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

July 13, 2008



Shenole Latimer was born on June 21, 1973, at Huntington Hospital on Long Island, NY. The very same hospital that John Coltrane passed away in. In his early years, Shenole grew up in a household that included his mother, grandmother, and one of his aunts. As his mother would tell you, one had to enter the house with care because Shenole was known to be a "head hunter", throwing any nearby object at visitors' heads. From an early age, Shenole showed a strong interest towards music. His aunt, who lived with he and his grandmother at the time, owned an electric organ that she would play every day. Fascinated by the sound that the instrument would produce, Shenole often would sneak up the stairs to listen to his aunt play. Eventually, Shenole grew bold enough to even reach his 3 year old hand through the cracked door to try and play the organ with his aunt. This gesture, though cute at first, soon became annoying and when the time came for his aunt to move away, she left Shenole a gift - a brand new electric organ just like the one she owned. He quickly taught himself how to play.

THE FAMILY: Many members of Shenole's family are musically inclined. His mother was a violinist in her youth and gained much acclaim on Long Island for her skill and the fact that she was the only left handed violinist in any of Long Island's school districts at the time. Aside from the aunt that lived with him, he had another aunt that was a very talented pianist. Then, there are several of his cousins who are purcussionists. One of them, Emile Latimer, or "The Distinguised One" as Shenole likes to call him, has recorded and performed with legends like Stevie Wonder, Spyra Gyra, Nina Simmone, Richie Havens, and a host of others. Shenole always enjoys any family gatherings because the festivities are almost brought up several notches when everyone takes out their instruments and spontaneous jam sessions errupt.

THE PATH OF MUSIC: As mentioned earlier, Shenole Latimer had a very early interest towards music. When he was 9 years old, Shenole attended a school assembly where the school's band director was demonstrating the various band instruments for the children, in the hopes of gaining new recruits for his band. The children in the auditorium sat in quiet awe at the various instruments were brought out and performed by the band director. But, this silence was suddenly broken when the director took out a saxophone and Shenole, unable to hold back his excitement, yelled out, "oh my God, what's that thing?". About a month later, Shenole found himself in the school's band, playing the alto saxophone. Later, Shenole would admit 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 OTHER SIDE: Aside from music, Shenole is known for his love of movies. He and his wife Renee, own nearly 400 DVD titles. They are both self professed "geeks", being huge fans of sci-fi films like Star Wars and also of director Peter Jackson and his "Lord of the Rings" films. Additionally, Shenole often will perform for charity events to help raise awareness about certain issues. In addition to years of support for organizations like the NAACP and the National Council of Negro Women, Shenole has also donated his time to do performances for The Marcie Mazzola Foundation, which is an organization with a mission to, "help better the lives of abused and at-risk children; and to build community awareness regarding the needs of children". Shenole also give a lot of himself to family members. He recently had an aunt on his wife's side of the family run for a democratic seat in New Jersey's 2nd congressional district. Her name is Viola Thomas-Hughes. Though she lost to her republican opponent, Viola Thomas-Huhges miraculously managed to go from being a complete unknown in the field, to gaining nearly 40% of the vote from the voters in her congressional district. A feat that she credits to the website that Shenole designed for her, which boasted advanced features such as Flash animation and interactive surveys.

Shenole's DEBUT CD "FRONT and CENTER" Is available NOW!!


Tabitha DeGruy aka Poetic SunShyne, was born August 1, 1971 in New Orleans, Louisiana is a mother, spoken word artist, music lover and founder of CreoleGyrl Productionz. CreoleGyrl Productionz is the umbrella which holds under it two of the most popular Internet radio shows. Da Nawlinz Groove, which was conceived in 2004 with the hope of bringing REAL MUSIC back to the world. The show features and highlights Indie artists of various genres. The Second Show titled Rhyme Or Reason is a monthly segment featuring some of the greatest and newest spoken word artists hitting the scene today.

Poetic SunShyne also uses her entrepreneurial and artistic talents to help promote another very important cause, a relief fund for survivors of Hurricane Katrina. A survivor of the 2005 hurricane disaster herself, Poetic Sunshyne knows first hand the challenges to rebuild a life and your family from such destruction. With the help of 17 talented artists including a dynamic duo musical production team (DaWonda Twinz), Poetic Sunshyne has created, “Perfect Reality,” a Hurricane Katrina Benefit CD. “This CD was created out of love and commitment for those who were deeply affected by Katrina. 100% of the proceeds are being used to help surviving families get on their feet and hopefully mend some very deep and hurtful wounds,” Poetic Sunshyne explains.

She is founder of The Second Wind Club, which helps those less fortunate stand upon their own two feet by offering help of various levels. Having numerous goals and having achieved nearly half of them already you can rest assure you will be hearing many more wonderful things from this New Orleans bred entrepreneur.

July 05, 2008

"IN THE MIND" Celestial Dancer & Pat Martino

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. Coping with life through love, laughter, music and her passion for writing, she has found a way to combine the beautiful arts of poetry and music and invites the world to share the joyous blend.. 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 that provokes soul deep images of any given moment in time, ones that we all, or someone close to us, have experienced but often have been unwilling or unable to express. Just as in her first book, she remains true to her mission of sculpting life with words and painting feelings that touch souls. She continues to capture unspoken moments of love, laughter, mood and passion in poetic verse.

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.

Celestial Dancer has been featured several times on IndieFeed Radio, here on Spotlight on Jazz and Poetry, and in many cafes throughout Northern California. She hopes that on some level, at least one part of her poetry will touch the life of another and bring peace of understanding and comfort of kinship. Her life’s mantra is live simply, love generously, care deeply,
speak kindly, and leave the rest to God.

Pat Martino, born Pat Azzara in Philadelphia in 1944, was first exposed to jazz through his father, Carmen "Mickey" Azzara, who sang in local clubs and briefly studied guitar with Eddie Lang. He took Pat to all the city's hot-spots to hear and meet Wes Montgomery and other musical giants. "I have always admired my father and have wanted to impress him. As a result, it forced me to get serious with my creative powers."

He began playing guitar when he was twelve years old. and left school in tenth grade to devote himself to music. During Visits to his music teacher Dennis Sandole, Pat often ran into another gifted student, John Coltrane, who would treat the youngster to hot chocolate as they talked about music.

Besides first-hand encounters with `Trane and Montgomery, whose album Grooveyard had "an enormous influence" on Martino, he also cites Johnny Smith, a Stan Getz associate, as an early inspiration. "He seemed to me, as a child. to understand everything about music," Pat recalls.

Martino became actively involved with the , early rock scene in Philadelphia, alongside stars like Bobby Rydell, Chubby Checker and Bobby Darin. His first road gig was with jazz organist Charles Earland, a high school friend. His reputation soon spread among other jazz players, and he was recruited by bandleader Lloyd Price to play hits such as Stagger Lee on-stage with musicians like Slide Hampton and Red Holloway.

Martino moved to Harlem to immerse himself in the "soul jazz" played by Earland and others. Previously, he had "heard all of the white man's jazz. I never heard that other part of the culture," he remembers. The organ trio concept had a profound influence on Martino's rhythmic and harmonic approach. and he remained in the idiom as a sideman, gigging with Jack McDuff and Don Patterson. An icon before his eighteenth birthday, Pat was signed as a leader for Prestige Records when he was twenty. His seminal albums from this period include classics like Strings!, Desperado, El Hombre and Baiyina (The Clear Evidence), one of jazz's first successful ventures into psychedelia.

In 1976, Martino began experiencing the excruciating headaches which were eventually diagnosed as symptoms of his aneurysms. After his surgery and recovery, he resumed his career when he appeared in1987 in New York, a gig that was released on a CD with an appropriate name, The Return. He then took another hiatus when both of his parents became ill, and he didn't record again until 1994, when he recorded Interchange and then The Maker.

Today, Martino lives in Philadelphia again and continues to grow as a musician. As the New York Times recently noted, "Mr. Martino, is back and he is plotting new musical directions, adding more layers to his myth." His experiments with guitar synthesizers, begun during his rehabilitation, are taking him in the direction of orchestral arrangements and they promise groundbreaking possibilities. Musicians flock to his door for lessons, and he offers not only the benefits of his musical knowledge, but also the philosophical insights of a man who has faced and overcome enormous obstacles. "The guitar is of no great importance to me," he muses. "The people it brings to me are what matter. They are what I'm extremely grateful for, because they are alive. The guitar is just an apparatus."

Pat began playing professionally in 1961. He has performed with a wide variety of artists including Sonny Stitt, Gene Ammons, Richard Groove Holmes, John Handy, Bobby Hutcherson, Chick Corea, Jack McDuff, Don Patterson, Stanley Clark, Eric Kloss, Trudy Pitts, Willis Jackson, Lloyd Price, Woody Herman, Chuck Israels, Charles Earland, Barry Miles and Joe Pesci. Since 1967, Pat has been touring as a leader.

He has been a Recording Artist for Vanguard, Prestige, Warner Brothers, Muse, Columbia, King, Paddlewheel, Evidence, Sony, 32 Jazz, High Note, Milestone, Polydor, Concord, Fantasy, House of Blues, Mythos, Mainstream, Cobblestone, Atlantic and, most currently, Blue Note Records.

Pat has given Guitar and Music Therapy Seminars, Clinics and Master Classes throughout the world, at locations including North Texas State University, G.I.T., Berklee College (Boston and Perugia, Italy), Duquesne University, Teatro Rasi (Ravenna, Italy), LeCentre Culturel (D’Athis Mons, France), University of Washington School of Music, Skidmore College, Musicians Institute, National Guitar Workshop, New York University, Pennsylvania University, Stanford University, The University of Missouri, Roosevelt University (Chicago), Patti Summers Jazz Club (Seattle), Music Tech College (St. Paul), The New School (New York City), Southern Illinois University, The Conservatory of Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Cork Festival (Cork, Ireland), Washington University (St. Louis, MO), Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, Musictech College (St. Paul, MN), Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy at NYU (New York, NY), Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts (Hartford, CT), and the University of Maryland.

Pat is currently on the adjunct faculty at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA.

Since the mid 1990s, Pat has received the following awards:

1995 Mellon Jazz Festival / Dedicated in Honor
1996 Philadelphia Alliance "Walk of Fame Award"
1997 National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences "Songs from the Heart Award"
2002 Grammy nominations for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, "Live at Yoshi's", and Best Jazz Instrumental Solo on 'All Blues'
2002 National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences "2nd Annual Heroes Award"
2003 Grammy nominations for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, "Think Tank", and best Jazz Instrumental Solo on 'Africa'.
2004 Guitar Player of the Year, Downbeat Magazine's 2004 Reader's Poll

July 03, 2008


Pharoah Sanders was born October 13, 1940 in Little Rock, Arkansas, under the name of Farrell Sanders. He possesses one of the most distinctive tenor saxophone sounds in jazz. Harmonically rich and heavy with overtones, Sanders' sound can be as raw and abrasive as it is possible for a saxophonist to produce. Yet, Sanders is highly regarded to the point of reverence by a great many jazz fans. Although he made his name with expressionistic, nearly anarchic free jazz in John Coltrane's late ensembles of the mid-'60s, Sanders' later music is guided by more graceful concerns.

The hallmarks of Sanders' playing at that time were naked aggression and unrestrained passion. In the yearsafter Coltrane's death, however, Sanders explored other, somewhat gentler and perhaps more cerebral avenues -- without, it should be added, sacrificing any of the intensity that defined his work as an apprentice to Coltrane.

Pharoah Sanders (his given name, Ferrell Sanders) was born into a musical family. Sanders' first instrument was the clarinet, but he switched to tenor sax as a high school student, under the influence of his band director, Jimmy Cannon. Cannon also exposed Sanders to jazz for the first time. Sanders' early favorites included Harold Land, James Moody, Sonny Rollins, Charlie Parker, and John Coltrane. As a teenager, he played blues gigs for ten and 15 dollars a night around Little Rock, backing such blues greats as Bobby "Blue" Bland and Junior Parker. After high school, Sanders moved to Oakland, CA, where he lived with relatives. He attended Oakland Junior College, studying art and music. Known in the San Francisco Bay Area as "Little Rock," Sanders soon began playing bebop, rhythm & blues, and free jazz with many of the region's finest musicians, including fellow saxophonists Dewey Redman and Sonny Simmons, as well as pianist Ed Kelly and drummer Smiley Winters. In 1961, Sanders moved to New York, where he struggled. Unable to make a living with his music, Sanders took to pawning his horn, working non-musical jobs, and sometimes sleeping on the subway. During this period he played with a number of free jazz luminaries, including Sun Ra, Don Cherry, and Billy Higgins. Sanders formed his first group in 1963, with pianist John Hicks (with whom he would continue to play off-and-on into the '90s), bassist Wilbur Ware, and drummer Higgins. The group played an engagement at New York's Village Gate. A member of the audience was John Coltrane, who apparently liked what he heard. In late 1964, Coltrane asked Sanders to sit in with his band. By the next year, Sanders was playing regularly with the Coltrane group, although he was never made an official member of the band. Coltrane's ensembles with Sanders were some of the most controversial in the history of jazz. Their music, as represented by the group's recordings -- Om, Live at the Village Vanguard Again, and Live in Seattle among them -- represents a near total desertion of traditional jazz concepts, like swing and functional harmony, in favor of a teeming, irregularly structured, organic mixture of sound for sound's sake. Strength was a necessity in that band, and as Coltrane realized, Sanders had it in abundance.

Sanders made his first record as a leader in 1964 for the ESP label. After John Coltrane's death in 1967, Sanders worked briefly with his widow, Alice Coltrane. From the late '60s, he worked primarily as a leader of his own ensembles. From 1966-1971, Sanders released several albums on Impulse, including Tauhid (1966), Karma (1969), Black Unity (1971), and Thembi (1971). In the mid-'70s, Sanders recorded his most commercial effort, Love Will Find a Way (Arista, 1977); it turned out to be a brief detour. From the late '70s until 1987, he recorded for the small independent label Theresa. From 1987, Sanders recorded for the Evidence and Timeless labels. The former bought Theresa records in 1991 and subsequently re-released Sanders' output for that company. In 1995, Sanders made his first major-label album in many years, Message From Home (produced by Bill Laswell for Verve). The two followed that one up in 1999 with Save Our Children. In 2000, Sanders released Spirits -- a multi-ethnic live suite with Hamid Drake and Adam Rudolph. In the decades after his first recordings with Coltrane, Sanders developed into a more well-rounded artist, capable of playing convincingly in a variety of contexts, from free to mainstream. Some of his best work is his most accessible. As a mature artist, Sanders discovered a hard-edged lyricism that has served him well.

Kamal Imani was born Terrence Karlton Oats on September 17th, 1966 in Harlem NY . At the age of 3 after his parents divorced his mother moved to the Bronx , NY with his 2 younger sisters. He was recruited by the Junior Black Spades gang at the age of 7 and started witnessing situations that he didn’t desire or expect. He later moved to Teaneck NJ at the age of 9 with the assistance of his Grandmother Mrs. Mary C. Webb AKA “Sugarpie” and his Grandfather Henry C. Webb AKA “Pop” whom many would mistaken for Gladys Knight and Redd Foxx.
Watching his mother struggle working overtime for Ma Bell/AT&T and being a latch key kid, Kamal developed a sense of responsibility and protectiveness. He also developed a early sense of entrepreneurship and hustle. After school he would help ladies take their packages home for a few dollars.
One of his favorite quotes is “Everybody wants me to be what they want me to be, I’m not happy when I try to fake it” by Lionel Ritchie of the Commodores from the song “Easy like Sunday Morning”. This is due to Kamal’s many pressured influences. At 11 years old his grandmother worked for the NAACP and when asked by her and his aunt what he wanted to be when he grew up he said “either in communications, broadcasting or an astronomer” His grandmother said “you should want to be the first black president” which bothered him, but he remained determined to pursue communications and also developed a love for poetry and hip hop (his Grandmother gave him African American poetry anthologies to read).
His stepfather Shaka Zulu was and is a Harlem based Garveyite and was very strong with his instilling of his Pan African ideology. Kamal’s father was and is a Jehovah’s Witness and constantly attempted to pull him into that religion. His mother and grandmothers sides of the family went to both Baptist and Methodist churchs.

At the age of 16 Kamal’s 2 female cousins from the Bronx gave him the Autobiography of Malcolm X. His best friends taught him about the 5% Nation of Islam teachings and Kamal started hearing Minister Farrakhan on WWRL AM radio in NYC. This started him reading hundreds of books on spirituality, religion and African history. This is at a time when hip hop was new and on the rise and where Kamal use to write poems to please the young girls, now he was putting it to music.
He was invited to perform at high schools and house parties with his various hip hop crews. He later started promoting talent showcases at various Masonic lodges and making a good deal of money for a teenager. He learned a lot from those days and host several open mics to this day. He is also a radio host of the “Revolutionary Art Show” on Vocalized Ink Radio.

During hip hop’s Golden or Conscious age, Kamal was spitting fiery and conscious lyrics with a message. When he noticed the industry moving towards gangster music and he noticed that Russell Simmons was bringing a new wave of poetry back, he decided to let his message be heard through the poetry venue. In just 4 years he has emerged as a well known, loved and respected poet.

Kamal has been happily married for 12 years to his Bajan (From Barbados) wife and has a 2 year old son. His strong sense of responsibility for his family has caused him to approach the entertainment business with professionalism. He refuses to be viewed as anything but a top notch professional and rising star. He is a graduate of Teaneck High School , Bergen Community College , and Computer Career Training Center and is currently going for his Bachelors online via New York Institute of Technology with the goal of teaching in the inner city. Kamal is doing all of this while holding down a fulltime job at the Penguin Book Publishing Group where he is a Title Release Coordinator.

One of the open mics that Kamal host is at the Technology Resource/Khepera Center in Englewood NJ which houses the home offices and bases for infamous African historians Drs. Leonard and Rosalind Jeffries, Rev. Herbert and Dawn Daughtry, B.W.A.R.E (Black Women Against Racism Empowered) in which he is an advisor and lecturer for, African Medicine Women, Circle of Colors, African Drummers and Martial Arts Circle, The NOI Study Group and Mary K Cosmetics. He constantly participates with fundraising, marketing and networking efforts in his interactions with all of these groups.
He has poems such as “Lynch the N Word” which is primarily aimed at the youth and is being used by classes in the Paterson NJ school system as an educational tool. Also “You a Armchair Revolutionary” which encourages all of us to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. He helps keep the sister’s heads up with his dedication
“Ms. Melanin."