August 31, 2010

The Evans Family

Todd C.C Evans better known in the poetry world as "The Son Of Black" was born in Philadelphia, PA, March 8, 1965 to the late Playwright Donald T. Evans and the late singer Frances J. Evans. The Son of Black refers to his father being a Black History Professor and mother instilling Black pride into her children. Todd was introduced to the arts through his parents and Godfather, the late Ken McClain.

In his youth, Todd has won a writing contest with Ebony Magazine. Much of Todd’s work reflects on music and the ups and downs of urban street life and modern day situations. He has co-written two songs with his brother, jazz musician, Orrin M. Evans, on the Imani Record Label. His work has also been heard on Eadon’s Place.Com. Todd has been a finalist in several on-line poetry contests and his new book, Staggerlee Booker T. and Me, will be out on FavorTwoU, Inc. Publications,
Todd resides in southern New Jersey with his wife and two children. He has also cared for three foster children.

Born into a family of artistic educators,Rachel Marianno spent most of her younger years surrounded by theater and music. Her father was a playwright and taught African-American history at Trenton State College and her mother was an accomplished Mezzo-Soprano while serving as the Assistant Director for the after school program at the YWCA in Trenton, New Jersey.

This energy created a desire in her to perform. Rachel has studied dance, piano, creative writing and drama. She attended Mercer County High School for the Performing Arts where she nurtured her talent while acting and dancing in a variety of shows and showcases. While in high school Rachel performed in "Good News Charlie Brown," "The Wiz" and also had the opportunity to perform some of her original monologues and poems.

After graduation Rachel attended Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts majoring in Elementary Education. Still, there was a need to perform so she put her voice to work as a Gospel DJ on a local radio station.

In 1991 Rachel graduated with honors from Northeastern and started her tenure in the Philadelphia Public School System while also attending Cheney University to attain her Masters.

As an educator Rachel will continue to make a difference in children throughout the Philadelphia area. As a performer, Rachel has performed at Freedon Theater, The Don Evans Black Box Theater, the Karamu Theater and many other venues. She continues to travel and read original poetry and those of great writers that came before her.

Orrin Evans was born in Trenton, New Jersey in 1976 and raised in Philadelphia, Pa. He attended Rutgers University, and following this studied with Kenny Barron. Since moving to New York in the winter of 1995 Orrin Evans has been recognized as one of the most distinctive and inventive pianist of his generation. In a short span of time Orrin has earned the titles of pianist, composer, bandleader, teacher, producer and arranger.

Growing up in a musical city like Philadelphia was extremely important to early development of Orrin’s career. Philadelphia afforded Orrin the opportunity to study informally with the likes of Trudy Pitts, Shirley Scott, Mickey Roker, Bobby Durham, Edgar Bateman, Sid Simmons, and formally with William Whitaker, Jack Carr, and Charles Pettaway. In 1993, after attending Girard Academic Music Program, Orrin was accepted into the Mason Gross School of The Arts at Rutgers University. While attending Mason Gross some of his teachers included Kenny Barron, Joanne Brackeen, Ralph Bowen, & Ted Dunbar. They instilled in him the importance of the fundamentals of jazz as well as the necessity of listening to and living the music.

After moving to New York in August of 1996 Orrin was invited to join Bobby Watson’s band “Horizon” on their European tour. This opportunity introduced Orrin to the New York jazz scene. His recording and performing resume includes Wallace Roney, Mos Def, Common, Pharoah Sanders, Antonio Hart, Carmen Lundy, Ralph Peterson, Ralph Bowen, The Mingus Big Band, Roy Hargrove, Nicolas Payton, Brandford Marsalis, Gary Bartz, Eddie Henderson, Sean Jones, Tim Warfield, Ravi Coltrane, Robin Eubanks, Duane Eubanks, and Dave Douglas.

Orrin’s recording career started in 1994 with a self-produced trio release called “The Trio” featuring Matthew Parrish on bass and Byron Landham on drums. The release can now be found on the Imani Record label under the title “Déjà Vu”. In 1996 he was introduced to Gerry Teekins from Criss Cross records. This relationship afforded Orrin the opportunity to release six critically acclaimed recordings for the Criss Cross label. During a hiatus from Criss Cross Orrin released recordings for the Palmetto record label and his own label Imani Records. In 2002 Orrin combined forces with drummer Donald Edwards, vocalist JD Walter, saxophonist Ralph Bowen, and his wife vocalist Dawn Warren to form the band Luvpark. The band recorded the critically acclaimed self titled album “Luvpark” and is presently working on the release of their sophomore recording.

The New York Times described the pianist as “...a poised artist with an impressive template of ideas at his command”, a quality that has undoubtedly assisted in keeping Orrin at the forefront of the music scene.

Evans spent 3 years as a teacher at the coveted Germantown Friends School where he taught middle school music and conducted three jazz ensembles. He returned to Settlement Music School to teach individual piano lessons, theory lessons and an advanced jazz ensemble. He continues to be a musical commentator, conducting workshops, clinics and master classes both in the United States and abroad, while continuing to record and tour with his own bands.

The newest Orrin Evans disc, “Live in Jackson, Mississippi”, on the Imani Records label is available at retailers or on I-Tunes.

Lately Orrin’s greatest joy has been producing projects for other artists like Sean Jones and playing with his own band, which at different times, has included such notables as Ralph Peterson, Jr., Sam Newsome, Ralph Bowen, Nasheet Waits, Reid Anderson, Eric Revis, JD Allen and Duane Eubanks.

August 18, 2010


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.

To visit Oni Lasana's website CLICK HERE

August 03, 2010


O scar Peterson was born August 15, 1925 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. His parents were immigrants from the British West Indies and Virgin Islands. His father, Daniel Peterson, was boatswain on a merchant ship when he met Olivia John in Montreal, where she worked as a cook and housekeeper for an English family. Daniel gave up the sailing work and began working as a porter for the Canadian Pacific Railway. He and Olivia married and stayed in Montreal as their family grew.

Oscar was the fourth of five children. Their father insisted that they all learn a musical instrument, and Oscar began to study the trumpet. A childhood bout of tuberculosis forced a fortuitous switch to the piano, under the tutelage of his father and his older sister, Daisy. It soon became apparent that Oscar’s talent surpassed the capabilities of home teaching, and he was sent first to teacher Lou Hooper and then to the gifted Hungarian classical pianist, Paul deMarky. A warm and respectful musical friendship developed between the two, and with Mr. deMarky’s guidance Oscar’s mastery of the instrument grew, along with his dedication to and command of his talent.

The performance career of Oscar Peterson began while he was still a young teenager in high school, as pianist with the Johnny Holmes Orchestra in Montreal. After a few years with the Orchestra, he formed his own trio, the first in a format he maintained throughout his lifelong career. With the trio, he quickly gained fame and popularity throughout Canada. His appearances at the Alberta Lounge in Montreal were broadcast live on the radio. In 1949 impresario Norman Granz heard one of those broadcasts, went to the Alberta Lounge and enticed Mr. Peterson into making a surprise guest appearance with Granz’ all-star “Jazz at the Philharmonic” at Carnegie Hall later that year. Leaving the audience awestruck, Oscar joined JATP in 1950 as a full-time touring member. He formed a piano-bass duo with Ray Brown as well, and began recording for Granz at the same time. He also added Barney Kessel as the first of the guitarists with whom he would create trios, returning to the group format he loved.

He was voted Jazz Pianist of the Year in 1950 by the Downbeat Readers’ Poll, a title he garnered for an additional twelve years. He toured the globe extensively with Jazz at the Philharmonic as well as with his own trio.

During the busy touring years in the early 1960s he founded a jazz school in Toronto called the Advanced School of Contemporary Music. This attracted students from all over the world. For a few months each year he and his trio, along with Phil Nimmons, a clarinetist from Toronto, would conduct classes at the school. The demands of his touring schedule forced closure of the school after a few years, but students still fondly recall their experiences there.

Oscar Peterson began composing while still a member of the Johnny Holmes Orchestra, and as time progressed he devoted more and more time to composition, while still maintaining a vigorous performance schedule. His “Hymn To Freedom” became one of the crusade songs of the Civil Rights Movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the United States. It is still performed frequently by choirs worldwide. He also composed a salute to his beloved Canada, “The Canadiana Suite,” in the early 1960s. He has composed music for motion pictures, including the Canadian film “Big North,” made for Ontario Place in Toronto, and the feature film “The Silent Partner,” for which he won the Genie Award (Canadian Oscar award) for best original film score in 1978. He composed work for the National Film Board of Canada. His collaboration with filmmaker Norman McLaren on the film “Begone Dull Care” won awards all over the world. He composed the soundtrack for the film “Fields of Endless Day,” about U.S. slaves using the Underground Railroad to escape to Canada. Other compositional projects include a jazz ballet, a suite called “Africa,” and the Easter Suite, commissioned by the BBC in London and broadcast live on Good Friday in 1984, with annual broadcasts after that. “A Salute to Bach” for the composer’s 300th birthday, premiered with trio and orchestra at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall in 1985. He composed a suite for the Olympic Arts Festival of the Calgary Winter Olympics in 1988, and music for the opening ceremony of the Skydome in Toronto. In addition, Oscar Peterson composed more than 400 other pieces, many of which he performed and others continue to perform. Some of these compositions remain unpublished, but hopefully they will be published for future generations to hear.

Oscar Peterson has an extensive discography of his trio and quartet recordings, as well as his recordings with many of the other jazz greats. His varied albums include recordings with Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Eldridge, Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins and Joe Pass. His worldwide performances and his recordings, particularly those with his trios and quartets, brought him recognition from numerous places all around the world.

Mr. Peterson also made many television appearances during his lifetime. He hosted five different talk show series, and Oscar’s widespread appeal led to his interviewing a variety of guests. The unusual range of personalities to appear on these programs included the former Prime Minister of England, the Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Heath, Twiggy, Anthony Burgess as well as many musicians. He also appeared in television commercials “Tears Are Not Enough,” a musical fundraiser for African famine relief.

Preferring not to use his celebrity status to sway public opinions, Mr. Peterson nevertheless remained dedicated to the belief that his native Canada has a responsibility in leading the world in equality and justice. With this in mind, he took a firm stand to promote the cause of human rights fair treatment for Canada’s multicultural community. In recognition of this effort, Mr. Peterson was promoted to Companion of the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest civilian honor. He had been inducted as an Officer of the Order in 1972.

During his life and career Mr. Peterson received many awards and honors. These include the Praemium Imperiale (the Arts equivalent of the Nobel Prize, presented by the Japan Art Association), the UNESCO International Music Prize, 8 Grammy Awards (including a Lifetime Achievement Grammy), the 1993 Glenn Gould Prize, of which he was the third recipient, the first chosen by unanimous decision and the first ever non-classical musician, and many honorary degrees.

Despite a stroke in 1993 that debilitated his left hand, Oscar Peterson was determined to continue performing, recording and composing. Within a year he had recovered and resumed his worldwide concert appearance schedule.

Oscar Peterson lived in the quiet city of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. His hobbies included fishing, photography and astronomy. He was an avid audiophile and synthesist, as music was not only his profession but also his hobby. His home contained his own private recording studio, allowing him to work and still enjoy his family life. His passion for life, love and music remained strong for his entire life, and he continued to perform until shortly before his death. Oscar Peterson crossed over at his home on the morning of December 23, 2007. His legacy lives on through his music.

To visit Oscar Peterson's website CLICK HERE

Just Bill aka William S. Peters, Sr. is the Proud Single Father of 11 children and 7 Grandchildren.

He has been writing for over 40 years, expressing his thoughts on matters of the Heart, Spirit, Consciousness and Humanity. His primary focus is that of Love, Peace and Understanding! Due to his own personal circumstances that “Life’s Travels” has presented to him such as the Crossing Over of his Beloved Wife, Virisa on 2 July 2006, he says he found himself deeply immersed in an abysmal place filled with convoluting voices of Love, Light, Darkness, Despair and Understanding. These Voices transmuted to feelings and thus to insights and thus to the expressive words you will find all over the internet.

Bill is not only a Writer / Poet, but he is also a Public Speaker, Empowerment Work Shop Leader, Consultant, Activist, Video Producer, Spoken Word and Recording Artist and so much more. He also is the Director of Inner Child Enterprises as well as the Director of Publicity for Society Hill Music. Bill is involved in well over 80 Social and Writing Sites to include My Space, FaceBook, Inner Child, Adelle Conexxions, Humanity Healing, it’s a Beautiful World, Black Preaching Network, etc., and many, many more. He has accumulated several thousands of Readers and Friends from all over the Globe. Bill was recently featured in Big The Magazine, which incidentally he won the esteemed “Person of the Year Award” for the Year 2009 – 2010. He has been featured on countless Sites for his Insightful Spiritual Loving touch found in the words of his Expressions in Poetry, Story and Analogy. He has published 13 book, his latest offering a Poetic Collection “the light in the window’, which incidentally is available for purchase at his Web Site.

He also has his own Social Community His Publicist, Adelle Banks Wilson of Adelle Conexxions ( ) has nothing to say but good things about Bill and his wonderfully empowering Spiritual Work. Bill is truly a blessing to anyone that is so graced to know him !

In December 2009 and January 2010, his divine work was featured in the highly Humanitarian Oriented Magazine : Humanity Healing’s “Om Times” which also has a World Wide Distribution. Bill additionally writes monthly for “Signature Women Today Magazine” and We Are Creative People, the Magazine. He also works avidly in his Church Community / Family as a Steward and Director of the Audio / Visual Ministry.

Bill additionally offers himself to others for Inspiration, Healing and Counseling. He has supported and inspired many Writers and Poets to further their course with their own expressions. He owns his own Publishing Company : Inner Child Press

Inner Child Press.
P.O. Box 420
Waterford Works New Jersey 08089

Bill says . . .
I have always likened Life to that of a Garden. So, for me, Life is simply about the Seeds we Sow and Nourish. All things we “Think and Do”, will “Be” Cause and eventually manifest itself to being an “Effect” within our own personal “Existences” and “Experiences” . . . whether it be Fruit, Flowers, Weeds or Barren Landscapes! Bill highly regards the Fruits of his Labor and wishes that everyone would thus you go on to plant “Lovely” Seeds on “Good Ground” in their own Gardens of Life !
The Inner Garden

To Visit William Peters' website CLICK HERE