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Friday, March 13 • 9:00pm - 10:30pm
Baraka Tribute: Reading and Jazz Performance

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In the tradition of a signifying, fisted head-nod protest groove comes "HEROES ARE GANG LEADERS," a group of poets and musicians formed by poet Thomas Sayers Ellis and his frequent collaborator Saxophonist James Brandon Lewis after the death of legendary poet/activist Amiri Baraka (2014) to resurrect the matrimony of Black Literary Art and Music as medicine, battle cry, dirge, and the struggle for pleasure.

Janice Lowe (Piano/Voice)
James Brandon Lewis (Saxophone)
Luke Stewart (Bass)
Ailish Hopper (Poet)
Randall Horton (Poet)
Margaret Morris (Voice)
Ryan Frazier (Trumpet)
Thomas Sayers Ellis (Head Hegro-in-Charge)

 Bios

Thomas Sayers Ellis is the author of The Maverick Room (Graywolf 2005) and Skin, Inc: Identify Repair Poem (Graywolf 2010). His poems and photographs have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including The Nation, Poetry, Paris Review, Tin House, Transition and Best American Poetry (1997, 2001, 2010 and 2015). He is currently a Visiting Writer at the University of Montana.

James Brandon Lewis is a saxophonist and composer earning a Bachelors from Howard University, and Master of Fine arts degree from California Institute of the Arts. Ebony Magazine hailed james as one of seven jazz musicians to watch in today's scene. His second Album "Divine Travels " was released by historic imprint Okeh records via Sony and features William Parker, Gerald Cleaver, and TSE.

Ailish Hopper is the author of Dark~Sky Society (2014), selected by David St. John as runner up for the New Issues prize, and the chapbook Bird in the Head (2005), selected by Jean Valentine for the Center for Book Arts Prize. Individual poems have appeared in Agni, APR, Blackbird, Harvard Review Online, Ploughshares, Poetry, Tidal Basin Review, and other places. Her essays on art and literature that deal with race have appeared in or are forthcoming in Boston Review, Pilot Light, The Volta, and the anthology, A Sense of Regard: Essays on Poetry and Race. She's received support from the MacDowell Colony, Maryland State Arts Council, and Yaddo, and teaches at Goucher College.

Multi-instrumentalist Luke Stewart is “One of the hardest working Creative Musicians in DC.” - Twins Jazz. Luke has performed with the legendary saxophonist Marshall Allen with Danny Ray Thompson, both seminal members of Sun Ra’s Arkestra. He also performed with notable creative jazz musicians Ernest Dawkins, Lewis Barnes, Joseph Bowie, and Adam Rudolph. Other notable collaborations include performances with David Ornette Cherry, Ras Moshe, Khan Jamal, Jason Kao Hwang, James Brandon Lewis, Tom Zlabinger, William Parker, Elliott Levin, Abiodun Oyewale of the Last Poets, Tatsuya Nakatani, Daniel Carter, William Hooker, Anthony Pirog, Susan Alcorn, Federico Ughi, Max Johnson, and Bill Cole. His regular ensembles include Trio OOO with drummer Sam Lohman, and legendary DC Free Jazz saxophonist Aaron Martin. He is a founder of Union Arts DC, a collective space for artists in Washington, DC, and regularly presents challenging performances of Jazz and Avant Garde music through CapitalBop and his own “Creative Music” series.

Margaret Morris is a vocalist and improvisor who integrates her backgrounds in classical operatic and extended vocal techniques. She is a longtime collaborator with Chicago based choreographer J’Sun Howard. In 2013 she co-founded NYC based women’s choral and improvisation a capella ensemble LushTongue with Onome. Onome and Margaret performed under the moniker Inner Child, a collaborative, multi-disciplinary performance trio with Keisha Turner at Chicago and NYC venues including Links Hall and Wow Cafe Theater. Margaret was featured in The Exponential experimental album Encuentro with Ben Perkins and Brian Murray with whom she performed throughout 2011-2012. Margaret worked as a choreographer in Chicago where she was honored to be a Chicago Dancemakers Forum LAb Artist, a Link-Up resident artist with Links Hall, and collaborate with local dance artists including Asimina Chremos, Ni'ja Whitson, Angela Gronroos, Ayako Kato, and Erika Wilson Perkins. Her practices of contact improvisation and authentic movement continue to inform her work.

Randall Horton is the recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award, the Bea González Poetry Award and most recently a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Literature. Randall is a Cave Canem Fellow and a member of the Affrilachian Poets. Triquarterly/Northwestern University Press in the publisher of his latest poetry collection Pitch Dark Anarchy. Randall is Assistant Professor of English at the University of New Haven.

Janice Lowe is a New York City-based composer and poet. Her works for musical theatre include Langston & Zora, text by Charles Drew (Wild Project,) Lil Budda, text by Stephanie L. Jones and Sit-In at the Five & Dime, text by Marjorie Duffield (New Harmony Project.) Lil Budda received a developmental residency from the Eugene O’Neil Musical Theater Conference and was shown at the National Alliance for Musical Theater's Festival of New Musicals with Anika Noni Rose and Anika Larson in lead roles. She is composer and librettist of the opera Dusky Alice. She has created original music for plays including 12th and Clairmont by Jenni Lamb and Door of No Return by Nehassaiu deGannes. She is librettist of Little Bird Loose, a song cycle collaboration with composer Nils Olaf Dolven. Her music-text collaborations have been performed at numerous venues including La Mama, Etc., Irondale Arts, Ars Nova, College of Staten Island, Ohio Theater, The Duplex, Dixon Place, Barrington Stage, MOCADA Museum, House of Tribes, Vineyard Theater, Stage Left Chicago and Case Western Reserve University. She was a recipient of a Dramatists Guild Jonathan Larson Fellowship. Her poems have been published in journals including Callaloo, The Hat and American Poetry Review. She has taught poetry writing and songwriting workshops in schools and community programs in New York City and Cleveland. She holds an MFA from New York University and is a co-founder of the Dark Room Collective.

Ryan T. Frazier is a musician, writer, and physicist based in Philadelphia. As a musician, he has been a contributor to Philadelphia's free jazz and afro-futurist punk scenes for almost a decade. He has performed or recorded with a wide range of musicians and artists, from the underground hiphop/punk band Mighty Paradocs, to renowned poets Sonia Sanchez and Thomas Sayers Ellis, and principle free jazz bassist William Parker. With his own band, Napoleon Dolomite, his musical approach is built from the mathematics of Thelonious Monk and Eric Dolphy, along with those of Wu Tang Clan and MF Doom, set in a rhythmic and free cosmic sound vision. Studying music and jazz culture/tradition with the great Donald Byrd as a teenager, he is currently an apprentice in the Sun Ra Arkestra, studying under its legendary director, Marshall Allen. Having studied African and African American literature at Hampton University, his current research focuses on the energy dynamics of human culture, using language and the culture of bebop to build a model of the cosmos, its function, composition, and origin. He has taught music at Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, in Oakland, CA, as well as in Philadelphia correctional institutions.


Tickets are sold through MAM (for the single event) or through registration for the conference via Thinking Its Presence Conference: http://cas.umt.edu/tip/raceandcreativewriting/


Moderators
TS

Thomas Sayers Ellis

Thomas Sayers Ellis is the author of two poetry collections, Skin, Inc. and The Maverick Room, which won the John C. Zacharis First Book Award. His poems and photographs have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Callaloo, Best American Poetry (1997, 2001 and 2010), Grand Street,The Baffler, Jubilat, Tin House, Poetry and The Nation. A co-founder of The Dark... Read More →

Speakers
RF

Ryan Frazier

Ryan T. Frazier is a musician, writer, and physicist based in Philadelphia. As a musician, he has been a contributor to Philadelphia's free jazz and afro-futurist punk scenes for almost a decade. He has performed or recorded with a wide range of musicians and artists, from the underground hiphop/punk band Mighty Paradocs, to renowned poets Sonia Sanchez and Thomas Sayers Ellis, and principle free jazz bassist William Parker. With his own band... Read More →
avatar for Ailish Hopper

Ailish Hopper

I'm the author of Dark~Sky Society (New Issues, 2014), and the chapbook, Bird in the Head (Center for Book Arts, 2005). Poems are around in APR, American Letters & Commentary, Harvard Review Online, Ploughshares, Poetry, and other places. An essay about race and the alienation effect in poetry, "The Gentle Art of Making Enemies," is in Laura McCullough's anthology, A Sense of Regard: Essays on Poetry and Race. Another, "Can a Poem Listen... Read More →
avatar for Randall Horton

Randall Horton

Randall Horton is the recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award, the Bea González Poetry Award and most recently a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Literature. Randall is a Cave Canem Fellow and a member of the Affrilachian Poets. Triquarterly/Northwestern University Press in the publisher of his latest poetry collection Pitch Dark Anarchy. Randall is Assistant Professor of English at the University of New Haven.
JB

James Brandon Lewis

James Brandon Lewis is a saxophonist and composer earning a Bachelors from Howard University, and Master of Fine arts degree from California Institute of the Arts. Ebony Magazine hailed james as one of seven jazz musicians to watch in today's scene. His second Album "Divine Travels " was released by historic imprint Okeh records via Sony and features William Parker, Gerald Cleaver, and TSE.
JL

Janice Lowe

Janice Lowe is a New York City-based composer and poet. Her works for musical theatre include Langston & Zora, text by Charles Drew (Wild Project,) Lil Budda, text by Stephanie L. Jones and Sit-In at the Five & Dime, text by Marjorie Duffield (New Harmony Project.) Lil Budda received a developmental residency from the Eugene O’Neil Musical Theater Conference and was shown at the National Alliance for Musical Theater's Festival of... Read More →
MM

Margaret Morris

Margaret Morris is a vocalist and improvisor who integrates her backgrounds in classical operatic and extended vocal techniques. She is a longtime collaborator with Chicago based choreographer J’Sun Howard. In 2013 she co-founded NYC based women’s choral and improvisation a capella ensemble LushTongue with Onome. Onome and Margaret performed under the moniker Inner Child, a collaborative, multi-disciplinary performance trio with... Read More →
LS

Luke Stewart

Multi-instrumentalist Luke Stewart is “One of the hardest working Creative Musicians in DC.” - Twins Jazz. Luke has performed with the legendary saxophonist Marshall Allen with Danny Ray Thompson, both seminal members of Sun Ra’s Arkestra. He also performed with notable creative jazz musicians Ernest Dawkins, Lewis Barnes, Joseph Bowie, and Adam Rudolph. Other notable collaborations include performances with David Ornette... Read More →


Friday March 13, 2015 9:00pm - 10:30pm
MAM

Attendees (29)