Spotlight on Jazz and Poetry

On April 23, I will return to the CPicturelarion Philadelphia Airport Hotel for the Spotlight on Jazz and Poetry live show – Inspired Distinctions. Clary Corley Sr. is the mastermind behind this wonderful series based on his monthly podcast series that can be found here.  I’m a member of the house band together with Philly musicians Kimpedro Rodriguez, Jason Fraticelli, Nasir Dickerson, and Shenole Latimer. Our job is to introduce the jazz portion of the night with a handful of selections that represent the voices of the current music scene and dig deep into jazz traditions – here is a bit from last year’s musical portion. Often a regional vocal star will join us – this year it is vocalist/ TV and film producer Barbara Montgomery. Barbara has worked as producer, supervisor, lighting designer and more for major TV shows and movies during her years at NBC. She has also toured the world and recorded six CDs with her arrangements and originals. Find out more about Barbara here.

For the poetry portion, we usually have several poets join us and we’ll create an interactive piece together, finding the right mood and harmonies that underscore the meaning and expression of the words. This is the unique part of the program that takes the audience on a journey that can’t be experienced anywhere else. The process of improvising together, listening and reacting and the collaborative empathy creates a community that comes together towards the same goal – expressing what makes humanity special through the arts. I love those moments when the whole room is pulsing together and everyone is along for this special journey.

Let me introduce this year’s poets – and if you’re anywhere close to Philadelphia, follow this link and make your reservations today.


Marie LyriQ Grady

LyriQMarie Grady, affectionately known in the entertainment world as LyriQ, is an author, songwriter/vocalist, and spoken word performer.   With about 15 years performing experience under her belt, LyriQ still considers herself a babe in the industry, for she strives daily to reinvent herself and to take her craft to the next level.
To LyriQ’s acclaim are three self-published books of poetry to include, “My Piece Be With You” ,“Eye of Thee…Behold Her”,  “Indelible: Scriptures from a Poetic Soul”, and a romance novel entitled, “Tomorrow Promises…”  Here recent feature on Spotlight on Jazz and Poetry can be heard here
Sara Graybeal was raised on a vegetable and cattle farm near Pittsboro, North Carolina.  Now she is a writer, teaching artist, and spoken word performer living in  Philadelphia.  Sara is a member of the Backyard Writers Fiction Workshop, and is  the founder of the Poeticians, a group of young activist poets based in the  neighborhood of Point Breeze, Philadelphia.  She also coaches and mentors the  ArtWell youth slam poetry team, which competes seasonally in the Philly Youth  Poetry Movement’s slam league.  She was the 2014 recipient of the Jan-Ai  scholarship award for fiction, and in 2013 she received a College Board Award for  the Teaching of Writing, allowing for the chapbook publication of original poetry  written by her students at YouthBuild Charter School.
Tyree Evans is a prolific poet and orator hailing from Philadelphia, Pa. Through his poetry and lectures he paints pictures of Urban America that media does not publicize. Depicting images of history, current events, media, and popular culture through words is a gift that he has presented to the world. With poems like “Occupy All Streets”, “In the Fast Life” and “X trained Minds” he has pushed for a better standard of living for all people. Through his lectures he presents his audience with a vivid picture of how to uplift one another with programs like “Are You Being Educated or Trained” “The Epidemic That Destroyed Kings” and “To Die for The People”. Tyree has founded a non-profit organization “The B.E.L Project” that caters to youth in inner city neighborhoods that promotes education, self image, and leadership. With a fearless attitude Tyree has challenged the plutocracy mindset of America to erase the memories of greed and build the values of great character back. Here is a taste.
How did I get involved in this project? Several years ago I recorded a collaboration with then Indiana poet laureate Norbert Krapf, celebrating words and music based on Indiana themes. The recording also includes a poem about the Hampton Sisters narrated and performed by David Baker himself on the CD recording. This specific track also ended up on the bonus CD accompanying the book “David Baker – A Legacy in Music”. Clay Corley found the disc and invited us for a feature show. We became great friends and the rest as they say is history. My trip to Philly will include many stops on the way up and back in WV, Washington, Charlottesville, Lexington, and Cincinnatti – more on that in the upcoming tour blog.  See you on April 23 at Inspired Distinctions!