January 30, 2007


Eena Lutig, better known in the poetry world as “Wantable,” was born on October 1, 1973 in Warstyne, Germany. Eena began writing lyrics, short stories and poetry at the age of 13. She focused more so on music by writing lyrics and songs for Producers Yamaha Music School and various recording artists. Her first book of poetry was published in 1998 and is entitled “Everyday Insanity.” She’s now searching for a publisher in Germany that will publish her latest work in English. Eena was introduced to Spoken Word by a poet named Poetically Breathless in February of 2004 after not having written or read any poetry for quite a few years. After this meeting and discovery of spoken word she realized that poetry was still a huge part of her life.

The first time that she heard spoken word she was happy to see that music and poetry blended so well together. She loved it so much that she began producing audio poetry for poets all over the world.

When Eena is not working as a Registered Nurse, you can find her writing and producing poetry audios. Wantable says “I love and appreciate talented writers and poets. Their work has a soothing effect on me. I also love the challenge of helping, encouraging and motivating others.”

Check out some of her poetry at http://360.yahoo.com/profile-CQzbF_E4dac7cTYhV_0aqw--?cq=1


Lawrence Jones, originally from Philadelphia, whose family now lives in Yeadon, Pa. heads up the Brighton Jazz Allstars in England, a music education organization. he's also a wonderful friend of mine. We graduated West Philadelphia High School together.

The Brighton Jazz All-stars spreads culture through a wide range of educational and arts activities and promoting an awareness of the impact of Jazz music on the wider African Diaspora. Its main objectives are to advance public education in Jazz and World music culture by provision of educational programs and activities throughout the United Kingdom.

Lawrence graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts with the likes of Branford Marsalis, Kevin Eubanks, He has played with some of the major jazz musicians of the last century, such as South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim and saxophonist Grover Washington Jr.

He has lived and worked in Brighton for 12 years while also maintaining his international work. Jones works as a music teacher in both sax and flute, providing inspiration for young and adult musicians. The Brighton Jazz All Stars was formed 5 years ago and has maintained a residency at The Lion and Lobster, owned by famous actor Gary Whelan. The All Stars regularly perform in festivals and events throughout the UK.

January 25, 2007


Courtney Bryan, born in New Orleans, Louisiana on August 16, 1982, is a prolific and eclectic composer, pianist, arranger, and poet. Her overall ambition in life is the “creation of uninhibited beauty.” Her compositions are wide-ranging, including Solo Works, Jazz Quartet, Jazz Orchestra, Symphonic Orchestra, and even collaborations of dancers, visual artists, writers, and actors.

Bryan currently performs in and around New York with the Courtney Bryan Trio at venues like St. Nick’s Pub, A Gathering of Tribes Gallery, and Cecil’s Jazz Club. The Courtney Bryan Trio has also headlined at the Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro and Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club of New Orleans, Louisiana. Bryan co-leads Duet, with vocalist TreZure Mone performing a mix of Jazz and Rhythm and Blues. She co-developed co-leads the Courtney Bryan/Ez Weiss Jazz Orchestra in New York, a Big Band organization that is composed of volunteer musicians who are particularly interested in the revival of Big Band. In addition, she freelances with various jazz and R & B artists.

Recently, the Courtney Bryan Trio featuring saxophonist Donald Harrison opened for the Curtis Fuller/Louis Hayes Quintet and the Chico Hamilton Sextet at the Guild Hall in East Hampton, New York. Also, Bryan performed as part of Stanley Cowell’s Piano Choir in the Spring of 2006. Bryan’s compositions have been commissioned by Cleveland State University’s Jazz Heritage Orchestra, Dennis Reynold’s Brass Choir, Conrad Herwig’s Scarlet Knight Trombone Ensemble, and by saxophonist Devin Phillips for his 2006 release Wade in the Water, which was titled after her arrangement. She was featured as composer with Kathy Randel’s Artspotproductions in The New Orleans Suite performed at the prestigious Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans, Lousiana in 2005. Bryan was also recently a finalist in the Beyonce Knowles All-Girl Band competition for her B-Day tour. She has a CD entitled Quest for Freedom featuring the legendary Marcus Belgrave. AVAILABLE NOW!

Currently, Courtney Bryan is a candidate for a masters’ degree in Jazz Piano with Stanley Cowell at the Mason Gross School of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. She also is the choir director at Trinity Methodist Church and Monroe Community Church of New Jersey and teaches piano through the Rutgers Community Music Program. Bryan graduated with honors from the Oberlin Conservatory of Oberlin, Ohio with a bachelor’s degree in Music Composition studying with composers Jeffrey Mumford and Wendell Logan.

While in high school, Courtney Bryan attended the notable New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts under the mentorship of Clyde Kerr, Jr. During this time, Bryan was featured along with Jason Marsalis and Irvin Mayfield in Geoffrey Poister’s documentary Jazz Dreams. Courtney Bryan has performed in the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival 2000-2002, in the Detroit Ford International Jazz Festival 2003 and 2004, in the Lansing Jazz Festival 2004, and in the Detroit Taste Fest 2005. She has also performed at the Cleveland Bop Stop and Nighttown of Cleveland, Ohio; the Serengeti Gallery of Detroit, Michigan, among other venues. In 2002, Bryan was selected as a NOCCA (New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts) All-Star along with such musicians as Nicholas Payton, Donald Harrison, Adonis Rose, and Clyde Kerr, Jr.
One of Bryan’s recent compositions REALIZE, REDEEM, REFORM, REPLENISH, RENEW is a collaborative work with Five Artists (Alden Young, Kiel Scott, Alma Bryan, Amy Bryan, and Zarouhie Abdalian), Four Dancers (Nic Trovato, Sherece Donalds, Pia Murray, and Karla Victum), and Five Music ensembles (Solo Violoncello, Two Trombones, World Music Ensemble The Melodic Prophets, Jazz Orchestra, and a full Symphonic Orchestra.) In addition to being chief coordinator on this project, Courtney contributed original visual artwork as well.

Courtney Bryan’s professors include Stanley Cowell, Ralph Bowen, Conrad Herwig, Jeffrey Mumford, Wendell Logan, Marcus Belgrave, Francis Walker, Dan Wall, Donald Byrd, Gary Bartz, Billy Hart, Clyde Kerr, Jr., Ellis Marsalis, Edward “Kidd” Jordan, Kent Jordan, Dean Curtis, Daniel Weilbaecher, Arthur Knight, Roger Dickerson, and the late Moses Hogan. Some groups and musicians performed with include the Gerald Wilson Jazz Orchestra, Marcus Belgrave Quartet, Troi Bechet Quartet, Clyde Kerr, Jr. Quintet, Donald Harrison Quartet, Christian Scott Quartet, Donald Byrd, Nicholas Payton, Michael Mossman, Maurice Brown, Sean Jones, Derrick Gardner, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, Sammie “Big Sam” Williams, Roland Guerin, Marion Hayden, Brian Quezerque, Jerome Jennings, Adonis Rose, James Alsanders, Jason Marsalis, Karriem Riggins, Ricky Sebastian, and Johnathan Blake.

January 17, 2007


Rita Frances Dove (born August 28, 1952 in Akron, Ohio, USA) is an African American United States poet and author. She served as Poet Laureate of the United States and Consultant to the Library of Congress from 1993 to 1995. Dove was born in Akron, Ohio in 1952. A 1970 Presidential Scholar, she graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. from Miami University and her MFA from the University of Iowa. She also held a Fulbright Scholarship at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen in Germany. For "America's Millennium", the White House's 1999/2000 New Year's celebration, Ms. Dove contributed — in a live reading at the Lincoln Memorial, accompanied by John Williams's music — a poem to Steven Spielberg's documentary The Unfinished Journey.

Dove is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she lives with her husband, the writer Fred Viebahn. They have a grown daughter, Aviva Dove-Viebahn. She received her undergraduate degree in English in 1973 from Miami University of Ohio. She earned her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa in 1977. Her most famous work is Thomas and Beulah, published by Carnegie Mellon University Press in 1986, a collection of poems based on the lives of her grandparents, for which she received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1987. She taught creative writing at Arizona State University from 1981 to 1989.

Dove served as Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia. She has received numerous literary and academic honors, among them the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and, most recently, the 2006 Common Wealth Award, the 2003 Emily Couric Leadership Award, the 2001 Duke Ellington Lifetime Achievement Award, the 1997 Sara Lee Frontrunner Award, the 1997 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, the 1996 Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities and the 1996 National Humanities Medal


John Lenwood (Jackie) McLean; was born May 17, 1931 in New York City. He was an alto saxaphonist, composer, bandleader and educator. His father, John Sr., who died in 1939, played guitar in Tiny Bradshaw's orchestra. After his father's death, his musical education was continued by his godfather, by his stepfather, who owned a record store, and by several noted teachers. He also received informal tutoring from neighbours Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, and Charlie Parker. During high school he played in a band with Kenny Drew, Sonny Rollins, and Andy Kirk Jr. (the tenor saxophonist son of Andy Kirk).
He recorded with Miles Davis, on Davis' Dig album, when he was 19 years old. Rollins played on the same album. As a young man McLean also recorded with Gene Ammons, Charles Mingus, and George Wallington, and as a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. McLean reportedly joined the Jazz Messengers after being punched by the notoriously volatile Mingus. Fearing for his life McLean stabbed Mingus in self-defence. His early recordings as leader were in the hard bop school. He later became an exponent of modal jazz without abandoning his foundation in hard bop. Throughout his career he was known for his distinctive tone (often described with such adjectives as withering, piercing, or searing), his slightly sharp pitch, and a strong foundation in blues.
McLean was a heroin addict throughout his early career, and the resulting loss of his New York City cabaret license forced him to undertake a large number of recording dates; consequently, he produced a large body of recorded work in the 1950s and 60s. He was under contract with Blue Note Records from 1959 to 1967, having previously recorded for Prestige. Blue Note offered better pay and more artistic control than other labels, and his work for Blue Note is highly regarded.
In 1962 he recorded Let Freedom Ring for Blue Note. This album was the culmination of attempts he had made over the years to deal with harmonic problems in jazz, especially in soloing on his piece "Quadrangle." (*"Quadrangle" appears on BST 4051, Jackie's Bag, recorded in 1959). Let Freedom Ring began a period in which he performed with avant-garde musicians rather than the veteran hard bop performers he had been playing with. His recordings from 1962 on, in which he adapted the innovations of modal and free jazz to hard bop, made his body of work distinctive.
In 1964, he served six months in prison on drug charges. The period immediately after his release from prison is known as his acid period because the three albums he released during it were much harsher in tone than his previous albums.
In 1967, his recording contract, like those of many other progressive musicians, was terminated by Blue Note's new management. His opportunities to record promised so little pay that he abandoned recording as a way to earn a living, concentrating instead on touring. In 1968, he began teaching at The Hartt School of the University of Hartford. He later set up the university's African American Music Department (now the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz) and its Jazz Studies degree program.
In 1970, he and his wife, Dollie, founded the Artists' Collective, Inc. of Hartford, an organization dedicated to preserving the art and culture of the African diaspora. It provides educational programs and instruction in dance, theatre, music and visual arts.
He received an American Jazz Masters fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2001. His stepson René is a jazz saxophonist and flautist as well as a jazz educator.
After a long illness, McLean died on March 31, 2006, in Hartford, Connecticut

January 16, 2007


Langston Hughes was born James Mercer Langston Hughes February 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri, the son of Carrie Langston Hughes, a teacher, and her husband, James Nathaniel Hughes. After abandoning his family and the resulting legal dissolution of the marriage later, James Hughes left for Cuba first, then Mexico due to enduring racism in the United States. After the separation of his parents, young Langston was left to be raised mainly by his grandmother, Mary Langston, as his mother sought employment. Through the black American oral tradition of storytelling, she would instill in the young Langston Hughes a sense of indelible racial pride. He spent most of childhood in Lawrence, Kansas. After the death of his grandmother, he went to live with family friends, James and Mary Reed, for two years. His childhood was not an entirely happy one, due to an unstable early life, but it was one that heavily influenced the poet he would become. Later, he lived again with his mother in Lincoln, Illinois who had remarried when he was still an adolescent, and eventually in Cleveland, Ohio where he attended high school.

While in grammar school in Lincoln, Illinois, he was designated class poet because of, Hughes said later as an adult, his race, African Americans then being stereotyped as having rhythm. "I was a victim of a stereotype. There were only two of us Negro kids in the whole class and our English teacher was always stressing the importance of rhythm in poetry. Well, everyone knows — except us — that all Negroes have rhythm, so they elected me as class poet." During high school in Cleveland, Ohio, he wrote for the school paper, edited the yearbook, and began to write his first short stories, poetry, and dramatic plays. His first piece of jazz poetry, When Sue Wears Red, was written while he was still in high school. It was during this time that he discovered his love of books. From this early period in his life, Hughes would cite as influences on his poetry the American poets Paul Laurence Dunbar and Carl Sandburg. Hughes spent a brief period of time with his father in Mexico in 1919. The relationship between him and his father was troubled, causing Hughes a degree of dissatisfaction that led him to contemplate suicide at least once. Upon graduating from high school in June of 1920, Hughes returned to live with his father, hoping to convince him to provide money to attend Columbia University. Hughes later said that, prior to arriving in Mexico again, "I had been thinking about my father and his strange dislike of his own people. I didn't understand it, because I was a Negro, and I liked Negroes very much." Initially, his father hoped for Langston to attend a university anywhere but in the United States, and to study for a career in engineering. On these grounds, he was willing to provide financial assistance to his son. James Hughes did not support his son's desire to be a writer. Eventually, Langston and his father came to a compromise. Langston would study engineering so long as he could attend Columbia. His tuition provided, Hughes left his father after more than a year of living with him. While at Columbia in 1921, Hughes managed to maintain a B+ grade average. He left in 1922 because of racial prejudice within the institution, and his interests revolved more around the neighborhood of Harlem than his studies, though he continued writing poetry.

Hughes worked various odd jobs before serving a brief tenure as a crewman aboard the S.S. Malone in 1923, spending 6 months traveling to West Africa and Europe. In Europe, Hughes left the S.S. Malone for a temporary stay in Paris. Unlike specific writers of the post-World War I era who became identified as the Lost Generation, writers such as Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hughes instead spent time in Paris during the early 1920s becoming part of the black expatriate community. In November 1924 Hughes returned to the U. S. to live with his mother in Washington, D.C. Hughes again found work doing various odd jobs before gaining white-collar employment in 1925 as a personal assistant to the scholar Carter G. Woodson within the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Not satisfied with the demands of the work and time constraints this position with Carter placed on the hours he spent writing, Hughes quit this job for one as a busboy in a hotel. It was while working as a busboy that Hughes would encounter the poet Vachel Lindsay. Impressed with the poems Hughes showed him, Lindsay publicized his discovery of a new black poet, though by this time Hughes' earlier work had already been published in magazines and was about to be collected into his first book of poetry.

The following year, Hughes enrolled in Lincoln University, PA, a HBC. Hughes received a B.A. degree from Lincoln University in 1929 and a Litt.D. in 1943 from Lincoln. A second honorary doctorate would be awarded to him in 1963 by Howard University, another HBCU. Except for travels that included parts of the Caribbean and West Indies, Harlem was Hughes’s primary home for the remainder of his life.

On May 22, 1967, Hughes died from complications after abdominal surgery related to prostate cancer at the age of 65. His ashes are interred beneath a floor medallion in the middle of the foyer leading to the auditorium named for him within the Arthur Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. Many of Langston Hughes' personal papers reside in the Langston Hughes Memorial Library on the campus of Lincoln University as well as at the James Weldon Johnson Collection within the Yale University Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.


Charles Mingus was born April 22, 1922 in Nogales, Arizona, but was raised largely in the Watts area of Los Angeles, California. His mother's paternal heritage was Chinese, while historical records indicate that his father was the illegitimate offspring of a mulatto farmhand and his employer's white granddaughter [1].

His mother allowed only church-related music in their home, but Mingus developed an early love for jazz, especially Ellington's music. He studied trombone, and later cello. Much of the cello technique he learned was applicable to double bass when he took up the instrument in high school.

Even in his teen years, Mingus was writing quite advanced pieces; many are similar to Third Stream Jazz. A number of them were recorded in 1960 with conductor Gunther Schuller, and released as Pre-Bird, referring to Charlie "Bird" Parker.

Mingus gained a reputation as something of a bass prodigy. He toured with Louis Armstrong in 1943, then played with Lionel Hampton's band in the late 1940s; Hampton performed and recorded a few of Mingus's pieces. A popular trio of Mingus, Red Norvo and Tal Farlow in 1950 and 1951 received considerable acclaim. Mingus was briefly a member of Ellington's band in the early 1950s, and Mingus's notorious temper reportedly led to his being the only musician personally fired by Ellington (although there are reports that Sidney Bechet was another victim).

Mingus is highly ranked among the composers and performers of jazz, and he recorded many highly regarded albums. Dozens of musicians passed through his bands and later went on to impressive careers. His songs—though melodic and distinctive—are not often recorded by later musicians, in part because of their unconventional nature. Mingus was also influential and creative as a bandleader, recruiting talented and sometimes little-known artists whom he assembled into unconventional and revealing configurations.

Nearly as well known as his ambitious music was Mingus' often fearsome temperament, which earned him the nickname "The Angry Man of Jazz." His refusal to compromise his musical integrity led to many onstage explosions, though it has been argued that his temper also grew from a need to vent frustration. Ironically, a perfect show could irritate him by closing this outlet.

Mingus was prone to depression. He tended to have brief periods of extreme creative activity, intermixed with fairly long periods of greatly decreased output.

Most of Mingus's music retained the hot and soulful feel of hard bop and drew heavily from black gospel music while sometimes drawing on elements of Third Stream Jazz and free jazz. Yet Mingus avoided categorization, forging his own brand of music that fused tradition with unique and unexplored realms of jazz. Mingus focused on collective improvisation, similar to the old New Orleans Jazz parades, paying particular attention to how each band member interacted with the group as a whole. In creating his bands, Mingus looked not only at the skills of the available musicians, but also their personalities. He strove to create unique music to be played by unique musicians.

Due to his brilliant writing for mid-size ensembles — and his catering to and emphasizing the strengths of the musicians in his groups — Mingus is often considered the heir apparent to Duke Ellington, for whom he expressed unqualified admiration.

Also in the early 1950s, before attaining commercial recognition as a bandleader, he played a number of live bookings with Charlie Parker, whose compositions and improvisations greatly inspired and influenced Mingus. Mingus considered Parker the greatest genius and innovator in jazz history, but he had a love-hate relationship with Parker's legacy. Mingus blamed the Parker mythology for a derivative crop of pretenders to Parker's throne. He was also conflicted and sometimes disgusted by Parker's self-destructive habits and the romanticized lure of drug addiction they offered to other jazz musicians. In response to the many sax players who imitated Parker, Mingus titled a song, "If Charlie Parker were a Gunslinger, There'd be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats."

In 1952 Mingus co-founded Debut Records with Max Roach, in order to conduct his recording career as he saw fit. After bassist Oscar Pettiford broke his arm playing baseball, Mingus stepped in to replace him at the famed May 15, 1953 concert at Massey Hall. He joined Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, and Max Roach in what was to be the last recorded meeting of the two lead instrumentalists. After the event, Mingus chose to overdub his barely-audible bass part. The two 10" albums of the Massey Hall concert (one featured the trio of Powell, Mingus and Roach) were among Debut Records' earliest releases. Mingus may have objected to the way the major record companies treated musicians, but Gillespie once commented that he did not receive any royalties "for years and years" for his Massey Hall appearance. The records though, are often regarded as among the finest live jazz recordings.

In 1955, Mingus was involved in a notorious incident while playing a club date billed as a "reunion" with Parker, Powell, and Roach. Powell, who had suffered from alcoholism and mental illness for years (potentially exacerbated by a severe police beating and electroshock treatments), had to be helped from the stage, unable to play or speak coherently. As Powell's incapacitation became apparent, Parker stood in one spot at a microphone, chanting "Bud Powell...Bud Powell..." as if beseeching Powell's return. Allegedly, Parker continued this incantation for several minutes after Powell's departure, to his own amusement and Mingus' exasperation. Mingus took another mic and announced to the crowd, "Ladies and gentlemen, please don't associate me with any of this. This is not jazz. These are sick people." Roughly a week later, Parker died of complications of years of drug abuse.

By the mid-1970s, Mingus was suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (popularly known as Lou Gehrig's disease), a wastage of the musculature. His once formidable bass technique suffered, until he could no longer play the instrument. He continued composing, however, and supervised a number of recordings before his death.

Mingus died January 5, 1979 aged 56 in Cuernavaca, Mexico, where he had traveled for treatment and convalescence. His ashes were scattered in the Ganges River.

At the time of his death, Mingus had been recording an album with singer Joni Mitchell, which included vocal versions of some of his songs (including "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat") among Mitchell originals and short, spoken word duets and home recordings of Mitchell and Mingus. To show how important his influence was on the jazz world, this album also featured Jaco Pastorius, another massively influential (and similarly self-destructive) bassist and composer.