December 30, 2008

Listener's Choice Best of SOJP 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen, 2008 is rapidly drawing to a close and SOJP Radio has heard you

On "LISTENER'S CHOICE THE BEST OF SOJP 2008" we will combine all of your choices for the best shows or artists of this past year into one spectacular program. This is YOUR show! Dedicated to you, chosen by you and with YOU in mind!

Jazz Musicians such as Kenny Garrett, Mulgrew Miller, Monika Herzig, The Crusaders and Herbie Hancock along with Poets Amiri Baraka, Celestial Dancer, The Nxt Level, Prahduct, NeoSouljah, Janine Nash, MizLoonaR were chosen by you as some of the best performers of 2008.

On Behalf of myself, Celestial Dancer and our families, we'd like to wish you all a Safe, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!


December 15, 2008

Sounds of the Season SOJP presents
"A Jazzy Christmas"

From December 14 thru December 27, 2008 Spotlight On Jazz & Poetry's
"A Jazzy Christmas"
will showcase some of your all time favorite musicians such as, Wynton Maralis, Kenny Burrell, Vince Guaraldi, Monika Herzig, Eartha Kitt, Louis Armstrong, Rod Tate and many others playing and singing some of your favorite Christmas music.


December 02, 2008


Gil Scott-Heron was born April 1, 1949 in Chicago, Illinois, but spent his early childhood in the home of his grandmother in Jackson, Tennessee. He began writing in fifth grade. When he was 13, his grandmother died and he moved with his mother to the Bronx, where he enrolled in DeWitt Clinton High School. He transferred to The Fieldston School after one of his teachers, a Fieldston graduate, showed one of his writings to the head of the English department there. After one year at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, Scott-Heron took a year off to write a novel. He returned to New York City, settling in Chelsea, Manhattan, which was at the time a multiracial and multicultural neighborhood. The novel, The Vulture, was published in 1970 and well received.

Scott-Heron began his recording career in 1970 with the LP Small Talk at 125th and Lenox. Bob Thiele of Flying Dutchman Records produced the album and Scott-Heron was accompanied by Eddie Knowles and Charlie Saunders on conga and David Barnes on percussion and vocals. The album's 15 tracks dealt with themes such as the superficiality of television and mass consumerism, the hypocrisy of some would-be Black revolutionaries, and white middle-class ignorance of the difficulties faced by inner-city residents. In the liner notes, Scott-Heron acknowledged as influences Richie Havens, John Coltrane, Otis Redding, Jose Feliciano, Billie Holiday, Langston Hughes, Malcolm X, Huey Newton, Nina Simone, and the pianist who would become his long-time collaborator, Brian Jackson.

Scott-Heron's 1971 album Pieces of a Man used more conventional song structures than the loose, spoken-word feel of Small Talk. He was joined by Johnny Pate (conductor), Brian Jackson (piano and electric piano), Ron Carter (bass and electric bass), Bernard Pretty Purdie (drums), Burt Jones (electric guitar), and Hubert Laws (flute and saxophone), with Thiele producing again. Scott-Heron's third album, Free Will, was released in 1972. Jackson, Purdie, Laws, Knowles, and Saunders all returned to play on Free Will and were joined by Jerry Jemmott (bass), David Spinozza (guitar), and Horace Ott (arranger and conductor).

1974 saw another LP collaboration with Brian Jackson, Winter in America, with Bob Adams on drums and Danny Bowens on bass. He didn't reach the charts until 1975 with the song Johannesburg, from the album From South Africa to South Carolina. That year he and Jackson also released Midnight Band: The First Minute of a New Day. A live album, It's Your World, followed in 1976 and a recording of spoken poetry, The Mind of Gil Scott-Heron was released in 1979. His biggest hit came with a song called Angel Dust, which he recorded as a single with producer Malcolm Cecil. Angel Dust peaked at #15 on the R&B charts in 1978.

In 1979, Scott-Heron played at the No Nukes concerts at Madison Square Garden. The concerts were organized after the Three Mile Island accident by Musicians United for Safe Energy to protest the use of nuclear energy. Scott-Heron's song We Almost Lost Detroit, about a previous accident at a nuclear facility, was included in the album of concert highlights.
During the 1980s, Scott-Heron continued recording, releasing Reflections in 1981 and Moving Target in 1982. Scott-Heron was a frequent critic of President Ronald Reagan and his conservative policies:

"The idea concerns the fact that this country wants nostalgia. They want to go back as far as they can -- even if it's only as far as last week. Not to face now or tomorrow, but to face backwards. And yesterday was the day of our cinema heroes riding to the rescue at the last possible moment. The day of the man in the white hat or the man on the white horse - or the man who always came to save America at the last moment -- someone always came to save America at the last moment -- especially in 'B' movies. And when America found itself having a hard time facing the future, they looked for people like John Wayne. But since John Wayne was no longer available, they settled for Ronald Reagan -- and it has placed us in a situation that we can only look at -- like a 'B' movie." (Gil Scott-Heron, "'B' Movie") Scott-Heron was dropped by Arista Records in 1985 and quit recording, though he continued to tour. In 1993, he signed to TVT Records and released Spirits, an album that included the seminal track Message to the Messengers. The first track on the album was a position point poem to the rap artists of the day and included such comments as:

"Four-letter words or four-syllable words won't make you a poet, it will only magnify how shallow you are and let ev'rybody know it."
"Tell all them gun-totin' young brothers that the 'man' is glad to see us out there killin' one another! We raised too much hell, when they was shootin' us down."
"Young rappers, one more suggestion, before I get outta your way. I appreciate the respect you give to me and what you've got to say."

Scott-Heron is often seen as a founding father of rap. Given the political consciousness that lies at the foundation of his work, he can also be called a founder of political rap. Message to the Messengers was a plea for the new generation of rappers to speak for change rather than perpetuate the current social situation, and to be more articulate and artistic: "There's a big difference between putting words over some music, and blending those same words into the music. There's not a lot of humour. They use a lot of slang and colloquialisms, and you don't really see inside the person. Instead, you just get a lot of posturing."

In 2001, Gil Scott-Heron was sentenced to one to three years' imprisonment in New York State for cocaine possession. While out of jail in 2002, he appeared on the Blazing Arrow album by Blackalicious. He was released on parole in 2003.

On July 5, 2006, Scott-Heron was sentenced to two to four years in a New York State prison for violating a plea deal on a drug-possession charge by leaving a treatment center. Scott-Heron said he is HIV-positive and claimed the in-patient rehabilitation center stopped giving him his medication. The prosecution countered that Scott-Heron had once skipped out for an appearance with singer Alicia Keys. Scott-Heron's sentence will be complete on July 13, 2009, but he will be eligible for parole two years before that date.

Scott-Heron's father, Giles "Gil" Heron (nicknamed "The Black Arrow") was a Jamaican soccer player who played for Glasgow's Celtic Football Club in the 1950s. In fact, when he came to Scotland from the United States to join Celtic in 1951 he became the team's first black player. At the time, Celtic F.C. was the team of Scotland's Irish immigrants.


Brian Jackson was born October 11, 1952 in Brooklyn, New York and is widely regarded as one of the early architects of the neo-soul era, Brian Jackson's enduring sound is capturing the hearts and souls of yet another generation. Today, Brian is not only a respected jazz artist but also a frequent collaborator with emerging artists who carry on the Tradition of inspiring and informing the masses through conscious music.

The Tradition started in 1970 when the Brooklyn-born producer, composer, and musician Jackson began writing songs with another prodigy, 20-year-old Lincoln University classmate and poet Gil Scott-Heron. Jackson remembers his first encounter with Gil, "He had this way with words and I thought to myself, 'People have to hear this stuff.' What I had to offer was the music and I figured if we can take his words and make this tribal knowledge rhythmic and musical, we can draw people to hear it."

Their partnership produced some of the most fiercely poignant, politically charged, and significantly soulful albums of the seventies. Pieces of a Man, Free Will, Winter in America, First Minute of a New Day, From South Africa to South Carolina, Bridges, Secrets, and 1980, are coveted by collectors and conscious-minded music fans alike. Tracks like The Bottle, Johannesburg, It's Your World, Angel Dust, Willing, and 95 South (All the Places We've Been), while highly relevant back-in-the-day, have taken on heightened new relevance today by serving as an inspirational and musical Rosetta stone for the neo-soul movement. Having produced ten top-selling albums with Gil, Brian decided to continue evolving his musical talents in the eighties by collaborating with Kool and the Gang, Phyllis Hyman, George Benson, Gwen Guthrie, and Roy Ayers. In 1988, Brian co-produced Will Downing's self-titled and UK gold-selling debut album.

Brian welcomed the turning of a century with his long overdue first solo album, gotta play. "No one could have told me when I was recording my first album, Pieces of a Man (with Gil Scott-Heron), that it would be the 21st century before I recorded a solo album. But this collection of music represents my offerings of new friendship, fresh perspective, and a new life."

With his rekindled spirit to continue the Tradition and reach a new generation, Jackson, for his next album, is collaborating with new voices and translating their lyrical visions into powerful neo-soul musical statements. For his next new-day-making-change album, Jackson is soulfully aligning with Ladybug Mecca (Digable Planets), Radio Free Brooklyn's Pete Miser, poet/songwriter Masauko of South Africa's Blk Sonshine, Oakland's Black Dot Collective freestyle MC Safahri Ra as well as with other lyrically brilliant new artists worldwide.

Asked about his motives, Brian reflects, "This music isn't mine and the minute I start trying to own it, it's all over. It's my responsibility to pass on what I've learned. That's living the Tradition."


Osibisa Founding members included Ghanaians Teddy Osei (saxophone), Sol Amarfio (drums) and Mac Tontoh (trumpet); Grenadian Spartacus R (bass); Trinidadian Robert Bailey (keyboard); Antiguan Wendell Richardson (lead guitar); and Nigerian Lasisi Amao (percussionist and tenor saxophone). Ghanaians Darko Adams Potato (died 1995) and Kiki Djan (died 2004) have also been members of the band.

Osibisa describes itself as the godfathers of world music, claiming to have paved the way for more famous musicians like Bob Marley, who became popular in the mid-1970s. Their music is described as a fusion of African, Caribbean, jazz, rock, Latin and R&B.

Many of Osibisa's works are highly danceable. and feature highly complicated and sophisticated Afro-Caribbean bass-drum grooves and dynamic horn charts.
The name Osibisa was actually described by the band members to mean "criss cross rhythms that explode with happiness". They classify their music as AfroJazz and "World" music. The band went through many incarnations with the founder members Teddy Osei, Mac Tontoh and Sol Amafio being the only original members that stayed with most incarnations. They originally favoured instrumentals which were heavily interlaced with African chants and percussions as well as a well organized horn section featuring Tedi Osei and MacTontoh, all this underpinned with an aggressive bass line. Their style influenced many of the emerging African musicians of the time.


Last Poets were rappers of the civil rights era. Along with the changing domestic landscape came the New York City-hip group called The Last Poets, who used obstreperous verse to chide a nation whose inclination was to maintain the colonial yoke around the neck of the disenfranchised.

Shortly after the death of Martin Luther King, The Last Poets were born. David Nelson, Gylan Kain, and Abiodun Oyewole, were born on the anniversary of Malcolm X's birthday May 19, 1968 in Marcus Garvey Park. They grew from three poets and a drummer to seven young black and Hispanic artists: David Nelson, Gylan Kain, Abiodun Oyewole, Felipe Luciano, Umar Bin Hassan, Jalal Nurridin, and Suliamn El Hadi (Gil Scott Heron was never a member of the group). They took their name from a poem by South African poet Willie Kgositsile, who posited the necessity of putting aside poetry in the face of looming revolution.

"When the moment hatches in time's womb there will be no art talk," he wrote. "The only poem you will hear will be the spearpoint pivoted in the punctured marrow of the villain....Therefore we are the last poets of the world."
The Last Poets has brought together music and the word. Like Haki Madhubuti (Don L. Lee), they are/were modern day griots expressing the nation- building fervor of the Black Panthers in poems written for black people. As the great poet Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones) says, "The Last Poets are the prototype Rappers... the kina nigger you don never wanna meet!" They teach what America does to its Black men, what Black men do to themselves, and WHY!

Novelist/essayist Darius James, in his book "That's Blaxploitation!" (St. Martin's Griffin, 1995) recalled the impact of the Poets at their birth.
In 1970 the Last Poets released their first album and dropped a bomb on black Amerikkka's turntables. Muthafuckas ran f'cover.
Nobody was ready.

Had em scared o' revolution. Scared o' the whyte man's god complex. Scared o' subways. Scared o' each other. Scared o' themselves. And scared o' that totem of onanistic worship -- the eagle-clawed Amerikkkan greenback! The rhetoric made you mad. The drums made you pop your fingers. And the poetry made you sail on the cushions of a fine hashish high.
Most importantly, they made you think and kept you "correct" on a revolutionary level. We all connected. 'Cause it was a Black communal thing. Like the good vibes and paper plate of red-peppered potato salad at a neighborhood barbecue. The words and the rhythms were relevant. We joined together around the peace pipe and the drum. And when it came to the rhythms of the drums, the drums said, "Check your tired-ass ideology at the door."

With withering attacks on everything from racists to government to the bourgeoisie, their spoken word albums preceded politically laced R&B projects such as Marvin Gaye's What's Going On and foreshadowed the work of hard-hitting rap groups such as Public Enemy. Their classic poems Niggers are scared of Revolution, This is Madness, When the Revolution Comes (not to be confused with Oyewole's modern version linked above), and Gashman were released on their two record albums Last Poets (1970) and This Is Madnesss (1971). I, the maker of this webpage, learned the poems of both albums from the lyrics on the back.

During their late 60s and early 70s they connected with the violent factions of the SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee), the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society), and the Black Panther party. They went through confrontations with the FBI and police, and went arrests for robbing the Ku Klux Klan and various other ventures with Revolution in mind. Abiodun Oyewole received a 12-to-20-year jail sentence, but served less than four years. Like Oyewole, Umar Bin Hassan was able to overcome the urban social maladies of a broken home, child abuse, a musician-father doing jail time, the dog-eat-dog world of public housing in Akron Ohio, and his own crack addiction. Hassan dispenses with the eloquence of classic English verse, for the gritty, in-your-face cadence of the 'hood.

They also fought each other and split into two groups. One, including Jalal Nuriddin, who wrote Wake Up Niggers, and Suleiman el-Hadi, was known as "The Last Poets" and the other, including Abiodun Oyewole and Umar Bin Hassan, while also original members, was billed as "Formerly of the Last Poets." It was a legal dispute, fundamentally, and for years there was talk of reconcilation. Nuriddin and el-Hadi also were active, though mostly in the UK (Nuriddin has been based in London for some years). In an early 90's Paris where Umar Bin Hassan was preparing for a Last Poet concert, Jalal mysteriously appeared and stabbed Hassan in the throat. Attempting to learn their own lessons, at present only Oyewole and Hassan (shown at the top of this page) remain of the original Last Poets in the group, and have the right to call themselves that title.

The Last Poets made four albums. Oyewole, at times with Hassan, at time without, made a number of others. On the albums, there are many special guests. Bill Laswell has appeared with the group during much of the 90s. They participated in the 1994 Lollapalooza tour; performed in John Singleton's "Poetic Justice" film and Holy Terror has Senegalese drummer Aiyb Dieng and his longtime collaborator, former Coltrane protege Pharoah Sanders to add some fireworks on sax. Hassan has the CD Be Bop or Be Dead. Anyway, a mid 90s performance of Oyewole and Hassan can be heard on the Stolen Moments: Red Hot and Blue compilation, which also ran on PBS as a video. On the fourth album since 1993,Time Has Come, Chuck D, co-founder of Public Enemy appears.

The full Last Poets story, as well as poetry, can be found in the book On a Mission: Selected Poems and a History of The Last Poets by Abiodun Oyewole, Umar Bin Hassan written with music journalist Kim Green

November 15, 2008

Jazz Vocalist "Diva JC" Joan Cartwright

Joan Renee Cartwright (born December 7, 1947, in Kew Gardens, New York) is a Jazz and Blues singer, composer, author and educator. She has toured five continents and 15 countries including the United States, eight European countries, Brazil, Mexico, Ghana, Gambia, South Africa, the People's Republic of China and Japan, with her swinging brand of jazz and blues. She is known around the world as "Diva JC". Her online radio show MUSICWOMAN TALK RADIO features guests, including women who compose and perform their own music, and discussions about Music and how it activates consciousness, divinity, the senses and improves character.

In 2008, Cartwright initiated an ensemble of WOMEN IN JAZZ with Sandra Kaye (TX) and Cynthia Saunders (FL) that performs a concert/lecture, telling the history of jazz and blues singers and musicians, including Alberta Hunter, Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters, Lil Hardin Armstrong, Dinah Washington, Mary Lou Williams, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Melba Liston, Alice Coltrane, Marian McPartland, Peggy Lee, Nina Simone, Betty Carter and Joanne Brackeen. Cartwright's entries about Women in Jazz and Blues are contained in the Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora published in 2008, published by ABC Clio and available at

Composer and author of the book, In Pursuit Of a Melody, containing 40 songs and lyrics to standard songs: "A Night in Tunisia" by Dizzy Gillespie, "Blue Bossa" by Kenny Dorham, "Tune Up" by Miles Davis and "Bessie's Blues" by John Coltrane. In November 2008, Joan began a Borders book signing tour. Her second book, Rhythms of the Heart contains poems written since 1977.

Artist-in-Residence for the 2007 Pan African Bookfest in South Florida, Joan teaches two lectures that she's given to over 6,000 children and college students, in the U.S., Switzerland, Sicily, China and Japan: Women in Jazz and So, You Want to be a Singer?. Her workshops are considered dynamic and educational, highlighting the pitfalls and benefits of the music business. She contends that, "Knowing music theory is a step in the right direction for any singer who truly wants to excel in the world of music!"

Known as the "Hip hop Mom of Atlanta", Joan performed "Jazz Meets Hip Hop" in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Italy, France and England. During her 30-year career, Joan has performed with Lou Donaldson, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Freddie Hubbard, Dorothy Donegan, Philly Joe Jones, Shirley Scott, Milt Hinton and hundreds of musicians in the U.S., Europe and Asia, where she toured with Li Yang's Crazy English program, in Beijing, in 2006.

In 2007, Ms. Cartwright incorporated the non-profit organization WOMEN IN JAZZ SOUTH FLORIDA, INC. to promote women musicians locally, nationally and globally, through contacts, articles, interviews, newsletters, events, courses, clinics, workshops, lectures, research, history, archives, websites, film, audio and video recording, concerts, performances and recognition. In 2008, Ms. Cartwright presented her program WOMEN IN JAZZ at York College and she was an honored guest at the Women in Jazz Festival at St. Peter's Church in New York City.

Diva Joan Cartwright has toured five continents and 15 countries including the U.S.A., 8 European countries, Brazil, Mexico, Ghana, Gambia, South Africa, China and Japan, with her swinging brand of jazz and blues. She’s performed with Philly Joe Jones, Shirley Scott, Sonny Stitt, Freddie Hubbard, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Lou Donaldson, Dorothy Donegan, Oliver Jackson and hundreds of other musicians, during the course of her career, in the U.S., Europe and Asia!

She is a composer and author. Her book, IN PURSUIT OF A MELODY contains 40 songs and lyrics to standard songs: "A Night in Tunisia" by Dizzy Gillespie, "Blue Bossa" by Kenny Dorham, "Tune Up" by Miles Davis and "Bessie's Blues" by John Coltrane. (LYRICS)

Joan's book also contains two lectures that she's given to over 5,000 children and college students, in U.S., Switzerland, Sicily, China and Japan: WOMEN IN JAZZ and SO, YOU WANT TO BE A SINGER? Her workshops are dynamic and educational, highlighting the pitfalls and benefits of the music business. She contends that, "Knowing music theory is a step in the right direction for any singer who truly wants to excel in the world of music!"

Diva JC names any ensemble of musicians she works with "Jazz Hotline" because the music swings and it's always HOT! Her most famous Blues are "Nobody's Husband", "OH, Baby!" and "Treat Me Right And You Don't Have To Marry Me".

Visit Joan's websites:, and search "Joan Cartwright" on for her two cds, FEELIN' GOOD (Sicily: 1995) and IN PURSUIT OF A MELODY (U.S.A.: 2006)

Joan Cartwright is available for bookings around the world. Her knowledge of music and her professional attitude enables Joan to travel alone and work with professional jazz and blues musicians, wherever she is contracted to perform.

This talented lady is bound to bring a smile to your face with her swinging jazz and blues! Don't miss the opportunity to enjoy her performance when she comes to your side of town!

November 01, 2008

RACHEL STEWART featuring Lovely Brown

Rachel Stewart was born in Bedford, England on March 30, 1972. She moved to Perth, Austrailia with her family in April 1982.

At just 31 years of age, Brisbane resident Rachel Stewart has experienced more pain than most of us would want to an endure in a lifetime.
But rather than sit back and relax, the talented saxophonist is using her experiences to produce her first album, due to be released later this year. Yet, to be named, the album will include original compositions Rachel wrote and produced in her home studio in Eight Mile Plains, a suburb of Brisbane.

Also an aspiring fitness competitor and model, Rachel has already released her first CD, a Demo album entitled "Believe" - not bad for a young woman who only five ago was diagnosed with Osteo Sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer which resulted in immediate invasive surgery and intensive treatment, including chemotherapy.

Always a fighter, Rachel stopped chemotherapy after a few months because of the detrimental effect on her body and she and Jamaican-born husband Wayne, a personal trainer, instead focused on natural therapies, positive thinking and a commitment to healthy eating and exercise.
And the results speak for themselves - Rachel is now happy, healthy and cancer-free, and will be officially in remission in four months.
In addition to cancer, Rachel has overcome other hurdles, including an eating disorder and depression, the legacies of a troubled childhood.
As a tall, slim and attractive young woman, evidence of Rachel's battles is barely visible, but she has used her "battle scars" (both inside and out) to make her a stronger and more focused person, committed to achieving her goal of releasing an album and competing in a natural fitness competition later this year.
Originally from Bedford, England, Rachel migrated to Perth with her family in 1982. It was here that her musical abilities were developed, although her talent was discovered at a very young age (she took up the violin at the age of three).
She attended Churchlands High School in Perth on a music scholarship, refining her oboe playing skills with teacher Joel Marangella (Principal Oboe, WA Symphony Orchestra).
Rachel was accepted into the Western Australian Conservatorium of Music in 1990, where she took up the saxophone, and shortly afterwards turned professional, playing at numerous venues throughout Perth.
In addition, Rachel was a member of the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra and women's saxophone quartet 'Saxchange', with which she toured to the Kiama Jazz Festival and performed as a support act for some of the world's best jazz musicians, including legendary American pianist Don Pullen.
One of the highlights of her career was performing in New York with US Piano legend Don Sands, and Count Basie's lead tenor sax player Billy Mitchell.
Rachel listens to and composes in a range of musical styles, including smooth jazz, R 'n B, house and hip-hop.

Her influences are broad - like her talent - and include Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Herbie Hancock, Kenny Garrett, Cannonball Adderley, Dave Koz, Gerald Albright, Earth Wind and Fire, Weather Report and the The Yellowjackets.
Prior to her smooth jazz album, Rachel, donning a DJ's hat (Mark 6), produced a House music CD 'Palladium', which she distributed to friends and family.
A passion for web design has allowed Rachel to fuse her many skills and passion and share her story with the world.
Her website - - features her life story, photos, her diet and training program, and of course examples of her musical talents, with all 9 songs from the Palladium CD downloadable.

While Rachel is a self-starter, she may soon receive some assistance in her quest to share her talent with a broader cross-section of Australians - independent Sydney-based record company Avondale Music has expressed interest in her work, and Rachel is also currently negotiating with various venues around Brisbane to regularly perform her original compositions.

While focused on her music, and with recent multi-Grammy Award winner Nora Jones as her inspiration, Rachel still is moving closer everyday to fulfilling her goal.
This young musician might find inspiration in others, but to many of her close friends and those who have read her story online or in Australian IronMan Magazine - she is the inspiration and living proof that a positive outlook and determination can be lifesaving.

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."

October 12, 2008

Jazz Vocalist "PAMELA LUSS"

It must be daunting to be a vocalist and have to sing a standard thrice-familiar that was recorded by everyone under the sun and still
make it your own. But every once in a proverbial blue moon a singer
appears on the scene who meets the challenge head-on, singing
songs, telling their stories without fear of being derivative or
redundant and not straining to be different for difference's sake. Such
a singer is Pamela Luss.

Pamela Luss, a natural vocalist, had a surprisingly rich voice even as a
child. Her father, an accomplished pianist, accompanied Pamela while
she spent hours singing the songs of Sinatra, Streisand, Sarah
Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and the Beatles. Pamela's exceptional pitch
was apparent early on and remains strong today as one of the
identifying features of a uniquely smooth voice with unusual fullness
and purity of tone.

When the time was right, Pamela began many years of private vocal
training. Her first coach was recommended by the Diller-Quaile School
of Music in New York City, after which she studied music at New York
University. After college, Pamela pursued her singing while working in
recruiting and human resources. For the past three years, she has
been working full-time as a vocalist.
Pamela's first major break as a vocalist occurred during one of her
annual concerts at Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall where she was
heard by the well-known saxophonist Vincent Herring. He offered to
produce her first album, “There's Something About You I Don't Know,”
which features an all-star line-up, including Mulgrew Miller, Tom
Harrell, Jeremy Pelt, Steve Turre, Russell Malone, Greg Hutchinson,
and Richie Goods. The album was released by Savant/ HighNote
Records to unanimously enthusiastic reviews in February of 2006.

In December 2006, Pamela recorded her second album, “Your Eyes,”
which was produced by Todd Barkan (of Jazz at Lincoln Center).
Released in March 2007, the album features the legendary tenor
saxophonist Houston Person. “Your Eyes” has also been receiving an
excellent reaction all over the world; it immediately made it to number
three out of one hundred on's vocal jazz Bestselling new
& future releases, and also reached number eight in France on the list
of the top-ten best selling Jazz albums on iTunes.

Of “Your Eyes,” Christopher Loudon of JazzTimes wrote, "There's a
warmth and soft delicacy that advances Luss from the middle of the
contemporary jazz-cabaret vocal pack, placing her squarely behind
front runner Jane Monheit." He also described her interpretation of
'How Do You Keep The Music Playing?' as quite possibly the finest-todate.
Additionally, Scott Yanow of All Music Guide commented, "Ms.
Luss shows that she is a superior jazz singer, whether being sensual on
‘Baby Don't You Quit Now,’ finding surprising life in a faster-than-usual
‘Over the Rainbow,’ or swinging on ‘Our Day Will Come.’”

Pamela has enjoyed long-running gigs at several prominent New York
venues, including Mannahatta and The Bruno Jamais Restaurant Club.
She has also performed at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola (as part of the Diet
Coke Women's Jazz Festival), Sweet Rhythm, Estia Cantina (in The
Hamptons), amongst other clubs throughout NYC. She also performs
at private functions, most notably at a premiere party thrown by the
actor and filmmaker Matthew Modine.

In the Fall and Winter of 2007-2008 Pamela made many exciting
appearances, beginning on Labor Day, when she flew to Las Vegas to
perform on live television on the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy
Telethon (a clip that's currently on, where it has so far
attracted over 2,500 viewings). Later that month, she made her first
appearance at the prestigious Feinstein's at the Regency, and
completely sold out the room, filling it to capacity. In early October
and March, Pamela did two well-attended gigs at Enzo's at the Jolly
Madison Hotel, and also In October, she appeared at a major all-star
benefit produced by the Jazz Foundation of America. That Fall, Pamela
sang at both the first ever Jazz Improv Live Convention as well as the
long-running Mabel Mercer Foundation Cabaret Convention at Jazz At
Lincoln Center's Rose Hall. In May 2008, she made her debut at the
legendary Birdland in Times Square, completely filling the largecapacity

Pamela Luss is a vocal star on the ascendant. As Your Eyes, garners
press and airplay, she will no doubt take her place in the elite company
of today's great song stylists. In the words of Joe Knipes in his review
(for Jazz Improv's NY Guide) of a live performance, Pamela Luss will
surely wow listeners wherever she goes!

NOTE FROM BIGTRIGGER; I had the pleasure of witnessing first hand this marvelous singer performing at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola in New York City on September 22, 2008. The show was phenomenal. If Pamela Luss performs anywhere near you, make it a point to BE THERE!

October 02, 2008


Ever since a precocious four year old asked a surprised Mother about the content of Spirit and Soul – querying an answer to the age-old theological and philosophical question of “who are we?,” it’s been on. On in the sense that no subjects are barred and the World is open for observation, inquisition and clarification – a primary aspect of her scribe and words spoken.

Pamela Kelly Phillips, better known in the poetry world as SoVerbose, was born and raised by Southern parents who later migrated to the working class environment of the Midwest (Cincinnati, Ohio) Pam, with a vivid imagination and a penchant for expression, engaged in a persistent struggle of where to place the academics and creativity – sometimes one at odds with the other. Her parents, quite pragmatic when it came to priorities for their Daughter and much older Son, opted that she would pursue those things that would get her a job and reinforced that aspect over and over.

Nonetheless, she wrote her first piece, a 120 page “book” Silver Moon at the age of nine, meticulously typing each word as an entire summertime labor of love. In the turmoil of the Civil Rights era she further committed those thoughts to paper, often reflecting on how it felt to be between a rock and a hard place – the simplicity of a grounded home existence and the world that just might open to her if she continued to work and “didn’t let herself get pregnant and ruin her life.” Punished for bad grades and under achievement by a Mom who “took no prisoners,” she had no choice but to “do good” for which she is now grateful.

And, as the years went by she did her thing, successfully, with Honors, at the University of Cincinnati. She accomplished post-graduate work at the university’s law school with substantial work towards a Juris Doctor degree until she shifted gears, got married and traveled with her military husband -- now estranged, and two children – now grown, for the next fifteen years. Through these years the writing and serious photography were a constant, often intermingled, sustaining force of life and the emphasis on the story poems occurred at a transitional point in her life. As a result of prolific expression, Guild Press in Robbinsdale, MN has published many of her works, most notably featuring her in the anthology Absorbing Destruction and in her own chapbook Blue Note.

The poetry reflects the everyday life of everyday people. A glance out the corner of an eye, a realization to which others seem impervious, a lesson learned or a memory held dear. Love affects her intensely, coming hard and self-absorptive, so her perspectives of love often reflect from the pen as a constant struggle between love and pain, with a focus on the retainer of emotions left behind. She cannot write poetry without the rhyme so there is a natural flow akin to the music that has always accompanied her in life. She jokes and says if she had been born twenty years later she would have been a rapper. Perhaps; but there isn’t a genre she doesn’t appreciate but relishes Jazz – Acid (Chill), Smooth and “Real”, Rock, and R&B – Classic and Nu Soul.

Pam has worked for the Federal government for close to twenty years in the areas of Public Affairs and Outreach, primarily in a management capacity. Residing (or confined as a state of mind) in one of those DC Metro bedroom communities to support her “day job” Pam considers her true home Atlanta, where the bulk of her extended family now resides, having relocated from the original family homestead in nearby Covington. Pam hopes to complete the circle and migrate Home to Georgia sometime in the near future.

In addition to a pursuit of where her poetry might take her, Pam hopes to mesh her love for distant travel with photographic skills as a travel journalist. Recent travels to Europe, China and Asia, and Tanzania are efforts to achieve this end.


Wes Montgomery was born March 6, 1925 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He came from a musical family; his brothers, Monk (string bass and electric bass) and Buddy (vibraphone and piano), were jazz performers. Although he was not skilled at reading music, he could learn complex melodies and riffs by ear. Montgomery started learning guitar at the age of 19, listening to and learning recordings of his idol, the guitarist Charlie Christian. He was known for his ability to play Christian solos note for note and was hired by Lionel Hampton for this ability.

Montgomery is often considered the greatest of modern jazz guitarists. Following the early work of swing/pre-bop guitarist Charlie Christian and gypsy-jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, Wes arguably put guitar on the map as a bebop or post-bop instrument. Although Johnny Smith was the guitarist in the original New York Bebop scene, and both Tal Farlow and Jimmy Raney made significant contributions in the 1950's to bebop guitar, each of these men curtailed their own output in the 1960s, creating a vacuum that Montgomery naturally filled with virtuostic playing. While many Jazz players are regarded as virtuosos, Montgomery was unique in his wide influence on other virtuosos who followed him, and in the respect he earned from his contemporaries. To many, Montgomery's playing defines jazz guitar and the sound that many try to emulate.

Montgomery toured with Lionel Hampton early in his career, however the combined stress of touring and being away from family brought him back home to Indianapolis. To support his family of eight, Montgomery worked in a factory from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm, then performed in local clubs from 9:00 pm to 2:00 am. Cannonball Adderley heard Montgomery in an Indianapolis club and was floored. The next morning, he called record producer Orrin Keepnews, who signed Montgomery to a recording contract with Riverside Records. Adderly later recorded with Montgomery on his Poll winners album. Montgomery recorded with his brothers and various other group members, including the Wynton Kelly Trio which previously backed up Miles Davis.

John Coltrane asked Montgomery to join his band after a jam session, but Montgomery continued to lead his own band. Boss Guitar seems to refer to his status as a guitar-playing bandleader. He also made contributions to recordings by Jimmy Smith. Jazz purists relish Montgomery's recordings up through 1965, and sometimes complain that he abandoned hard-bop for pop jazz towards the end of his career, although it is arguable that he gained a wider audience for his earlier work with his soft jazz from 1965-1968. During this late period he would occasionally turn out original material alongside jazzy orchestral arrangements of pop songs. In sum, this late period earned him considerable wealth and created a platform for a new audience to hear his earlier recordings.

Wes Montgomery died of a heart attack on June 15, 1968 in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

While often admired, guitarists seldom stepped to the forefront during most of the '50s. The real innovators, after all, were the saxophonists and trumpeters, and a guitarist, like a vibraphonist, was optional. With his use of octaves and forceful soloing in the late '50s, Wes Montgomery asserted that the guitarist was fully capable of fronting his own group and, like the tenors, offer cutting edge music. The Best of Wes Montgomery draws from the guitarist's work between 1959 and 1964 for Riverside, a body of work that remains fresh and exhilarating. It isn't so much the material he chooses that captures one's attention, though certainly an original like "Four on Six" draws the listener in. Instead, it's Montgomery's unique use of octaves, ability to solo with chords, and his distinctive method of playing single-note solos. On Victor Young's "Delilah," for instance, he offers several bars of his trademark octave work at the beginning, but he refuses to stick with one approach. After a lengthy solo by vibraphonist Milt Jackson, he re-enters the fray with a chunky series of chords and finally, after another solo from pianist Wynton Kelly, Montgomery cuts loose on a bright, inspired single-note solo that'll make the listener sit up straight. As The Best of Wes Montgomery shows, it's a task he was able to pull off again and again, making this a fine introduction for new fans

Personnel include: Wes Montgomery (guitar); Kenny Burrell (guitar); Johnny Griffin (tenor saxophone); George Shearing, Tommy Flanagan, Victor Feldman, Wynton Kelly (piano); Milt Jackson, Buddy Montgomery (vibraphone); Milt Hinton, Monk Montgomery, Percy Heath, Ron Carter (bass instrument); Albert "Tootie" Heath, Philly Joe Jones (drums); Louis Hayes (bass drum)

September 11, 2008


Jeff Lorber was born on November 4, 1952 in Philadelphia, Pa. Lorber started to play the piano when he was four years old and after playing in a number of R&B bands as a teen, went on to attend Berklee College of Music, where he developed his love for jazz.

His first group, The Jeff Lorber Fusion, released their self-titled debut album in 1977. Supported by a revolving cast of musicians including longtime drummer Dennis Bradford, Lorber recorded five studio albums under this moniker. These early releases showcased a funky sound influenced by other jazz fusion practitioners like Herbie Hancock, Weather Report and Return to Forever, the latter's Chick Corea appearing on several noteworthy Fusion cuts. Like his contemporaries, Lorber performed on multiple keyboard instruments including piano, Rhodes piano, and various analog synthesizers, often favoring the Minimoog and Sequential Circuits Prophet 5.

"Rain Dance," found on the 1979 album Water Sign, was sampled for the 1996 Lil' Kim single "Crush On You." The Jeff Lorber Fusion's 1980 LP Wizard Island introduced a young saxophonist named Kenny Gorelick, better known as Kenny G; this began a long association between Lorber and Gorelick that would continue after the Fusion disbanded in 1981. In 1982, Lorber recorded his first solo album It's A Fact, which explored Lorber's R&B roots with a smoother, more synth-heavy sound. The album featured a new backing band as well as contributions from former Fusion bandmate Kenny G and legendary percussionist Paulinho Da Costa. It's A Fact also contained several songs with vocalists, a stark contrast to the instrumental recordings of the Fusion.

1984 was a prolific year for Lorber, who followed up his solo debut with In the Heat of the Night and Lift Off. Later that same year, Lorber teamed up with influential R&B production duo David Frank and Mic Murphy, otherwise known as The System, to produce his most successful effort to date, Step By Step. The synth-driven title track rose to number 31 on the R&B charts.His subsequent albums continued to evolve in a smooth jazz direction. Two greatest hits compilations, The Definitive Collection and The Very Best of Jeff Lorber, were released in 2000 and 2002 respectively. To date, he has recorded a dozen solo albums, his most recent being 2005's Flipside which was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Pop Instrumental Album category.

Lorber has done extensive production and session work for other artists including Dave Koz, Eric Benet, Herb Alpert and Laura Branigan, as well as working on a track for the critically acclaimed 1997 PlayStation game Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. In addition to his recording and performing, Lorber also hosts his own show on Sirius Satellite Radio.

Jeff Lorber is married to Mingquan Tungwarapotwitan. When Lorber was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease, he received a successful kidney transplant from his wife.

Keith Van Washington, known to many as Versatyle, was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pa. Keith is a multi-talented, multi-faceted young artist that brings to the stage a style that reflects his lyrical skill, his depth, and his spiritual upbringing.

Audiences in the Philadelphia area and beyond have experienced Versatyle’s soul-stirring performances. Versatyle was summoned by Ebony Magazine to write and perform an original piece for their 2003 Launch Party. He was later referred to in both Ebony and Jet magazines as “spoken word star Versatyle”. In 2006 he was nominated Poetic Ambassador of the year by Prysmatic Dreams and the New Word Order both of which have international spheres of influence. Also that year he was a finalist in the McDonald’s Gospelfest in New York City. Fusing the worlds of poetry and theatre Versatyle played a lead role in the play Murder What’s Next? which garnered an attendance of 20,000 in just one month. Versatyle has been featured on many compilation albums including: the 380 soundtrack produced by a MTV affiliate, Emancipation by international soul connoisseur DJ Come of Age, and the What Happened Hip Hop mix by Whispered Words where he was featured between Gill Scott Heron and KRS-one.

What is the relationship between jazz and poetry and what is the importance of each to our culture?

In my humble opinion Jazz is a genre that accentuates poetry like no other. It’s pure instrumentation, that can marry with the word. Once this union takes place the bond is phenomenal and can be felt. The importance of both, as with any art forms, is that of self expression. Human beings have an innate need to express and the arts allows humanity, to be humanity, tell the stories that need to be told without limitation or censorship…I do it with a pen, Coltrane did it with a sax.

Charitable work:

Salvation Army After School Program – Periodically Versatyle Spends time with children who can’t go straight home after school, helping them with homework, feeding them and providing supervision during leisure activities.

Murder What’s Next? – An annual production developed to address violence in the community. Murder What’s Next? is free to the public and centers around restoring “respect for life” to the community through spiritual uplifting. Versatyle plays one of the lead roles in the production.

September 07, 2008


Shenole Latimer admits that the reason he wanted to learn the saxophone was because it was shiny and looked complicated to play because of all of the keys that it had. Shenole's interest in jazz, though always present, found a new level of intensity when he met jazz bassist Todd Coolman during his undergraduate studies at Stony Brook Unversity on Long Island. Coolman's professionalism and breadth of knowledge about jazz fascinated Shenole and made him give consideration towards pursuing jazz for a living. This feeling was cemented, however, when a friend loaned Shenole a CD by Chick Corea called "Three Quartets", which featured Michael Brecker on the tenor saxophone. All it took was Michael Brecker's solo on the very first track of the CD to have Shenole make up his mind that jazz was what he wanted to do with his life. Shenole had never, up until that point, heard a saxophone played in such a manner.Shenole's CD "Front and Center" is a must for any serious jazz lover and collection>

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. 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. Her first book, When a Band-Aid Isn't Enough, and other poetic perspectives was released in February 2005, and offers a eclectic compilation of traditional and non-traditional poetry.
She has just released her second book of poetry, The Alchemy of Understanding, Poetic Soul Therapy, released December 2007, where she has included a collection of poems that reveal facets of living where understanding is, isn’t, was or wished for. Reflecting on her latest book, Celestial writes that her poetry is delicately crafted to leave readers breathless, not just because it sifts your breath away through shock or extracts it with sudden expressive impact, but because the potency of human emotion and speed with which these portraits of feeling have been painted have entered the deepest realm of your heart, mind and soul at a pace that pulls your breath inward in its wake, allowing you to experience the most cherished and often unspoken human sentiment.

Napalm Da Bomb, is a performance and teaching artist, as well as a mentor to aspiring, young poets. With his band, the Jazzpoetics, he has been a prominent presence on the music/poetry scene for many years. As an artist, Lamont demonstrates what he describes as "vibepoetics" - an eclectic mixing of multiple artistic genres to provide dramatic language arts education. As such, Napalm frequently collaborates with dancers, painters, rappers, storytellers and vocalists.

Napalm’s poetry has been published in many magazines, including Essence AND African Voices. He appears on various jazz CDs including: Awaiting the Spirit, The Po-Jazz Connection and African Rhythm Tongues. Lamont served as co-executive producer for the Philadelphia segment of HBO’s Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam. His latest book of poetry is Come Ride My Poems. In 2007, he released his CD "Pigments of My Imagination."

NeoSouljah was born Unnita [Yah ‘KNEE Tah] Chambers in Cleveland Ohio April of 1962 and began singing almost as soon as she could talk. Having been a vocalist for 39 of her 45 years on Earth, her talents have been lent to nearly every style of music you can name: Jazz, Neo-Soul, Funk, R&B, Rock, Country & Western, Rap, Hip Hop, Gospel, Madrigal, Classical and Hymnal, as both lead and background vocalist, and vocal arrangement. As a Singer, this Diversity has afforded her the ability to work with some well known Ministries and Artists including HBO Def Poets Abyss and Georgia Me . As a performer, NeoSouljah has appeared in underground productions of The Wiz, A Brand New Me, a movie production "Water My Flowers", and is a member of the Christian Comedy Association.

But it was her craft of Songwriting that eventually led her to the love affair she now holds with Poetry. This gift was discovered during a showcase in an International music conference hosted by Multi Award winning Gospel artist Babbie Mason.

As a poet, NeoSouljah, or “Neo” as she is nicknamed, has not only held her own within the Open Mic circuit winning several slams, she has been found on the mic at local churches as well, given room to ‘tell it like it should be’. Sharing her years of knowledge as a stage performer with her poetic peers, she regularly holds poetry sessions in her home. Called “Confessions” these nights are filled with food, laughter, poetry, writing contests, information, and performance tips as she coaches those alongside and coming behind her. These sessions have also been visited by poets within the National Slam Poetry and HBO Def Poetry community of artists.

Mario Coleman aka The Nxt LeveL hails from Chicago Ill. where he grew up to until age 15. From there he moved to Erie PA. This is where his journey into music began.

Nxt got his first exposure to Jazz, by hanging out with his uncles and listening to cats like Wes Montgomery, and the Jazz Crusaders. But it wasn’t until Grover Washington’s Mr. Magic dropped, that his interest peaked. From there, It was George Benson’s Breezing, by the time Ronnie Laws came out with the Friends and Strangers album, it was pretty much a wrap as far me moving between Jazz, and R&B for inspiration. I remember at one point Reading the back of albums covers like magazines just to see who was playing on them.

Poetry came from the ability to listen deeply to love songs and get lost in the flow and imagery they created. Not to mention how much the ladies love to hear a brother say something sweet to them. As a matter of fact the first poetry piece that was posted was to his X Girlfriend entitled In Silence. My Girl was so moved by the piece she posted in a poetry website, the response was overwhelming and from there it all began.

August 29, 2008

Jazz Vocalists Vol. 2 "KAREN FRANCIS"

Karen Francis, one of the many straight-ahead jazz vocalists who emerged in the '90s, grew up in the Deep South; the singer went to high school in Augusta, GA (home of Soul Godfather James Brown) before attending Tuskegee University in Alabama. But she ended up moving to the Northeastern part of the United States and spent most of the '90s in that region. Francis now lives in Newark, NJ, just outside of New York City.

Karen got a lucky break when she met veteran hard bop/post-bop pianist Stanley Cowell during the summer of 1994. The two of them met at a party in the Washington, DC suburb of Silver Springs, MD, where they were introduced by one of Cowell's students. After hearing Francis sing, Cowell (who was 53 at the time) felt that she had a great deal of potential -- and he was surprised to learn that she had only been singing jazz for two years. Francis had been studying jazz singing since 1992, although she had been playing several instruments since high school. Cowell had enough faith in Francis to feature her extensively on his 1995 release Mandara Blossoms, which came out on the independent SteeleChase Records (a well-known Danish jazz label that is based in Copenhagen, and was named after a famous Charlie Parker standard). In fact, the acoustic pianist featured Francis on six of his own compositions, as well as on the classic Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn standard "Daydream."

And Mandara Blossoms wasn't the end of Francis' relationship with SteeleChase, which released her first album as a leader, Where Is Love?, in 1996, and her sophomore disc,

Little Sunflower, in 1998. The latter includes some arrangements by pianist Larry Willis, who Francis studied with extensively in the late '90s. Francis' influences have included, among others, Sarah Vaughan, Dianne Reeves, Carmen Lundy, Dinah Washington, and Billie Holiday -- and even though she is jazz-oriented, Francis doesn't consider herself a jazz snob. In fact, she has cited Oleta Adams and Barbra Streisand as two of her favorite singers; Francis has also expressed admiration for R&B singers Chaka Khan and Jill Scott. In 2003, Francis' third album, Better Days (which employs the ubiquitous Christian McBride on acoustic bass) was released independently on Virgo Rising Records

August 18, 2008


ALPHONSE MOUZON (who is an African American mixed with French and Blackfoot Indian) was born November 21, 1948 in Charleston, South Carolina. He attended Bonds-Wilson High School where he received his early musical training under the direction of saxophonist Lonnie Hamilton III, and some drum lessons from Charles Garner. Following graduation from high school, he moved to New York to study music and drama at New York City College and medicine at Manhattan Medical School. MOUZON took drum lessons from jazz pianist Billy Taylor's drummer Bobby Thomas. Whileattending college, Alphonse played in the pit band of the broadway show "PROMISES, PROMISES" after being recommended by Bobby Thomas. MOUZON also worked as a medical technologist at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital after graduating from Manhattan Medical School. However his medical career was short lived.

By 1969 his reputation as a player had spread to such an extent that a medical career was no longer attractive. By the early seventies, he had embarked upon a musical journey that would take him to almost every corner of the world and would establish his reputation as one the most creative musician of the era. In 1975 MOUZON studied acting at The Lee Strausberg Institute for Actors in Hollywood, California. In 1997 he studied acting with Susan Ricketts and in 1998 MOUZON studied advance voice-overs with Don Pitts at California State University of Northridge.

MOUZON's musical associations read like a veritable Who's Who of Modern Jazz and Pop Music. His talents cover a broad range of musical disciplines and philosophies. He was the rhythmic foundation for the far reaching musical explorations of pianist McCoy Tyner. He was a charter member along with keyboardist Joe Zawinul and saxophonist Wayne Shorter, of the group Weather Report. Along with guitarist Larry Coryell, MOUZON was co-founder of The Eleventh House, the seminal fusion band of the seventies. The Larry Coryell's Eleventh House reunited after 25 years in July 1998 and toured all over the world featuring Mouzon until December 12, 1999.

MOUZON has also played and/or recorded with Gil Evans, Roy Ayers, George Benson, Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Stanley Clarke, Al DiMeola, Les McCann, Ronnie Laws, Klaus Doldinger's Passport, Jaco Pastorius, Ron Carter, Nathan East, Cecil McBee, Albert Mangelsdorff, Joachim Kuhn, Jasper van't Hof, Michel Legrand, Stanley Turrentine, Freddie Hubbard, Hubert Laws, Donald Bird, Chet Baker, Randy Brecker, Michael Brecker, Ernie Watts, Sonny Rollins, Wallace Roney, Arturo Sandoval, Christian McBride, Kenny Barron, Cedar Walton, George Coleman, John Klemmer, Billy Harper, Dave Grusin, Russ Freeman, George Howard, Kirk Whalum, Jeff Lorber, Kenny G., Joanne Brackeen, Horace Parlan, Robin Kenyatta, Ross Carnegie Orchestra, Roberta Flack, Gloria Lynn, Gloria Coleman, Denise Williams, Freda Payne, Shirley Scott, Anita O'Day, Betty Davis, and in 1991, he performed with Miles Davis on the movie soundtrack album entitled "Dingo". MILES DAVIS even spoke highly of MOUZON in his book entitled"Miles - The Autobiography".

MOUZON has also played with and helped the early careers of Lee Ritenour, David Beniot, Gerald Albright, Sam Riney, Brandon Fields, Greg Karukas, Dave Koz, and Richard Elliot.MOUZON's rock/pop credentials include gigs with no less respectable a crew than Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana, Patrick Moraz, Tommy Bolin and Chubby Checker. ROBERT PLANT, lead singer for the legendary rock group LED ZEPPELIN, named MOUZON, during his acceptance speech for induction into the 1995 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, one of the band's major influences .

Besides radio, MOUZON's music has been aired on CBS, NBC and ABC's Daytime Television Soap Operas - "ALL MY CHILDREN", "ANOTHER WORLD", "AS THE WORLD TURNS", "DAYS OF OUR LIVES", "ONE LIFE TO LIVE", "LOVING", "GENERAL HOSPITAL", "GENERATIONS", "SANTA BARABARA", "THE GUIDING LIGHT", "SUNSET BEACH", "PASSIONS", and CBS SPORTS, "LIFE STYLES OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS", "RUNAWAY WITH THE RICH AND FAMOUS", "LEEZA", "HARD COPY", "ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT", and many more!MOUZON's name can be found in just about every Jazz Encyclopedia/ Dictionary, and is listed the 2nd edition of Marquis Who's Who In Entertainment and Who's Who In The World.

MOUZON was voted the #2 BEST MULTI-INSTRUMENTALIST in the 1995 Jazziz Magazine Annual Readers Poll.

At present, MOUZON performs in Europe and in the U.S. with his trio, quartet, or quintet and as a featured guest artist with other groups. Please check your local listings. He is currently producing music for his next five CDs, entitled "SMOOTH AS SILK" "ANGEL FACE", "LIVE AT THE BAKED POTATO", "HIGH NOON", "LIVE IN BEL AIR" on Tenacious Records MOUZON'S trumpet, flute and alto sax playing will be featured on some of these upcoming studio releases. See MOUZON along with actor TOM HANKS in the film "THAT THING YOU DO". ALPHONSE is acting an playing drums. He also composed the music score for the Blue Spot jazz club scene, in which he plays a smoking drums solo. The acoustic piano melody and solo on "Blue Spot" were also performed (off camera) by Alphonse Mouzon.

MOUZON is a born again Christian and his motto is "Veracity and Integrity are Virtues". Keep the faith!

August 16, 2008



In 1961, four fellows from Houston transplanted themselves to Los Angeles and added more distinctly bluesy elements to the soul jazz style with an ear-grabbing album called “The Freedom Sound,” on the Pacific Jazz label. Its four co-leaders were trombonist Wayne Henderson, tenor saxophonist (and occasional bassist) Wilton Felder, pianist Joe Sample, and drummer Nesbert “Stix” Hooper.

They first joined together in Houston in the fifties with the formation of The Swingsters, the group’s embracing of many different musical styles starts where it normally does, at the beginning. “Because we came up on the streets and not in the studios,” says Felder, “our music was live. The Texas streets were rich with the blues of Lightnin’ Hopkins. We grew up on all the deep country sounds. At the same time, we had ears for modern jazz like”Miles and Monk,”and never saw a contradiction between the old and new.” It’s no surprise, then, that once in senior high, The Swingsters became The Modern Jazz Sextet, a group that continued through their college years at Texas Southern University. Before graduation, though, the call of the road was irresistible, and they were off to L.A.

Two years later, in 1960, the group was signed to Pacific Jazz Records and re-christened The Jazz Crusaders. Their trombone/sax frontline sound was unique, their bop chops impeccable. In a series of superlative albums, The Jazz Crusaders built a national reputation, surviving a decade in which the popularity of jazz was in extreme decline. On one hand, the British Invasion and Motown dominated the youth market; on the other, the jazz avant-garde alienated scores of fans.

The Jazz Crusaders sound caught on big time, and their subsequent Pacific Jazz albums rewarded them with a good deal of exposure. The band performed regularly and got plenty of airplay. But as times changed, so did the Jazz Crusaders. In the late Sixties, they placed popular songs in their repertoire, and firm back beats began to bolster many a selection. By 1971, they decided that the word “jazz” kept them from attracting a wider listener base, and so they emerged anew with “The Crusaders, Vol. 1,” (Chisa), an album that openly infused jazz with pop, soul, and R&B elements.

If the Jazz Crusaders had achieved some degree of popularity, it was nothing like the crossover success that greeted the Crusaders. Such albums as “Scratch,” “Southern Comfort,” “Chain Reaction,” “Those Southern Knights,” “Free as the Wind,” “Images, Street Life,” and “Royal Jam” (recorded variously for the Chisa, ABC Blue Thumb, and MCA labels) sold well and brought in a deluge of new fans. Street Life’s title track, with Randy Crawford on vocals, provided the Crusaders with a major crossover hit in 1979.

The Crusaders’ popularity started to fade in the early Eighties, prompted by Henderson’s departure. Hooper then left as well, and by the early ‘90’s, Sample and Felder had disbanded the group.

A few years later, Henderson and Felder began performing together, first as the New Crusaders and then, as the Jazz Crusaders. Henderson was able to hold on to the name Jazz Crusaders and is still touring under that name. They reunited after a 20-year absence, and in 2003, Verve Records released “Rural Renewal.” This record featured the heart of the original Crusaders lineup;Joe Sample on keys, Wilton Felder on saxophone, and Stix Hooper on drums, along with trombonist Steve Baxter, in Wayne Henderson’s former spot. Also on board was Stewart Levine, the producer credited for The Crusaders’ major successes in the 1960s and 1970s.

Henderson and Felder both went on to have solid solo careers both as performers and producers. Hooper likewise remained active though not as visible as the others.Joe Sample of course has gone on to become a first call pianist and has produced a score of fine albums as leader as well. Even during the days of commercial success, the Crusaders had at their core a note of integrity. Though many will judge them for their latter more popular period, they are recognized by jazz aficionados for their work in the early ‘60’s as the Jazz Crusaders.

The young musicians performed their own mix of the sounds that came out of their culture and their experiences. It was only when they were signed to Pacific Jazz that they adopted the name that would remain unchanged for a decade.

From their first recordings, The Jazz Crusaders proved they sounded like no one else. They took as their foundation what Sample called the three pillars of African American music: jazz, blues and gospel. In fact, part of what makes The Jazz Crusaders' music through the decade of the 1960s so appealing is that their background and musical influences seemed to put them on a course of musical discovery, seeking ways to apply the art of self expression and improvisation to their own compositions and to a wide repertoire from the jazz and pop worlds.


Every once in a while, an artist comes along who redefines and manipulates the boundaries of his craft. Using a various array of soul stirring lyrics and a thought process that is borderline alien, MizloonaR is well on his way to doing just that.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, MizloonaR who is a poet-lyricist-singer uses the labyrinth of his life experience to paint vivid depictions of the world through his eyes. Since birth, MizloonaR and music have been
connected at the hip, and it seems like the marriage of the two has finally come full circle. As a child of the ghetto, loonaR had a smorgasboard of inspiration to draw from, and with his innate ability to absorb and translate his surroundings, he sketches portraits of where he's been and where he plans on going. He draws from the struggles of his inner city brethren, using the remnants of their pain and the monuments of their joy to tell the story of a world that is seldom documented accurately. Using the lessons of life as the paint for his canvas, loonaR touches on every aspect of life, from distant dreams to a jagged reality.

Knowing that life is a great teacher, loonaR uses his lessons learned to articulate the black male experience. mizloonaR draws from the memories of his innopportune incarceration in his early
twenties, and he expresses the pain and long road back to self suffiency after being a gunshot victim in the badlands of North Philadelphia. If u had seen or experienced some of the events that mizloonaR has been through and witnessed, you would indeed consider it amazing that he has lived this long to tell about it. But through the blessing of The Most High, and with the constant support and motivation from his family, mizloonaR has survived to tell the world the story of his many successes and failures.

Using the fragments of an education gained at Florida Community College of Jacksonville as well as the Community College of Philadelphia, mizloonar uses his brilliance with the English language to go outside the boundaries of self expression, choosing to go against the grain and show the endless possibilities that exists within the human imagination. A loving father and a
strong advocate of family, mizloonaR is a perfect example of what we are all capable of if we remain focused and uncompromised.

With the constant increase in brutality and racism that arise in the bowels of the ghetto, loonaR is relentless in his fight for the upliftment and educating of his community. Using music and poetry as vehicles to promote positivity and hope, mizloonaR is currently in the process of completing his double album. Celebrated for his ability to hopscotch from genre to genre, mizloonaR intends to pull from his full arsenal of gifts and abilities to leave his imprint on the world. Join him as he takes that long walk to forever. uno (loonaR)

August 07, 2008


Oni Lasana "desired poet of the people" was born and raised in North Philadelphia during the height of the Civil Rights era in America. She was deeply affected and involved in the Black Consciousness Movement. An avid traveler, she pursued a life course to bring positive awareness of African American and Caribbean culture to communities worldwide. She spent a successful career in the music industry as a publisher and promoter of Black music in the 70's, 80's and 90's.

A cultural conduit and creative muse to many, Oni established Oni Lasana Productions, in 1994. It allows her to serve the community as a cultural enrichment teaching artist, poet, storyteller, musician, producer, publisher, songwriter, historical interpreter (Harriet Tubman), playwright, (The Soul of Kwanzaa), among many other artistic ventures.

Oni Lasana is known internationally for her one woman theatrical production and audio CD on the poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar. She brings to life the poetry of Dunbar, from backyards to reputable theaters. Oni's programs are embraced internationally, from Germany to Trinidad and Tobago. Renowned Poet and Professor, Nikki Giovanni announced on several occasions that Oni is the "Voice of Dunbar!” Oni Lasana is featured in Sourcebooks, “Hip Hop Speaks To Children“, a audio and book of poetry slated for release in October 2008. Lasana’s "spirit driven" original poetry can be heard on her sophomore CD "Sister Wings, Spoken Word Songs, Bass & Beats“ a blend of soul, reggae and hip hop grooves, also, “Doin’ Dunbar as ‘Lias’ Mother” which features the dialect poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar, both CD's are available at

Past-president, and presently the PR Chair of Keepers Of The Culture, Inc., Philadelphia's Afrocentric Storytelling Group she is also a life member of the National Association of Black Storytelling, Inc. Oni Lasana Productions are welcomed at countless cultural, social, educational and corporate events.

July 31, 2008


Philadelphian Lamont Dixon, aka Napalm Da Bomb, is a performance and teaching artist, as well as a mentor to aspiring, young poets. With his band, the Jazzpoetics, he has been a prominent presence on the music/poetry scene for many years. As an artist, Lamont demonstrates what he describes as "vibepoetics" - an eclectic mixing of multiple artistic genres to provide dramatic language arts education. As such, Napalm frequently collaborates with dancers, painters, rappers, storytellers and vocalists.
Napalm’s poetry has been published in many magazines, including Essence AND African Voices. He appears on various jazz CDs including: Awaiting the Spirit, The Po-Jazz Connection and African Rhythm Tongues. Lamont served as co-executive producer for the Philadelphia segment of HBO’s Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam. His latest book of poetry is Come Ride My Poems. In 2007, he released his CD Pigments of My Imagination.

Additionally, Napalm portrays Malcolm X in Fire & Fury: X in Oratory and Langston Hughes in A Walk Down Lennox Ave. In contrast, he has delighted thousands of children with his deft portrayal as Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat.

Performances: Turkey Hill Ice Cream Arts Festival, Chrysler National African-American Cultural Expo; Philadelphia’s Welcome America! Poetry Series; Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Music City’s Jazz & Arts Festival, Jackson, TN; Garden State Children’s Discovery Museum, PA Multi-cultural Affairs Congress, DuPont’s Clifford Brown Jazz Fest. of DE, W. Oak Lane Jazz Fest., Maryland ARTScape Fest.; Philadelphia Drug Enforcement Agency, State Correctional Institute at Gratersford, PA, Chester County Prison, Annual Conference of
National Association of Black Storytellers

Workshop/Residencies: DE State, Lincoln, St. Joe’s, Lehigh, Temple, Villanova, Arcadia, Rutgers, and Row an Universities; Burlington County and Cumberland County Colleges; U. of Pa. and Union Theological Seminary of NY; Philadelphia Museum of Art; State Theater of New Brunswick, NJ; Volunteers of Amer., Inc., NJ School-Age Care Coalition, Camden Board of Ed., NJ Theater of New Brunswick.

Affiliations: NJ & PA State Council for the Arts, Keepers of the Culture, Inc., National Assn. of Black Storytellers, Rutgers U. Center for the Arts; Rowan U. (CHAMP); Walt Whitman Center for the Arts; Free Library of Philadelphia.

Rostered Arts Organizations: Perkins Center for the Arts, Playwrights Theater of NJ, Young Audiences of NJ, Philadelphia Arts & Education Partnership, Arts Horizons, Musicopia (formerly Strings for Schools), and Camden County Cultural & Heritage Commission
2008 Update: Selected as a Mentor Teaching Artist for Rutgers University’s (New Brunswick) Community Artists Residency Training Series (CARTS)


Spotlight On Jazz And Poetry presents
“An Evening of Jazz and Verse”
September 20, 2008 6:30pm
O’Shivers Hall in Philadelphia

July 25, 2008


Sandra Turner-Barnes, a South Jersey/Philadelphia area artist,
is a national award winning poet, author & vocalist, known across the East Coast as "The Cadillac Lady" because of her amusing poem-song by that title. In 1995, Sandra won the Ebony Magazine Literary Competition for short fiction; and, she felt truly honored to be named "Diva of Poetry" right along with Nikki Giovanni, Sonya Sanchez and Ntosake Shange in 1997 in the City of Philadelphia. In 2000, Sandra won the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Competition in Chicago, and was published in the Gwendolyn Brooks Anthology, "WarpLand."

As a performance poet & vocalist, Sandra has appeared across the East Coast with artists such as Jazz Divas Gerri Allen, Shirley Scott and Evelyn Sims; R&B singer, Freddie Jackson, and writer and motivation speaker, Iyanla Vanzant, to name a few. In 2001, Sandra's jazz vocal performance with renowned jazz pianist, Barry Sames, was selected for national airing on BET's "Jazz Discoveries." Sandra's first book of poetry, "Always A Lady," published for the third time in 1995, sold over 5,000 copies, and is still in demand; her second book, "That Sweet Philly Jazz" published in 1997, is a tribute to jazz and jazz musicians; and, her soon-to-be released book, "Too Much Woman" is a long awaited collection of poetry, prose and passion. A children's book entitled, "Chicken Bone Beach" is near completion; this tale depicts racism through the eyes of a Black child during the days of segregation in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Sandra chose to entitle her first CD, "September Will Never Be The Same" in tribute to the many lives lost last year on September 11, but also in gratitude to the many lives spared by God's Grace, including that of her son-in-law, Enzo. Sandra dedicates the title poem to all the children of this world, and especially those children who will be born as a result of efforts to bring about healing from this tragedy, specifically, her own (soon to be born 911 blessing) granddaughter, "Mia." "September Will Never Be The Same" features the up and coming jazz quartet, "Mysterious Traveler," four very gifted musicians who provide that jazzy balance that gives Sandra's poems and vocals that added uniqueness that bring joy to the listeners' ears.

"Mysterious Traveler" consists of leader, Theo Primas, who co-produced the CD, on Saxophones & flute; co-producer, Raimundo Santos, on keyboards; Bob Turner on bass; and Kenny Adams on drums. All wonderfully executed selections on this fabulous CD are smooth, easy to listen to, extremely entertaining, and destined to put this CD on your "must have" list.

July 18, 2008


Roy Ayers was born on September 10, 1940 in Los Angelos, Ca. One of the most visible and winning jazz vibraphonists of the 1960s, then an R&B bandleader in the 1970s and '80s, Roy Ayers' reputation s now that of one of the prophets of acid jazz, a man decades ahead of his time. A tune like 1972's "Move to Groove" by the Roy Ayers Ubiquity has a crackling backbeat that serves as the prototype for the shuffling hip-hop groove that became, shall we say, ubiquitous on acid jazz records; and his relaxed 1976 song "Everybody Loves the Sunshine" has been frequently sampled. Yet Ayers' own playing has always been rooted in hard bop: crisp, lyrical, rhythmically resilient. His own reaction to being canonized by the hip-hop crowd as the "Icon Man" is tempered with the detachment of a survivor in a rough business. "I'm having fun laughing with it," he has said. "I don't mind what they call me, that's what people do in this industry."

Growing up in a musical family — his father played trombone, his mother taught him the piano — the five-year-old Ayers was given a set of vibe mallets by Lionel Hampton, but didn't start on the instrument until he was 17. He got involved in the West Coast jazz scene in his early 20s, recording with Curtis Amy (1962), Jack Wilson (1963-1967), and the Gerald Wilson Orchestra (1965-1966); and playing with Teddy Edwards, Chico Hamilton, Hampton Hawes and Phineas Newborn. A session with Herbie Mann at the Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach led to a four-year gig with the versatile flutist (1966-1970), an experience that gave Ayers tremendous exposure and opened his ears to styles of music other than the bebop that he had grown up with.

After being featured prominently on Mann's hit Memphis Underground album and recording three solo albums for Atlantic under Mann's supervision, Ayers left the group in 1970 to form the Roy Ayers Ubiquity, which recorded several albums for Polydor and featured such players as Sonny Fortune, Billy Cobham, Omar Hakim, and Alphonse Mouzon. An R&B-jazz-rock band influenced by electric Miles Davis and the Herbie Hancock Sextet at first, the Ubiquity gradually shed its jazz component in favor of R&B/funk and disco.

In the 1980s, besides leading his bands and recording, Ayers collaborated with Nigerian musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, formed Uno Melodic Records, and produced and/or co-wrote several recordings for various artists. As the merger of hip-hop and jazz took hold in the early '90s, Ayers made a guest appearance on Guru's seminal Jazzmatazz album in 1993 and played at New York clubs with Guru and Donald Byrd.

Today, the dynamic music man is an iconic figure still in great demand and whose music has been sampled by music industry heavyweights, including Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, 50 Cent, A Tribe Called Quest, Tupac, and Ice Cube. Ayers recently recorded with hip-hop artist Talib Kweli (produced by Kanye West) and jazz/R&B singer Will Downing. Many of Ayers’ songs including “Everybody Loves the Sunshine,”, “Searchin”, “Running Away” have been frequently sampled and remixed by DJ’s worldwide.

Jean-Claude Toran, was born in June of 1944. He is your poet. He is your playwright. He is your actor. He is your Clown. He is your ultimate entertainer. a man of universal talents, with global presence and he deserves the right to be your entertainer. As the man puts it so eloquently, "Every place that I have ever been, I'm still there." And oh yes, the man has been "there";. From the halls and walls of the White House, to the streets and alleys of the black houses of the ghettos, he's been there. He's been a Preacher and a prisoner. He's been a leader and a follower. He's been up to the towers in New York and Philadelphia. And he's been down in the gutters of Los Angeles and DC. He can recognize the smell of the Australian wilderness and distinguish the taste of a Jamaican morning. He's performed on a grand stage, and walked in the footsteps of Bob Marley and Marvin Gaye. He's written love songs and movies. He plays a Yidaki also called a didgeridoo. It's a wind instrument that was given to Jean-Claude by the Indigenous Australians, the Aboriginese.

"Jean-Claude's first touring experience was with Sun Ra. "He was an entertainer and made everyone with him perform to the max. Sun Ra taught me about touching the audience...I wore a pair of tights with a cape as I went in the audience saying, Space is the place, Space is the place, You're on the Good Ship Earth, but you haven't met the captain of the space ship yet."
Roy Ayers is another total entertainer with whom Jean-Claude has worked with. "It's always a pleasure to perform with him; the video we did some years back still pops up every now and then on BET...Going to places like South Africa, Europe, and Australia with Isaac Hayes as his personal aide, also helped to build me as an entertainer. Those experiences last until this day in terms of the impact it had upon me. As an entertainer, I feel very comfortable where I am right now."

For many years Jean Claude refused to write poetry for people to read. He would write it, learn it, and tear the paper up. His standard was that he would not go on stage with a piece of paper to read a poem that I had written. The poems that he recites on the stage are very special. Today a lot of things are being called, 'poetry' just because they rhyme. Just because a person can rhyme words does not mean that he or she is a poet. Back in the 70's (1974), Jean Claude challenged himself to go to Los Angeles from Philadelphia and make a living as a performing poet, but before he could do that, he had to go to New York City and be a street performer. He had several spots to perform; in front of the Ed Sullivan Theatre, under the arch in Washington Square Park, and the steps of Carnage Hall. "I did not make a lot of money, just enough to eat and on some days get a room." Jean Claude's CD 'The Best of Jean-Claude Toran' celebrates twenty-five years of his performing spoken word.

Come to the SOJPradio website and listen to a wonderful conversation with Jean-Claude Toran and Roy Ayers