Jazzopetry was most definitely a labor of love. Despite some pretty hard odds, we always managed to have a great time and enjoy some fantastic poetry, dance and music! I have personally learned a lot from this and I can only hope that others got as much out of it as I did. After all, that was part of the mission. I put together this Unofficial Demo of select excerpts from various Jazzopetry events. Each track was choosen because it exemplifies, in one way or another, the mission of Jazzopetry.
Fields of Stars was choosen because it was written by a women who has inspired me. She has a way about her that transcends words, a gentleness rarely seen and a capacity to tell great stories. This poem honors her father and celebrates his life by describing life with him.
Lyrics to Unrecorded Songs was choosen because it exemplifies the improvisatory aspect of Jazzopetry. Mr. Beeney's style is very spontaneous and energetic and he also has some great things to say. However, it is his sense of abstraction that definitely inspired me to look at my world in a different way.
Exodus Well, what can I say. This is a heavy piece. I chose it because it encompasses the diveristy of Jazzopetry. Exodus spans religious, racial and historical contexts, and is also a call to action
Dedication When you meet Dr. Neal it is hard to believe that it is the same guy that you are hearing. A very mild-mannered man, Dr. Neal delivers his words as if he really wanted to be a preacher. This piece is here because it represents the political side of Jazzopetry. Being the Chair of the Political Science Department at Buffalo State College, Dr. Neal offers a well educated opinion about the reality of our current domestic and foreign political situation.
Not Just Another Jazz Poem offers much the same mesage as Dedication, but from a much different point of view. Ms. Williamson holds a degree in law from SUNY Buffalo. That combined with her multi-ethinc background, life experieces and the fact she is a women, brings yet another level of diversity to Jazzopetry.
Melanin Man comes from a women who really I look up to (no really, she is taller than me!). She's like a big sister. I love her positive energy too. I choose this track because it represents professionalism and cooperation. Ms. rhodes was very excited about being featured at Jazzopetry and wanted to have a more organized set. Her and I got together a number of times and came up with some basic ideas for the music that she wanted. Those ideas were not shared with the rest of the band until the night of the performance in order to keep the "Jazz" alive.
A Moment of Silence is here because it is a 9/11 poem. Having been in NYC on 9/11, I experienced first-hand the reality of what happened that day. This poem tells us that simply taking a moment of silence to honor the dead is not going to be enough in this particular situation.
Trickle Down Theory - part 1 is a down to earth story of the reality of our global economic situation. This sheds light on something that a lot of people, particularly Americans, take for granted. How many people ask where what they are buying came from? Do we understand or care about the impact our consumption has on ourselves and the rest of the world? Have we literally sold ourselves out for convienience and cheap labor? How willing are we to change?
Can Ya Dig It? expresses a need for personal change. To me, this represents the internal struggle that we all experience. The urge to change parts of ourselves that we think should be better. This deals with finding the motivation to make that happen amidst all the chaos. This also represents a more urban side of Jazzopetry.
Like Miles is some great Jazz poetry. I like this piece, despite its very poor recording quality, because it expresses the admiration and respect held for the late great. Mr. Ward's style and delivery are reminiscent of the Harlem Renaissance and creates a rich atmopshere.
All of these pieces have something in common. They exemplify the need for all of us to make a difference. To stop and think about how we live our lives, to examine, scrutinize and possibly re-align our priorities. Maybe for us to even make some sacrifices to achieve true greatness and to do what is right. Virtually every other species on this planet lives in harmony with its surrounding environment. Why do we continue to make war and to pollute our planet, being fully aware of the consequences but being so bent on a profit that we just do not care? Have we become so complacent? Where do we find the motivation to make these changes? I am not here to say that I have the answers to any of these questions, but that I am here to find them. I think it is important and I choose to make it a priority in my life.
- Clif Jackson, July 2005