Sunday 4 February 2018, 7.30pm
Echoing the free and politically engaged jazz and poetic experiments of the Black Arts Movement, Archie Shepp and Sun Ra, and bringing it fearlessly into the now. This is a night of innovative poetics and free jazz with a live band featuring saxophones, electronics, two bassists, and drums, with the band improvising and poets improvising around each other.
Curated by poet, novelist, musician and lecturer Anthony Joseph and featuring Jason Yarde, Rod Young, Neil Charles, Andrew John, Rachel Long, and Sid Bose.
Anthony Joseph / curator/poet
Jason Yarde / saxes, electronics, keys
Rod Young / drums
Neil Charles / upright bass
Andrew John / electric bass
Rachel Long / poetry
Sid Bose / poetry
Joshua Idehen / poetry
“afro-blue to astro-black and what glimmers in between” – The Times
“One of the most talented and engaging purveyors of the music right now” – Mojo.
Anthony Joseph is a poet, novelist, musician and lecturer described as ‘the leader of the black avant-garde in Britain’. His written work and performance occupies a space between surrealism, Jazz and the rhythms of Caribbean speech and music. He is the author of four poetry collections and a novel The African Origins of UFOs. In 2005 he was selected by the Arts Council of England and Renaissance One as one of 50 Black and Asian writers who have made major contributions to contemporary British literature. He has received an Arts Council of England touring award, and an AHRC postgraduate scholarship to complete his doctoral thesis; a ‘fictional biography’ of the legendary Trinidadian calypsonian Lord Kitchener. In January 2015 he presented Kitch a BBC4 documentary based on his research.
He holds a PhD in Creative and Life Writing from Goldsmiths College and lectures in creative writing at Birkbeck College, University of London.
As a musician he has released four critically acclaimed albums. His debut album Leggo de Lion (2007) featured lyrics taken from his novel The African Origins of UFOs. Bird Head Son followed in 2009, coinciding with the publication of his 3rd poetry collection. Rubber Orchestras was released in 2011, alongside a new collection of poems of the same title. A live album Live in Bremen appeared in 2013, and Time, produced by Meshell Ndegeocello, in 2014.
His 6th album, Caribbean Roots, was released in June 2016 on Strut/Heavenly Sweetness.
Saxophonist Jason Yarde has already been a veteran of the leader's bands for some two decades. He is himself one of the most sought-after musicians of his generation, and has been a member of groups led by Andrew Hill and Jack DeJohnette, amonst many others. He is also a renowned composer, having been widely commissioned (including by the London Symphony Orchestra).
Neil Charles is a bassist, electronic producer and composer. He regularly performs, records and tours with numerous jazz, classical and contemporary music bands and ensembles like alex Hawkins, mingus big band, has played with Terence Blanchard, black top and is a member of the electro-acoustic jazz trio, Zed-U.
Rachel Long was born in London in 1988. Her poems have featured in magazines and anthologies including Magma, Butcher’s Dog, PAIN and The London Magazine. She was awarded a Jerwood/Arvon Mentorship in 2015, and was the winner of The Poetry School’s inaugural Paterson Poetry Competition 2016. She is Assistant Tutor to Jacob Sam-La Rose on the Barbican Young Poets programme, and is the leader of Octavia – Poetry Collective for Women of Colour, housed at Southbank Centre.
Octavia have featured on BBC World Service, performed at Women of the World and The London Literature Festival, and have run poetry workshops at Oxford University and for The Serpentine Galleries.
Inspired by Octavia, Rachel has curated ‘Telling Her Story’, an open workshop series for women of colour, hosted and in partnership with Southbank Centre.
Siddhartha Bose is a poet, playwright, academic and theatre-maker based in Hackney, London. He was born in India and spent seven years in the US. Siddhartha is the author of two poetry collections from Penned in the Margins, and has written and performed three works for theatre: Kalagora (2010), London's Perverted Children (2012) and The Shroud (2014).