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Jazzopetry is dedicated to bringing different people and cultures together and to showcase the talents of local poets and musicians. The views and opinions expressed at Jazzopetry are not necessarily those of Jazzopetry or the venues that host Jazzopetry.

Jazzopetry is the result of many years of activity in the poetic and theatrical communities by Erica Williamson and the musical, poetic, and theatrical communities by Clif Jackson. The main impetus for the creation of Jazzopetry was their mutual participation in Wordism (an open-mic poetry jam that ran for 2-3 years and also incorporated live music into performances). With the ending of Wordism, there were no longer events of that nature happening in Buffalo, so Mr. Jackson and Ms. Williamson decided to come up with their own.

They worked together to come up with a format for presenting their vision and felt that by combining their backgrounds they could create not just poetry with music behind it, but poetry with improvised music behind it! This is where "Jazzopetry" comes from, the fusion of Jazz ideals and concepts (such as collective improvisation, interactivity) with that of poetic ones (such as form, flow, the art of Hip-Hop).

Jazzopetry introduces collective improvisation by challenging people to come up to the mic and free-style, or use their existing works in an improvisational way, while the band also improvises music. This is what it is all about! The idea is for everyone to listen to each other and for the music to represent, or not, the nature of the poem. It can be the decision of the reader, the band, or both as to a theme or groove.

As time went by, we also began incorporating martial-arts inspired dance and poetry. In this case, musicians would usually improvise music to the dancers and there would sometimes be poetry happening as well. This seemed to be one of the many high points of Jazzopetry, exemplifying the interdisciplinary vision of Jazzopetry.

The larger goal of Jazzopetry is to develop the following areas:

  • Showcasing the talents of local poets, hip-hop artists, musicians and up and coming groups
  • Sometimes featuring a national or international artist/group
  • Bringing different and new people together
  • Creating work for local artists
  • Connecting resources in new ways
  • The cultural and educational aspects of being open to new people, music and ideas in a safe, constructive, and positive environment

Because our events have drawn such a diverse audience from the very beginning, quite a variety of people from as far away as England and Spain and as close as Buffalo and Oswego, NY have be able to join us! Jazzopetry provides an outlet for people to express themselves and to have some fun! Jazzopetry is an open-mic forum where all are welcome to share their thoughts. We do emphasize professionalism, but have never turned anyone away from the mic. Musical accompaniment is optional (but strongly encouraged). If the reader is not comfortable/does not want musical accompaniment, it is o.k. Just let us know.

After numerous events since August 2001, Jazzopetry has enjoyed the talents of some of fine poets, emcee's and musicians! We hope to see and hear you at our next event!

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