August 30, 2007


Lovely Brown aka LovelyBrnFemale, represents the new visionary vanguard of female Spoken Word artist, utilizing ground-breaking techniques such as audio loops, samples, and a combination of singing with lyrics to set a remarkable audio experience.

Lovely, born and raised in Kansas City, Mo., realized her gift for dynamic poetic expression at five years of age when she won first place for painting a picturesque image of the Kansas City Zoo and its animals. From there she developed a curiosity for the art, and gained the self-confidence needed to branch into different styles of the craft.

Her greatest influences have been her parents, who both attended the Kansas City Art Institute, allowing her to grow up in the bosom of their artistic endeavors. Other influential elements were music-of-substance of the 1960's, poetry, writing, painting, photography, drawing, and gardening. In addition, her grandmother, an educator for 36 years, was a published author of many educational books, while her other grandmother implanted the essence of quality of country-living and the value of integrity and forgiveness.

Beyond her poetic undertakings, Lovely has dedicated her life as an advocate for people with mental/physical disabilities. She has helped to organize fundraisers for Habitat for Humanity, served on the Board for The Salvation Army, assisted battered and abused women, and held a position as the youth program Director for the George Foreman Youth & Community Center in Houston , Texas .

After being a victim of life's circumstances which resulted in the loss of her job, car, and home Lovely found herself in the unfortunate station of homelessness. But rather than succumb to the negative aspect of her situation, Lovely used her adversities and life teachings to create an overcoming, and through faith to rebuild her life towards complete self-sufficiency. "This journey was meant for me to take," became her rallying cry.

Triumphing over life's pains has given Ms. Brown a keener sense of tapping into her five senses, and added on a sixth sense; the ability to smell the essence of someone's spirit through written word. This sixth sense has helped her reach new levels of writing and placing her words before the world to see in the art form of poetry and "Spoken Word."

In 1992 Lovely-Brown began using the information-highway (the Internet) by creating and moderating various writing groups. These groups started as battle text competitions, then later evolved into what’s now known as "Lovely's Flip Side, a Yahoo Group community which engages its international member base from with un-moderated life ( Through her online vigilance Lovely has implemented several proposals to the United States Congress, including establishing a "Campaign Against Internet/Chat Abuse," to expose "online predators and bullies." Her strong ability to network over had aided her in establishing the trust of many friend, and earned her a great deal of respect throughout the online community.

In 2007, she broadened her Web horizons to for which the Producer/Author/Poet and Spoken-Word Artist Truth Theory discovered her talent and inspired her by saying: "The world needs to hear your voice."

Truth Theory asked her to become an administrator of his group named: "PO3TIC VOICES" (, a spoken-word movement which provides a mixture of experienced Spoken Word artists, poets transitioning into speaking their written-word, and new artist learning how to mix tracks to voice their pieces. PO3TIC VOICES is one of the fastest growing poetic presences in the industry, making available opportunities for "indie" artist, and since becoming a member and administrator, Lovely has had the opportunity to collaborate with many great artist such as Truth Theory &Love Oneself "Mine Own," TheNxtLevel "Yet So Far," Poetic Soul "Brown Feel," and DikaFlow "When I Believe/Move."

In association with Truth Theory, Lovely Brown co-hosts “Spoken Truth”, a Spoken Word radio show on Blog Talk Radio ( where issues dealing with black community interest are discussed. With its combination of passionate and pro-active artists, Spoken Truth is available for podcast in iTunes, and is moving towards international exposure, giving PO3TIC VOICES the ability to grow stronger in the Spoken Word movement. Lovely is also a contributing author to the online magazine “Chaotic Dreams Online”. Her work has also graced the pages for the past two years and it just signifies another facet of her bringing her thoughts and dreams to the masses.

"The Seductress of Rhetoric Frenzy" derives her diverse style from a wide array of subject matters such as politics and sensuality, spiritually driving her to a passionate design and ability to move into different genres of Spoken Word.

Lovely Brown, a spoken-word album, coming soon.

August 19, 2007

DONNA KIRVEN aka "Celestial Dancer"

Donna Kirven better known in the poetry world as "Celestial Dancer, was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pa., but currently lives in Northern California with her husband and two daughters, where she enjoys and copes with life through love, laughter, music and a passion for writing.

She has written poetry since age 10, and had her first poem published in her high school newspaper. Donna attended Temple University, and is currently a master’s candidate in organizational psychology. In addition to her career as a medical laboratory educator, Donna has extended her passion for writing to the professional arena and for the past six years has written as a dedicated columnist and editorial consultant for Advance@ Magazine for Medical Laboratory Professionals.

In her first book, "When a Band-Aid Isn’t Enough," Donna has assembled a unique collection of poetic perspectives that she believes sifts far beneath the surface of words, taking the reader directly to the unwritten layers of feeling. Some poems urge tears, others extract involuntary smiles, but all will reflect that writing is not merely a pastime for her, but her passion. In holding fast to the fleeting preciousness of life, Donna reflects through her poetry echoes of her mantra, “keep your head up, your heart full and your mind moving”.

August 18, 2007


Ramsey Emmanuel Lewis, Jr. (born May 27, 1935 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American jazz and pop pianist and keyboardist.
He formed the Ramsey Lewis Trio in 1956 with Eldee Young and Isaac Holt. They started as primarily a jazz unit but after their hit, "The In Crowd", in 1965 (the single reached fifth place on the pop charts, and the album second place) the trio concentrated more and more on pop material. Young and Holt left in 1966 to form the Young-Holt Trio and were replaced by Cleveland Eaton and Maurice White. White was replaced by Maurice Jennings in 1970. In the late 1970s an additional keyboard player was frequently added to the lineup. A contemporary version of "The In Crowd" was recorded for Lewis' 2004 album, Time Flies.
Ramsey Lewis has received seven gold records and three Grammy Awards so far in his career.
His recent "With One Voice" release pays homage to his gospel roots all while maintaining his classic style. With the help of gospel favorites Smokie Norful, Darius Brooks, and Donald Lawrence, Lewis delivers an emotion-packed, soul-stirring, album. Lewis also enlisted the help of his church's choir, pastored by his older sister, to sing on several of the album's tracks. The J.W. James Memorial A.M.E. Church Combined Choir is breath-taking, adding so much life, freedom, and hope to "With One Voice". The CD's first single, "Pass Me Not" can be heard on Chicago's WGCI 107.5.
In addition to recording and performing, he is / has been a radio host on Chicago's Smooth Jazz station, WNUA (95.5 FM). His syndicated show Legends of Jazz, featuring classic jazz recordings from artists such as Charlie Parker and Miles Davis), can be heard in 60 cities in the United States and other countries as well. His most recent venture, the Legends of Jazz television series on PBS, was first aired in April 2006.
As of 2005 he has been hosting a radio show called Legends of Jazz for London's Smooth FM (previously Jazz FM).
On December 4, 2006, the Ramsey Lewis Morning Show will become a part of Broadcast Architecture's Smooth Jazz Network, simulcasting on other Smooth Jazz stations across the country for the first time. However, the show will still be based in Chicago, as it has always been.

August 17, 2007


Lamont Dixon, better known in the poetry world as "Napalm," was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pa along with three brothers. He graduated from John Bartram High School where he was an art major as well as captain of the track team. He served seven years in the United States Navy and is currently employed by the United States Postal Service as Cheif Union Representative.

Lamont mentors youth through many civic and arts based associations; with Masonic Lodges, the legendary Clef Club in Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Free Library. He also does community outreach thru prisons, homeless shelters, YMCA's and halfway houses. So you see, brother Lamont gives back to the community.

He has performed Spoken Word along side many Philadelphia jazz musicians including Byard lancaster, Khan Jamal, Warren oree and vocalist Denise King. He credits as his major poetic influence Amiri Baraka. Napalm writes all styles of poetry but the majority of which is influenced by Jazz.

He infuses jazz, hip hop, blues, and drama with his performances and workshops.
Napalm trained at Freedom Theater and the Phila. Univ. of the Arts, as well as a tenure with Temple U.'s Full Circle Improvisational Troupe. Napalm's poetry has been published in African Voices, The Phylaxis, New Poet's Revolution and Essence Magazine. _He is a recipient of the Phylaxis Society's Excellence in Literature Award and John G. Lewis Medal of Excellence for Art. Napalm is a teaching artist for Perkins Center for the Arts, the NJ & PA State Council for the Arts, and Rutgers and Rowan University.

Napalm appears on African Rhythm Tongues with jazz musicians Khan Jamal and Byard Lancaster, Po-Jazz Connection with Arpeggio Jazz ensemble and others.
He also served as co-executive producer for the Russell Simmon's 2001 Def Poetry Jam Tour in Philadelphia.

August 16, 2007


Thelonious "Sphere" Monk was born on October 10, 1917, in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, but was only four when his mother and his two siblings, Marion and Thomas, moved to New York City. Unlike other Southern migrants who headed straight to Harlem, the Monks settled on West 63rd Street in the “San Juan Hill” neighborhood of Manhattan, near the Hudson River. His father, Thelonious, Sr., joined the family three years later, but health considerations forced him to return to North Carolina. During his stay, however, he often played the harmonica, ‘Jew’s harp,” and piano—all of which probably influenced his son’s unyielding musical interests. Young Monk turned out to be a musical prodigy in addition to a good student and a fine athlete. He studied the trumpet briefly but began exploring the piano at age nine. He was about nine when Marion’s piano teacher took Thelonious on as a student. By his early teens, he was playing rent parties, sitting in on organ and piano at a local Baptist church, and was reputed to have won several “amateur hour” competitions at the Apollo Theater.

Admitted to Peter Stuyvesant, one of the city’s best high schools, Monk dropped out at the end of his sophomore year to pursue music and around 1935 took a job as a pianist for a traveling evangelist and faith healer. Returning after two years, he formed his own quartet and played local bars and small clubs until the spring of 1941, when drummer Kenny Clarke hired him as the house pianist at Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem.
Minton’s, legend has it, was where the “bebop revolution” began. The after-hours jam sessions at Minton’s, along with similar musical gatherings at Monroe’s Uptown House, Dan Wall’s Chili Shack, among others, attracted a new generation of musicians brimming with fresh ideas about harmony and rhythm—notably Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Mary Lou Williams, Kenny Clarke, Oscar Pettiford, Max Roach, Tadd Dameron, and Monk’s close friend and fellow pianist, Bud Powell. Monk’s harmonic innovations proved fundamental to the development of modern jazz in this period. Anointed by some critics as the “High Priest of Bebop,” several of his compositions (“52nd Street Theme,” “Round Midnight,” “Epistrophy” [co-written with Kenny Clarke and originally titled “Fly Right” and then “Iambic Pentameter”], “I Mean You”) were favorites among his contemporaries.

Yet, as much as Monk helped usher in the bebop revolution, he also charted a new course for modern music few were willing to follow. Whereas most pianists of the bebop era played sparse chords in the left hand and emphasized fast, even eighth and sixteenth notes in the right hand, Monk combined an active right hand with an equally active left hand, fusing stride and angular rhythms that utilized the entire keyboard. And in an era when fast, dense, virtuosic solos were the order of the day, Monk was famous for his use of space and silence. In addition to his unique phrasing and economy of notes, Monk would “lay out” pretty regularly, enabling his sidemen to experiment free of the piano’s fixed pitches. As a composer, Monk was less interested in writing new melodic lines over popular chord progressions than in creating a whole new architecture for his music, one in which harmony and rhythm melded seamlessly with the melody. “Everything I play is different,” Monk once explained, “different melody, different harmony, different structure. Each piece is different from the other. . . . [W]hen the song tells a story, when it gets a certain sound, then it’s through . . . completed.”

Despite his contribution to the early development of modern jazz, Monk remained fairly marginal during the 1940s and early 1950s. Besides occasional gigs with bands led by Kenny Clarke, Lucky Millinder, Kermit Scott, and Skippy Williams, in 1944 tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins was the first to hire Monk for a lengthy engagement and the first to record with him. Most critics and many musicians were initially hostile to Monk’s sound. Blue Note, then a small record label, was the first to sign him to a contract. Thus, by the time he went into the studio to lead his first recording session in 1947, he was already thirty years old and a veteran of the jazz scene for nearly half of his life. But he knew the scene and during the initial two years with Blue Note had hired musicians whom he believed could deliver. Most were not big names at the time but they proved to be outstanding musicians, including trumpeters Idrees Sulieman and George Taitt; twenty-two year-old Sahib Shihab and seventeen-year-old Danny Quebec West on alto saxophones; Billy Smith on tenor; and bassists Gene Ramey and John Simmons. On some recordings Monk employed veteran Count Basie drummer Rossiere “Shadow” Wilson; on others, the drum seat was held by well-known bopper Art Blakey. His last Blue Note session as a leader in 1952 finds Monk surrounded by an all-star band, including Kenny Dorham (trumpet), Lou Donaldson (alto), “Lucky” Thompson (tenor), Nelson Boyd (bass), and Max Roach (drums). In the end, although all of Monk’s Blue Note sides are hailed today as some of his greatest recordings, at the time of their release in the late 1940s and early 1950s, they proved to be a commercial failure.

Harsh, ill-informed criticism limited Monk’s opportunities to work—opportunities he desperately needed especially after his marriage to Nellie Smith in 1947, and the birth of his son, Thelonious, Jr., in 1949. Monk found work where he could, but he never compromised his musical vision. His already precarious financial situation took a turn for the worse in August of 1951, when he was falsely arrested for narcotics possession, essentially taking the rap for his friend Bud Powell. Deprived of his cabaret card—a police-issued “license” without which jazz musicians could not perform in New York clubs—Monk was denied gigs in his home town for the next six years. Nevertheless, he played neighborhood clubs in Brooklyn—most notably, Tony’s Club Grandean, sporadic concerts, took out-of-town gigs, composed new music, and made several trio and ensemble records under the Prestige Label (1952-1954), which included memorable performances with Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, and Milt Jackson. In the fall of1953, he celebrated the birth of his daughter Barbara, and the following summer he crossed the Atlantic for the first time to play the Paris Jazz Festival. During his stay, he recorded his first solo album for Vogue. These recordings would begin to establish Monk as one of the century’s most imaginative solo pianists.

In 1955, Monk signed with a new label, Riverside, and recorded several outstanding LP’s which garnered critical attention, notably Thelonious Monk Plays Duke Ellington, The Unique Thelonious Monk, Brilliant Corners, Monk’s Music and his second solo album, Thelonious Monk Alone. In 1957, with the help of his friend and sometime patron, the Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter, he had finally gotten his cabaret card restored and enjoyed a very long and successful engagement at the Five Spot Café with John Coltrane on tenor saxophone, Wilbur Ware and then Ahmed Abdul-Malik on bass, and Shadow Wilson on drums. From that point on, his career began to soar; his collaborations with Johnny Griffin, Sonny Rollins, Art Blakey, Clark Terry, Gerry Mulligan, and arranger Hall Overton, among others, were lauded by critics and studied by conservatory students. Monk even led a successful big band at Town Hall in 1959. It was as if jazz audiences had finally caught up to Monk’s music.

By 1961, Monk had established a more or less permanent quartet consisting of Charlie Rouse on tenor saxophone, John Ore (later Butch Warren and then Larry Gales) on bass, and Frankie Dunlop (later Ben Riley) on drums. He performed with his own big band at Lincoln Center (1963), and at the Monterey Jazz Festival, and the quartet toured Europe in 1961 and Japan in 1963. In 1962, Monk had also signed with Columbia records, one of the biggest labels in the world, and in February of 1964 he became the third jazz musician in history to grace the cover of Time Magazine.

However, with fame came the media’s growing fascination with Monk’s alleged eccentricities. Stories of his behavior on and off the bandstand often overshadowed serious commentary about his music. The media helped invent the mythical Monk—the reclusive, naïve, idiot savant whose musical ideas were supposed to be entirely intuitive rather than the product of intensive study, knowledge and practice. Indeed, his reputation as a recluse (Time called him the "loneliest Monk") reveals just how much Monk had been misunderstood. As his former sideman, tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin, explained, Monk was somewhat of a homebody: "If Monk isn't working he isn't on the scene. Monk stays home. He goes away and rests." Unlike the popular stereotypes of the jazz musician, Monk was devoted to his family. He appeared at family events, played birthday parties, and wrote playfully complex songs for his children: "Little Rootie Tootie" for his son, "Boo Boo's Birthday" and “Green Chimneys” for his daughter, and a Christmas song titled “A Merrier Christmas.” The fact is, the Monk family held together despite long stretches without work, severe money shortages, sustained attacks by critics, grueling road trips, bouts with illness, and the loss of close friends.

During the 1960s, Monk scored notable successes with albums such as Criss Cross, Monk’s Dream, It’s Monk Time, Straight No Chaser, and Underground. But as Columbia/CBS records pursued a younger, rock-oriented audience, Monk and other jazz musicians ceased to be a priority for the label. Monk’s final recording with Columbia was a big band session with Oliver Nelson’s Orchestra in November of 1968, which turned out to be both an artistic and commercial failure. Columbia’s disinterest and Monk’s deteriorating health kept the pianist out of the studio. In January of 1970, Charlie Rouse left the band, and two years later Columbia quietly dropped Monk from its roster. For the next few years, Monk accepted fewer engagements and recorded even less. His quartet featured saxophonists Pat Patrick and Paul Jeffrey, and his son Thelonious, Jr., took over on drums in 1971. That same year through 1972, Monk toured widely with the "Giants of Jazz," a kind of bop revival group consisting of Dizzy Gillespie, Kai Winding, Sonny Stitt, Al McKibbon and Art Blakey, and made his final public appearance in July of 1976. Physical illness, fatigue, and perhaps sheer creative exhaustion convinced Monk to give up playing altogether. On February 5, 1982, he suffered a stroke and never regained consciousness; twelve days later, on February 17th, he died.

Today Thelonious Monk is widely accepted as a genuine master of American music. His compositions constitute the core of jazz repertory and are performed by artists from many different genres. He is the subject of award winning documentaries, biographies and scholarly studies, prime time television tributes, and he even has an Institute created in his name. The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz was created to promote jazz education and to train and encourage new generations of musicians. It is a fitting tribute to an artist who was always willing to share his musical knowledge with others but expected originality in return.

August 12, 2007

The Partnership of Music and Poetry by María Teresa Fusari Buenos Aires, Argentina

The following article was posted on myspace by a regular listener of "Spotlight On Jazz And Poetry." I wanted to share this with everyone because it made me feel just that good about what people feel about my program;

Much has been said about the partnership of music and poetry. It is not new to say that they were born together; both of them are artistic expressions and they arise from the same feelings following established patterns, that being rhythm, which is common to both of them.

Consequently, it is not strange that some teachers approach poetry teaching through classical music. They encourage their students to listen to classical pieces to help them find the way to writing and, most of all, to pick up rhythm.

It is not new either, the fact that many people have united music and literature by setting poems to music Ranging from the biblical psalms to poems by Byron, Walt Whitman, William Blake, WB. Yeats, Emily Dickinson, Wallace Stevens, Antonio Machado, Mario Benedetti, Pablo Antonio Cuadra, Ernesto Cardenal, Joaquín Pasos, among others.

I would call this ability of getting a successful blending of poetry and music, an expression of art in itself.

Here is when Clayton Corley becomes an artist, when assembling the poem and the appropriate melody. He does not only provide entertainment but he also exposes us to different poets and their work, returning to the origin of poetry, when it was popular –Homer and the Troubadours – and not a bookish art as it has become in more modern times.

Moreover, he also contributes to education in other ways. As an ESL teacher (English as a second language teacher) I find Clayton Corley´s programme “Spotlight on Jazz and Poetry” a very useful tool to expose my students to native speaking and general culture by making them listen. In that way, main ideas coming from the poem are discussed, to end up by commenting on the jazz piece that served as background and complement.

What else may I say about “Spotlight on Jazz and Poetry”? I have only praises for him; admiration for his work of great quality and gratitude for letting us enjoy it.