Jazz Poetry Month: Off Minor Jazz "Nat King Cole, the Pianist" ft. Poets mónica teresa ortiz, Grace Shuyi Liew, Mansur Rajih, & Sara BorjasWednesday, September 16, 2020 @ 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Streamed on City of Asylum’s Virtual Channel. (run-time 75 minutes)
Singer and composer Nat “King” Cole is undoubtedly one of America’s most identifiable and beloved musicians. His silken voice helped jazz gain wider popularity. But Cole was also an elegant keyboard player whose innovative groups popularized the jazz piano trio. Additionally, he was an influential figure in the struggle for racial equality—he was the first Black American to have his own television show. It only lasted one season, as he could not secure a sponsor. This concert will highlight Cole’s early trio and explore his piano music.
The Off Minor Jazz Series is a season of thematic jazz programs that focus on legendary musicians or specific techniques. These concerts offer musicians the opportunity to experiment and innovate in a format rarely heard in traditional jazz clubs. They also feature an educational component and further connect audiences, artists, and jazz history. In signature Off-Minor style, in this concert, drummer/curator Tom Wendtwill tell us more about Cole’s history with the racial justice movement.
Musicians: Dwayne Dolphin (bass); Tom Wendt (drums); Deanna Witkowski on piano.
This is the first time Off Minor jazz has synced with the Jazz Poetry festival. The musicians, live from the Alphabet City stage, will participate in virtual collaborations with poets mónica teresa ortiz, Mansur Rajih (ICORN writer-in-residence from Iran), Sara Borjas, and Grace Shuyi Liew.
mónica teresa ortiz is the author of autobiography of a semiromantic anarchist (Host Publications, 2019), winner of the inaugural Host Publication chapbook prize, and muted blood (Black Radish Books, 2018). She lives in Austin, Texas.
Grace Shuyi Liewis the author of Careen (Noemi Press, 2019), named Electric Literature’s “14 Unmissable Poetry Books of 2019” and Entropy Magazine’s “Best Poetry Books of 2019.” Born and raised in Malaysia, Grace thinks closely of migration, loss, sexuality, violence, and nation states. Her work has appeared in West Branch, Black Warrior Review, Kenyon Review, cream city review, PANK, The Wanderer, and elsewhere. Honors include the Lucille Clifton Poetry Fellowship from Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Associate Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts with US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo. She holds a BA in Philosophy from Hamilton College, and MFA in Creative Writing from Northern Arizona University. She is a Contributing Editor for Waxwing.
Sara Borjas is a Xicanx pocha, is from the americas before it was stolen and its people were colonized, and is a Fresno poet. Say their names. Her debut collection of poetry, Heart Like a Window, Mouth Like a Cliff was published by Noemi Press in 2019. Tony McDade. Sara was named one of Poets & Writers 2019 Debut Poets, is a 2017 CantoMundo Fellow, and the recipient of the 2014 Blue Mesa Poetry Prize. Ahmaud Arbery. Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells. Her work can be found in Ploughshares, The Rumpus, Poem-a-Day by The Academy of American Poets, and The Offing, amongst others. Sandra Bland. She teaches at UC Riverside, believes that all black lives matter and will resist white supremacy until Black liberation is realized, lives in Los Angeles, and stays rooted in Fresno. Justice for Breona Taylor and George Floyd and the countless others. Abolish the police. Find her @saraborhaz or at www.saraborjas.com. Say their names.
Mansur Rajih is a renowned revolutionary poet and political activist from Yemen. Rajih has written and published numerous poetry collections, novels, and essays and his life has been the subject of several short films. Some of his published work include: Text Memorial to the Unknown Victim; Outside of Prison, inside of Body; Life Conditional; and From There. He was Stavanger City of Refuge’s guest writer from 1998 to 2001.