Congratulations Blind Beggar Press and Barbara Killens Rivera on a great book launch and celebration! January 8th brought together a standing room only audience of family, friends and colleagues, to celebrate Jazz In Jail, the visionary work of Louis Reyes Rivera. The event venue was Sistas’ Place. Sistas’ Place is a welcoming and comfortable space known for its educational and cultural events and gracious staff. A great place for artists and community residents to gather. The celebration started with opening remarks and a warm welcome by Blind Beggar Press, co-founder and publisher Gary Johnston who was the co-emcee with yours truly Lorraine Currelley, Executive Director for Poets Network & Exchange. Excerpts from Jazz In Jail were read by prominent poets, all long time friends and colleagues of Louis Reyes Rivera. The first group of poets to read were Jose Angel Figueroa, Tongue of the Vile & Convention’s Call, E.J. Antonio, The Womb of Night & Concerto for Sonny Carson, Americo Casiano, When Word Got Out & A Sextet Wailing and Gha’il Rhodes Benjamin, Visiting Jail & Jazz Free Now.
A musical interlude proceeded the second set featuring trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah, who was joined on stage by the Jazzoets. The Jazzoets were phenomenal and jammed with some of the poet readers, throughout the event. They were met with resounding applause, shouts of approval and some attendees arose from their seats to dance.
It was an honor to emcee for the second set. After greeting celebrants and giving honor to Barbara and Louis Rivera the second set of readers were introduced. Poet readers were Jacqueline Johnson, Witness: Mother G Flat Blues & Sultry Blue, Layding Kaliba, Musicians on the Run & Rap Swing, Jesus Papoleto Melendez, Beneath the Maze & En Viejo San Juan, Atiba Wilson, That Haunt of Freedom & Concert for the Yard, and Baba Ngoma Hill, The Voice of Jazz & Witness: The Expert. All agreed Louis Reyes Rivera was in the room, pleased and enjoying the unique interpretations of his poems. Barbara Killens Rivera, came to the stage to give closing remarks. She shared her gratitude, reflections, and thoughts. She was later joined on stage by her family, poet readers, the Jazzoets, Gary Johnston and yours truly. We will remember this sacred gathering as a time for reflection, the sharing of memories, love and joy.
What people are saying about Jazz In Jail.
Thanks, to poet readers, Jazzoets, family, friends and all those who came out to celebrate Louis Reyes Rivera, “Jazz In Jail. Thanks to Carolyn Butts, Editor African Voices Magazine for sharing the event with your readers and subscribers. Thanks, to everyone who purchased books, books were sold out. Thanks, Edward Currelley for covering the event for The Currelley Literary Journal and Blog.
Photo Credits Edward Currelley and Lorraine Currelley.
©Lorraine Currelley 2017. All Rights Reserved.