens, NY, Greg Glassman has been playing professionally since the age of 17. He has shared the stage with some of the greatest voices in jazz, including Clark Terry, Marcus Belgrave, Roswell Rudd, Sheila Jordan, Oliver Lake, Sherman Irby, Geri Allen, John Esposito, and has travelled the world with bands including The Skatallites and Burning Spear. He has just released a live CD of his own group, “Greg Glassman/Stacy Dillard Quintet, Live at Fat Cat”, which partially documents its residency of over 10 years at the West Village club.


TERRY GREEN (trombone) is a New York native trombonist, improviser, drummer, arranger, composer, and educator.  Terry received his Doctorate in Musical Arts from StonyBrook University in 2008 studying under trombonists Ray Anderson and Michael Powell.  He then went on to perform with The Roots, Macy Grey, David Murray, Oliver Lake, Elliot Sharp, and several other notable creative artists.  You can hear Terry on Oliver Lake’s latest big band album titled “Wheels”, Elliot Sharp’s latest Aggregat album called “Quintet”, and an NPR filming of David Murray’s Cuban Ensemble at the NYC 2012 Winter Jazz Festival.  Terry has a wide range of experiences in musical genres including new music, Jazz, Afro-Cuban, Brazillian and Columbian music, gospel, orchestral and chamber ensembles, funk, hard rock and free Improvisation. As an educator, Terry has taught at Stony Brook University, Suffolk Community College, and Clara Barton High School in Brooklyn. Terry was on faculty this summer with his composer/bassist wife Rebekah Griffin Greene at the Walden school in Dublin New Hampshire, where he taught jazz history, led a “garage/funk  band”, and premiered 16 student compositions on either trombone or drum set. Terry and his wife Rebekah live in Queens with their young son Kayden, who loves to jump up and down to music.

STAFFORD HUNTER (trombone) is a Philadelphia native who became a professional musician by the age of 16. Hunter was an award winner of the “Al Grey Award for Musical Excellence.” It acknowledged Stafford as “the Most Promising Jazz Trombone Talent of 1993?. He graduated from the New School Jazz & Contemporary Music Program in 1994 and was the first trombonist to actually graduate from the New School Jazz Program. Beside music, Stafford appeared as a model in the December issue of L’Uomo Vogue (the Italian Vogue magazine for men). This issue also featured jazz greats like Milt Hinton, Clark Terry, Louie Bellson, etc. He also appeared in a documentary film on the late-great pianist; Dorothy Donegan. He was also an actor in a movie entitled “the Day the Ponies Come Back” which was released March of 2001 in France.

AARON J. JOHNSON (trombone) plays in the large ensembles of Jimmy Heath, Frank Foster, Muhal Richard Abrams, Eddie Allen, and the Mingus Big Band and performs frequently with Charles Tolliver, Steve Turre and Sanctified Shells, The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, and Reggie Workman’s Legacy Ensemble. He has also performed with Jay-Z, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight (with and without The Pips!), Southside Johnny, and Nancy Sinatra.  In 2009 he released the acclaimed CD Songs of Our Fathers.  He is a Visiting Professor of Music at Bates College and has degrees from Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Columbia University.


DARIUS JONES (saxophone) is an alto saxophonist and composer nominated in 2013 for Alto Saxophonist of the Year, and for Up and Coming Artist of the Year two years in a row by the Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Awards. Jones made his recording debut as a bandleader in 2009 on AUM Fidelity with the Darius Jones Trios’ Man’ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing). With visual artist Randal Wilcox, Jones has developed the Man’ish Boy Epic, an ongoing Bildungsroman for the Twenty-First Century that folds Jones’ original, all-encompassing musical quest into a startling science fiction story.


OLIVER LAKE (saxophone) is the musical host of Jazz Poetry and has appeared in each concert since 2005, with different accompanying musicians– including the World Saxophone Quartet, his own Jazz Quintet, and Flux Chamber Quartet.  Composer, musician, poet, painter and performance artist, Lake is a featured artist on more than 50 recordings. He is an explosively unpredictable soloist, known for his piercing, bluesy saxophone trademark. He has created chamber pieces for the Arditti and Flux String Quartets, arranged music for Bjork, Lou Reed and A Tribe Called Quest, collaborated with poets Amiri Baraka and Ntozake Shange, choreographers Ron Brown and Marlies Yearby and actress/author Anna Devere Smith. He is co-founder of the World Saxophone Quartet and Trio 3 and leads his Organ Quartet and Big Band. Recently, he was awarded the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award.

MIKE LEE (saxophone) Lee has been a part of the greater New York Jazz Scene for almost 30 years. Since his early associations with Dave Douglas and Joe Lovano in the 80?s, through his stint with the Woody Herman Orchestra and regular gigs with The Village Vanguard Orchestra and Maria Schneider Orchestra in the 90?s to his current associations with Oliver Lake’s ensembles, Wallace Roney Orchestra, and Michele Rosewoman’s New Yor-Uba, Lee has a proven track record as a versatile soloist and a consummate ensemble musician. As a leader, he fronted the renowned Cecil’s Big Band for six years and co-leads the ground breaking quartet, New Tricks. He performs with his trios regularly at his weekly Hat City Kitchen Jam Session as well as Trumpet’s Jazz Club and other area venues.

JASON MARSHALL (baritone saxophone) Jason Marshall’s 2003 arrival in New York City signified the continuation of hard swinging, forward thinking baritone saxophone playing.  With early encouragement to appreciate all types of music, Jason has developed a style that encompasses with whole of African-American music.  A special interest is given to the amalgamation of soul, R and B, and funk with straight-ahead jazz.  Years of dedication and perseverance have resulted in a giant, soulful sound and instantly appealing concept. Influences such as Leo Parker, Nick Brignola and Bruce Johnstone have coalesced to ensure an open perception of the baritone sax and a “take -no-prisoners” approach to playing jazz music.


ALFRED PATTERSON (trombone) has recorded, toured and performed with Oliver Lake, Muhal Richard Abrams, David Murray, Ebony Brass Quintet, and Leo Smith to name but a few.  Recently he toured internationally with the Duke Ellington Orchestra.  He was a member of the New Jersey Symphony and performed with the touring American Ballet Theatre and the Bolshoi Ballet. On Broadway, he has been in the show orchestras of the Alvin Ailey Dance Company and Dreamgirls and the national tour of The Pointer Sisters Ain’t Misbehavin. A recipient of Meet-the-Composer awards, a 2014 commission from the Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District to compose “The IAB African American Suite”, a 3 part suite whose muse was Blues People, Leroi Jones/Amiri Baraka. Suite was premiered July 25 by The New Arkestra in a tribute concert to Amiri Baraka.   Finally, he is a former tenured faculty at Lehman College of CUNY.

ROBERT SABIN (bass) is an improviser and composer who has appeared alongside such artists as Jean-Michel Pilc, Dave Pietro, Dick Oatts, Donny McCaslin, Luis Bonilla, John Riley, Rich Perry, Matt Panayides, John Yao, Bruce Barth, Ivan Renta, Tony Moreno, Dee Alexander, Aaron Johnson, Kenny Werner, Brian Lynch, Killer Ray Appleton, Peter Bernstein, Chico O’Farril, Billy Taylor, The Turtle Island String Quartet, Vince Mendoza, and Roland Hanna. He has places in the 2001 and 2003 International Society of Bassist’s Jazz Competitions, and is currently finishing a Ph.D. in Jazz performance from New York University.


JAMES STEWART (tenor saxophone/flute) is a polymath musician who started on the violin at age nine, switched to clarinet at age twelve, and moved to alto and tenor saxophones and later added the flute, clarinet, and bass clarinet.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from New Jersey City University, and he has performed with Sam Rivers, Sun-Ra, Frank Foster, Abdullah Ibrahim, The Temptations. The Dells, Gloria Gaynor, and The Lionel Hampton and Duke Ellington Orchestras. He has taught in the N.J. Department of Corrections for 25 years.

YOICHI UZEKI (piano) A native of Tokyo, a pianist, composer and arranger, Yoichi Uzeki has received his bachelor’s degree at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA and his master’s degree and the Sir Roland Hanna Award from Queens College, City University of New York. Yoichi played the piano on a historical recording session with Jamaaladeen Tacuma and Ornette Coleman in 2010. This “For The Love of Ornette” CD is available world-wide. Currently, Yoichi has several of his own projects from duo to big band in the United States and Japan, and he is part of the music faculty at York College, City University of New York. He has been a sideman for a number of ongoing projects by Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Oliver Lake, Jeff King, Webb Thomas, Carl Bartlett Jr., Hot Crescents (Co-led by Satoru Ohashi), Battle Jazz Big Band of Japan and so on. Many bands throughout the world have performed his music and charts. In addition to musicians mentioned above, he has performed with Pharoah Sanders, Terell Stafford, James Spaulding, Tim Warfield Jr., Craig Harris, Bobby Porcelli, Cecil Bridgewater, Najee, Chanda Rule, Wolfgang Puschnig, Tony Kofi to name a few.

BRUCE WILLIAMS (alto saxophone) played in Jazz Poetry Concert 2006 in a quartet with Oliver Lake, Dwayne Dolphin, and Roger Humphries.  He has made his name as a sideman with the Count Basie Orchestra, Russell Gunn, Frank Foster, Roy Hargrove, Cecil Brooks, Jimmy Scott, Papo Vasquez, and the World Saxophone Quartet. He also has three CD’s and appears on over thirty other recordings and video projects. Bruce is a crafty, soulful, and intelligent improviser. He currently performs with Buster Williams and Something More and with Steve Turre quintet.


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MARY MACKEY & AL YOUNG: Poetry at Ohmega Salvage, Saturday, August 23, 2014, 1 to 3pm

August 17th, 2014


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Ohmega owner Katherine Davis, poet-novelist Mary Mackey, Al Young, and Ohmega events coordinator Alice Pennes

Mary Mackey and Al Young
(Courtesy photos)

Ohmega Salvage logoMusic, Fun, and Poetry! Saturday, August 23, 2014, Berkeley, CA:  Mary Mackey and former California Poet Laureate Al Young will read their poetry at the burgeoning cultural arts center Ohmega Salvage, one of California’s oldest antique and salvage stores. Famed Berkeley slide guitarist Freddie Roulette will perform along with other musical guests. TIME: 1:00 PM; PLACE: Ohmega Salvage, 2407 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA. 94702 | MAP | Free and open to the public. 510.843.7368

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TED JOANS LIVES!: A Film Documentary by Tom Knoff and Kurt Hemmer

July 22nd, 2014


David Amram & Ted Joans: Improvised Scat Vocals

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TED JOANS LIVES! button cam Watch now
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Ted Joans Lives! is a visual and aural collage by Kurt Hemmer and Tom Knoff examining the life and works of the legendary, tri-continental poet Ted Joans, who was born in Cairo, Illinois on 4 July 1928 and went on to become one of the significant poets of his generation performing his work in the United States, Europe, and Africa. The film has the sound of jazz and the flavor of surrealism. As Ted Joans declared, “Jazz is my religion and Surrealism is my point of view.”

Official Selection of the 2013 Langston Hughes Film Festival.
Honorable Mention/The Los Angeles International Underground Film Festival.
Aurora Award/Platinum Best of Show/2011.
Berkeley Film and Video


DMQ Review | Summer 2014 | Sally Ashton, editor

June 16th, 2014


‘Summertime Blues’?

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Sally Ashton: DMQ Editor and Santa Clara County’s former poet laureate

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Thomas Gillaspy © 2014 All Rights Reserved

Table of Contents


Three Poems   David Lazar
Two Poems   Ronda Broatch
Howling  David Ebenbach
Signals   John Nimmo
Hum In Me, Muse. No Words, Just Thousands of Arpeggios   Tina Kelley
The Uppermost Affliction    Sarah Sloat
Under the Lines  Melissa Gordon
Why Your Signature Is Illegible   M. Nasorri Pavone
First Night Alone  Donna Vorreyer
Always you will  Sara Kearns
Exotic Travel  Bernard Henrie
Farmington: August   Jeff Streeby


From the Ether    Sally Ashton, Editor-In-Chief button cam

From the Archives    Karyna McGlynn, August 2004 Issue

Visuals by
Thomas Gillaspy

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Guidelines          Staff          Archives          Cover

Sally Ashton, Editor in Chief
Associate Editors: W. Todd Kaneko, Anne M. Doe Overstreet
Assitant Editor: Marjorie Manwaring
Editorial Assistant: Marta Svea
Poet’s Bookshelf  Editor: Peter Davis


CHARLES WRIGHT: The new U.S. poet laureate

June 13th, 2014


Charles Wright on Poetry as ‘A Reason for Living’

PBS NewsHour


Who Is Charles Wright, the New Poet Laureate?

The Library of Congress announced today [Thursday, June 12, 2014] that Charles Wright will be the next Poet Laureate, kicking off his tenure with a September 25th reading of his work

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Charles Wright
Photo courtesy Library of Congress ||| CLICKABLE


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The older we get, the deeper we dig into our childhoods,
Hoping to find the radiant cell
That washed us, and caused our lives
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxto glow in the dark like clock hands
Endlessly turning toward the future,
Tomorrow, day after tomorrow, the day after that,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxall golden, all in good time.

© Charles Wright
An excerpt of “Archeology” from  Nothing to Say & Saying It (2006)


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New Poet Laureate: ‘The Meaning Has Always Stayed The Same’

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© Holly Wright / Farrar Straus Giroux


What Does a Poet Laureate Do, Anyway?

On Thursday, the Library of Congress named poet Charles Wright the country’s 20th Poet Laureate. Mr. Wright, 78, has received the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for his past work. Reached by phone in Charlottesville, VA, where he said he was “just about to be attacked by a huge thunderstorm,” he spoke about his plans for the new position, his summer retreat in Montana, and Ezra Pound

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“I saw and read a lot of Charles Wright during the years he and I served on the Associated Writing Progams’ board of directors. As the 1970s faded into the early 1980s, I worked in Hollywood, writing and rewriting scripts. Reading Charles’ poetry alongside the lyrical prose of another Charles Wright — the late African American novelist and Village Voice essayist — I began to sense the intimate relationship poetry and screenwriting share. The screenplay is indeed a lyric form. The poetic novels of Charles Wright and much of the new U.S. poet laureate’s work read like scripts waiting for creative filmmakers.”
— Al Young

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The novelist Charles Wright


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The Art of Poetry #41

Interviewed by J.D. McClatchy