Saturday, June 30, 2012

Changing the Narrative

One of the things that needs to be discussed daily in the media is the issue of poverty in America.
Right now the focus is on the Middle Class. We also need to talk more about prison reform. What is happening behind the bars? I'm a strong advocate that President Obama should visit a few US prisons and sit down with inmates - discuss such topics as unemployment, education, family values and issues of race and culture.


Why haven't we seen this discussion and exchange of views?





 
Now on Moyers & Company
 
 
Confronting the Contradictions of America’s Past

Bill opens this weekend’s Moyers & Company with thoughts about the origins and lessons of Independence Day. We should remember, he says, that behind this July 4th holiday are human beings, like Thomas Jefferson, who were as flawed and conflicted as they were inspired, men who espoused great humanistic ideals while behaving with reprehensible racial discrimination.

No stranger to the contradictions of history and their racial touchpoints is Bill’s studio guest Khalil Muhammad. Head of The New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Muhammad discusses with Bill the importance of confronting the contradictions of America’s racial past.

WATCH NOW

 

 
Don't Miss...
Grid Map   Analyzing the SCOTUS Decision
Read some of the best analysis of this week's Supreme Court Affordable Care Act ruling.

   Messing With Texas Textbooks
A look at recent changes to Texas textbooks that reveal a clear conservative agenda.

   Climate Change: The Latest Inconvenient Truth
A new report serves as a reminder that denying climate change doesn't make it go away.

 
VIDEO ESSAY
How Citizen Power Can Save a Library
Bill addresses a public library funding crisis, calling attention to a controversial community effort in Michigan to save its own library.

MORE

 
 
Image Credit: Peter Krogh © 2012 Moyers Media. All rights reserved.
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THE PERMANENT FILES OF P.S. 39

When I was in the 5th grade
Ms. Fontana told Eric Graham
she was going to place a note
about his "acting out" in his permanent
file. Three years from retirement I wonder
what's in those files. Employment applications?
Job attendance records? Membership cards to radical
and secret organizations? Unpaid bills?
Test and Quiz papers with gold stars? Pornographic
doodles? Pictures taken at Coney Island in front
of Nathan's? Who is interested in all this knowing?
I think of pencil erasers, old bottles of white out
correction fluid. I think about locating the permanent
delete button. I want the past to vanish, to evaporate,
to turn to steam. I don't want to remember anything
but you Ms. Fontana. The first teacher I fell in love with.
The first woman to teach me the nightmares of memory.


 - E. Ethelbert Miller

THE STATE OF THINGS

Maryland Declares State of Emergency

Maryland has followed the lead of Virginia and the District by declaring a state of emergency to deal with the aftermath of Friday night's severe storms.

AFTER ONE STORM AND WAITING FOR THE NEXT

All across the city one can see the horror.  Trees down. Large limbs and branches piled near the curbs. I have a day's work tomorrow just dealing with my yard. See below:

TREE DOWN- BLACK MAN STANDING. Photo by Ethelbert


STARS AND FULL MOON

It was nice to join spend the afternoon with a group of poets today.  Thanks to Kim Roberts we gathered at the Corcoran Gallery of Art to read from the anthology FULL MOON ON K STREET.
I've been taking pictures of poets and artists thanks to my phone upgrade. Looking for shots that will be as memorable as a line of poetry. What follows is a tercet:

BRANDON D. JOHNSON. Photo by Ethelbert




CHRISTINA DAUB. Photo by Ethelbert


ALAN SPEARS. Photo by Ethelbert

POETRY TODAY

Saturday, June 30 at 2:00 pm
"The Poetics of Place": a reading from the anthology Full Moon on K Street: Poems About Washington, DC. Poets introduced by editor Kim Roberts and publisher stevenallenmay. Featured poets: Derrick Weston Brown, Christina Daub, Brandon Johnson, E. Ethelbert Miller, Yvette Neisser Moreno, Elizabeth Poliner, Myra Sklarew, and Alan Spears. Presented in conjunction with the opening of the exhibition, "Richard Diebenkorn: The Ocean Park Series"
Free admission to reading and to the museum. Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th St. NW, DC.



HOW WE CAME TO THIS DAY

            (for JC)

At the end of this day or even history,
we will return to hotel rooms.
The idea of home missing from our files.
There are ghosts who already know these things.
To be reckless is to be free from privacy and the future.
The last God invented man because he was tired of fiction.

-  E. Ethelbert Miller

Friday, June 29, 2012




You are cordially invited to a special preview of Lakes, Rivers and Seas,
New Works by Elana Gutmann at Perimeter Gallery.

Thursday, July 12, 2012
5-8pm

The Artist will be present

Perimeter Gallery
210 West Superior Street
Chicago, IL 60610

We look forward to seeing you there!

Please RSVP (312) 266.9473 




WORDS FROM MAYO

http://www.cmmayo.com/workshops/resources-MANUSCRIPT.html

C.M. MAYO

Larry Neal Sessions
 
Larry Neal Sessions gives listeners the opportunity to experience the literary works of some of the best writers in Washington, DC. The works are from the winners of the Larry Neal Writers' Competition - read by the authors or cast of actors. Each week, a new writer, a new performance, and a great new work.

All of the performances were recorded live in
the D.C. Commission on the Arts and
Humanities office.
Visit ART202.COM  for new performances each week.

Since 1981, the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities has recognized and celebrated the literary accomplishments of the District's resident writers though the Larry Neal Writer's Awards. The honor commemorates the artistic legacy and vision of cultural understanding of Larry Neal (1937-1981), a renowned author, academic and former DCCAH Executive Director.

INSTITUTE FOR POLICY STUDIES


John Cavanagh
Joy Zarembka

We are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2012 Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awards and to invite you to a ceremony to honor them on October 24 here in Washington. Please mark your calendars for a reception that night at 5:30 pm and the ceremony at 7 pm.
This year, our awards selection committee honored an outstanding movement and a bold 99% organization. They are:
- The Chilean Students Movement (ConfederaciĆ³n de Estudiantes Chilenos): For over a year, the Chilean students movement has turned that country upside down, demanding the right to free universal education. They have rallied hundreds of thousands into the streets and breathed life into that democracy. Let us know if you'd like one of the leaders to visit your campus in the week after the awards ceremony.
- City Life/Vida Urbana: This Boston-based bilingual community organization has fought for racial, social, and economic justice and gender equality for 28 years. In response to the devastating impact of the foreclosure crisis on communities in Boston, they launched the Post-Foreclosure Eviction Defense campaign to help keep people facing foreclosure in their homes. Victories won by hundreds of organized families are building public and political pressure, which in turn is driving legislative reform and sparking similar campaigns across the region.
We hope you can join us in Washington on October 24.
John Cavanagh, Director
Joy Zarembka, Associate Director

AFTER THE SUPREMES

So the Supreme court hands Obama a victory. Now watch how folks decide to just "ignore" the court ruling and make their own laws.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

THE MILLER CLASSIC

For the last seven years I've been sponsoring The Miller Classic softball game at the Bennington Writing Seminars. It's a gathering of literary all-stars. Poets against Fiction writers. Below is a note from Eli Burrell.



Hey Ethelbert and Allison, The game was a...
Eli Burrell 12:45pm Jun 28


The game was a blast. The poets came very close to breaking the losing streak. I'd hoped to get a win before my time at Bennington was over, but alas. I will say that the new crop of poets hold some athletic promise, though perhaps not enough to overcome the problematic prosers.

The Classic is/was one of my favorite things about residencies at Bennington.

Yours,
Eli
NEWS ALERT

Supreme Court upholds individual mandate


Justices say health care law's key provision requiring Americans to have insurance passes constitutional test.



THE SUPREMES RULE TODAY

WILL THERE BE A SPILL IN THE FUTURE? You Betcha!

Shell will begin drilling exploratory wells off the North Slope of Alaska as early as next month.
There goes the neighborhood.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

MISSING THE LIGHT IN OUR LIVES

ON JUNE 27, 1936 the LIGHT came to us.  Her name was Lucille Clifton.


  Inspirational Quote of the Day (Wed, 27 Jun 2012)
Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.
Muhammad Ali

HOODOO: WHO DAT?


http://afrosurrealsanfrancisco.tumblr.com/post/25119212153/the-united-states-of-hoodoo-a-film-by-oliver-hardt

The 7th MILLER CLASSIC SOFTBALL GAME AT BENNINGTON

BEAUTIFUL PLAYERS AND LITERARY ALL STARS
THE BENNINGTON WRITING SEMINARS


RETURNING TO BLOOM

This is such an important essay. Be sure to read it along with the Adrienne Rich introduction to The Best American Poetry 1996.
http://bostonreview.net/BR23.2/bloom.html

HAROLD BLOOM

I was looking for poetry that could rouse me from fatigue, stir me from grief, poetry that was redemptive in the sense of offering a kind of deliverance or rescue of the imagination, and poetry that awoke delight - lip-to-lip, spark-to-spark, pleasure in recognition, pleasure in strangeness.

    - Adrienne Rich

from The Best American Poetry 1996

FAREWELL TO MY BELOVED REBBE

Yesterday I had to put Rebbe to sleep. He was very ill and could no longer walk.


REBBE. Photo taken by Ethelbert



Saturday, June 30, 2:00 pm
"The Poetics of Place": A reading from the anthology, Full Moon on K Street: Poems About Washington, DC, hosted by editor Kim Roberts and Plan B Press publisher stevenallenmay, featuring Derrick Weston Brown, Christina Daub, Brandon Johnson, E. Ethelbert Miller, Yvette Neisser Moreno, Elizabeth Poliner, Myra Sklarew, and Alan Spears. Presented in conjunction with the opening of the exhibition, "Richard Diebenkorn: The Ocean Park Series."
Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th St. NW, DC. Free admission to reading and exhibit.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

THE DIANE REHM SHOW

http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2012-06-24/readers-review-awakening-kate- chopin-rebroadcast. Comments (0); Share. Sunday, June 24, 2012 - 2:06 p.m. ...
thedianerehmshow.org/.../2012.../readers-review-awakening-kate-chopin- rebroadcast

MANDELA, MANDELA



Celebrate Nelson Mandela’s 94th birthday in a program with Mandela’s biographer Charlene Smith and  Johnny Moloto, Deputy Chief of Mission at the South African Embassy.  The program starts at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, July 15, here at The Writer’s Center.  We’ll have a reception and book signing after the formal program.  Free admission.  For more information people can call 301-654-8664 or visit www.writer.or.g


An Erotic Politics: What's the Future of the LGBTQ Movement?
Laura Flanders, Truthout: "June is LGBT Pride month in the US and there has been a lot to celebrate. From marriage to the military, LGBT people have won acceptance, but that doesn't mean we've banished poverty, terror and shame. The unacceptable pervades our profit-mad society - and that's nothing of which to be proud. So, what's next for the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) movement? I asked longtime activist and organizer Amber Hollibaugh."
Read the Article


Politics and Prose Logo

Jaipur Literary Festival; Literary Ireland; Academic Travel Abroad

Jaipur Literary Festival - The Greatest Literary Festival on Earth

January 21-31, 2013



jaipur

Expanding on our list of book-related travel offerings to France and Ireland, Politics & Prose is pleased to announce a trip next January to India that will be centered around the Jaipur Literary Festival. Set on the grounds of the Hotel Diggi Palace, the festival is spectacular in its splendor, hospitality and intellectual stimulation. Now in its eighth year, it has grown from its humble inception with 15 authors into an international media event that this year drew 260 speakers and a crowd of over 120,000.
Join journalist and screenwriter Alexandra Viets on this unique journey to India that will include stops at a number of major tourist sites while also serving as a roving literary seminar. Along the way the P&P group will immerse itself in the riches of South Asian literature with informal conversations about art, film, and contemporary books, including Aravind Adiga’s Booker Prize-winning novel of modern New Delhi, The White Tiger, Rohinton Mistry’s classic epic, A Fine Balance, and other fiction and non-fiction selections. The trip will offer rare access to local journalists and writers and will include a private meeting with festival organizer and prize-winning author William Dalrymple.
The ten-day journey will begin January 21 flying to New Delhi, a vibrant, chaotic, glorious city that fuses the ancient and modern worlds. Here participants will explore the labyrinthine streets of both Old and New Delhi, visit mosques, monuments and forts, and shop at the lively and colorful bazaars. The visit will be enhanced by a guided walking tour with author, broadcaster, and longtime Indiophile Sam Miller, and will also include a picnic in Lodhi Gardens with Rama Lakshmi who has worked as the Washington Post correspondent in New Delhi for more than 20 years.
In Jaipur, there’ll be meetings with featured authors and ample opportunity to explore the stunning landscape of Jaipur itself, including the Amber Fort, City Palace, and small independent bookshops. Politics & Prose will be working with partners in Jaipur to help secure good seating at events and readings once the 2013 schedule is finalized. Past authors have included Vikram Seth, Tom Stoppard, Michael Ondaatje, JM Coetzee, Orhan Pamuk, Ian McEwan, and Roddy Doyle.
Click here for more information about this trip to Jaipur.
And for those of you eager to go somewhere sooner, remember there are still spaces available on P&P literary trips this October to Ireland and France. You can check out the itineraries and register at www.politicsandprosetravel.com.

Monday, June 25, 2012

AFTER THE STORM YOU CAN'T KEEP A GOOD FLOWER DOWN


ETHELBERT'S BACKYARD. Photo by Ethelbert

I WAS WAITING FOR YOU

KFAR MACCABIAH in ISRAEL. Photo by Ethelbert

Quote of the Day:

As drones have fast become the weapon of choice- 7.000 are already in use by the U.S. military, and 45 other countries are developing their own drone programs - the technology of warfare has vastly outpaced the laws governing its use.

 - Rebecca Burns, In These Times, July 2012.

NYERE NEWS


http://www.region19.org/article/374.php
Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Monday, June 25, 2012 -- 10:42 AM EDT
-----

Supreme Court Issues Rulings on Immigration, Campaign Finance and Juvenile 
Sentencing

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down provisions of Arizona’s immigration law; 
struck down a Montana law limiting corporate campaign spending, affirming the 
Citizens United case; and ruled that it is unconstitutional to sentence 
juveniles to life in prison without parole for murder.

THE DISAPPEARING FACE OF HISTORY




Yesterday The New York Times published the above picture with Natalie Hopkinson's article "Farewell to Chocolate City."  This photograph by Stephen Crowley is fascinating. The DC block is almost empty except for three figures. The black woman appears about to be erased. She doesn't even have a reflection like the two young white women. The black woman has cornrows and is wearing African garb. Is this a repeat of history?  Are we seeing colonialism again? The two white women are carrying bags. If they were male they would remind one of the many Mormon missionaries that are present around the city -moving in twos. These two women to some degree are missionaries and one can only imagine what is going to be coming after them. The new signs or pennants on the street resemble flags. It took me a moment to see if they were in English instead of Dutch or Portuguese.
Claim the land and remove the people. Notice the plot of land next to the white woman on the right.
Is a new tree about to be planted or is the old one gone? Your answer is waiting.

Oh, Nigeria...

Small news:
Keep an eye on Nigeria and the Boko Haram situation.
These Muslim and Christian conflicts come with disaster and a trapdoor to the Middle Ages.
How can people love God so much and have a problem with Man?
Faith should be a private matter. If you can't worship with kindness and love in your heart for others who are different then who are you kneeling down to?
Just the other day I was listening to music and someone was upset with what I was listening to.
Suddenly I felt so Nigerian.

PREPARE FOR THE NEW, PREPARE FOR THE UNKNOWN

There are a number of ideas, concepts and words that will change as we move "deeper" into the 21st Century.

Here is the shortlist:

-Home
-Privacy
-Work
-War
-Borders
-Democracy
-Assassination


Today is going to be another day of fiction.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

THE LITERARY DIVIDE?

Here is a study someone needs to undertake -

Collect interviews by well known contemporary authors (black and white) and take note of what they might be reading or who they claim as an influence on their work. What I'm certain one will find is that many white authors don't read too many black books, unless they know the author or the book was given to them as a gift. Is this true or did Ethelbert just make this up?


THE COMING LANGUAGE OF LAW

It all starts with language. You can't hide your politics behind words.  Let's take a word like brotherhood. When I was growing up I remember "National Brotherhood Week." I also remember organizations like the National Conference of Christians and Jews. One could talk about brotherhood and you knew it also included women. In 2012 with a word like sisterhood now part of our vocabulary, we become suspicious of anyone bringing people together and just talking about -the brothers.

Place the word Muslim in front of Brotherhood and we immediately have a PR problem. Let's not even talk about Egypt yet...

What happens when we use words together (Muslim, Brotherhood) in an atmosphere that is vocabulary fragile? How might the politics of language create its own bars and prisons? With a new government coming into view in Egypt all one has to do is monitor the visibility of women in leadership roles. If they are absent then the word "brotherhood" will simply have its old meaning.
For some, this will make everything right in the world. Women will be given a role in society that some man will insist was God's divine recommendation. Of course it will be a God that spoke to the man first...

In the future every woman might need a lawyer. Will God lose his privacy if we start taping his conversations?  What if God is a woman?
NEWS ALERT

Muslim Brotherhood candidate wins Egyptian presidential election, commission says


Egypt's electoral commission announces that the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate, Mohamed Morsi, won last weekend's presidential election.


Read more at:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/
STILL LIFE IN BLACK

outside the museums black
homeless men sleep on benches

black plastic bags their only
possessions

 - E. Ethelbert Miller

A NICE WAY TO COOL OFF...


TKPK Postcard Front Final.jpg
TKPK Screening Back Postcard.jpg

Saturday, June 23, 2012

ANOTHER BLACK MAN BEHIND BARS



Photo by Ethelbert


MILLER GOES MIRO

Photo by Ethelbert

Don't miss "The Ladder of Escape" exhibit of Miro's work at the National Gallery of Art (East Building). That's where I was this morning,being seduced by color and shapes. The ladder speaks to me. Rung after rung. Escape is either upwards or downwards. How many of us have no choice?

Photo by Ethelbert








Back at home yesterday's storm crushed the flowers in my backyard. After such "beautiful" why is there always destruction and loss?  Faith is often how we mourn.

Photo by Ethelbert

Tricycle Daily Dharma June 23, 2012

Creating Better Karma

Your thoughts, your words, and your deeds all create karma. And so through practice, you learn how to create better karma, and then everything about your life changes.
- Myokei Caine-Barrett, Shonin, "A Right to the Dharma"

Thursday, June 21, 2012

ME AND DAVID WILK

http://www.writerscast.com/e-ethelbert-miller-the-fifth-inning/

DAVID WILK

JOB FOR YOU?


Development Director
Institute for Policy Studies - Washington, DC
See original job posting at idealist.org »
The Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive multi-issue think tank in Washington, D.C., seeks a Development Director to join our committed team of experts and scholars working towards a more just and equitable society. In concert with the IPS Executive Director, the Development Director will design and implement a strategic funding plan to support the Institute's mission.

Responsibilities:
The Development Director will: 1) CREATE DEVELOPMENT SYSTEMS - Build a coherent and coordinated fundraising infrastructure, including durable systems for managing donor relations at all levels from small donors to foundations; - Ensure “internal coherence” of communications with the funding community handled by other staff and IPS consultants; - Work closely with the Executive Director to develop a methodology to increase the proportion of IPS resources provided by individuals both by deepening commitment of existing donors and pursuing new prospects systematically, such as: a) Build and maintain a portfolio of the Institute's 100 top prospects and oversee outreach to these prospects; b) Sustain a high volume of personal contacts with current and prospective donors; c) Maintain an up-to-date database of organizations and individuals that are potential sources of funding; d) Work with programmatic staff to ensure that each Institute project has a viable fundraising plan and adequate support and resources to carry out that plan. 2) COORDINATE AND IMPLEMENT DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES - Design, plan, coordinate, and oversee annual fundraising events and major donor events with assistance from other staff; - In concert with the IPS Communications Team, coordinate online fundraising strategies; - Create materials related to solicitations of top prospects; - Supervise one person, the Donor Stewardship Associate.

Requirements: - Minimum of a Bachelor’s degree and at least 5-7 years of successful experience in fundraising, preferably with individual giving in a progressive organization; - Highly organized, detail-oriented multi-tasker who likes to create efficient systems and has the ability to take initiative, work independently, and serve as a member of a team; - A demonstrated ability to work hands-on in developing and executing a variety of fundraising activities, with a proven track record of obtaining donations from major donors; - Strong management experience and the ability to mentor/guide other staff as they cultivate relationships and seek support from individual donors and foundations. Also a “people person” who is comfortable asking questions and being a “nudge”; - An excellent oral and written communicator; - Experience preparing budgets and financial reports for fundraising purposes; - Strong familiarity with the philanthropic community and with fundraising best practices, standards, and ethics; - Skilled with computer software and applications, including MS Excel, and donor database programs; - Strong connections with progressive movements and familiarity with core IPS issues and values.

Salary and Benefits:
Salary commensurate with experience and within organizational parameters.

Excellent benefits including generous vacation, 403(b) plan upon hire, fully paid dependent health insurance, fully paid life insurance, fully paid long-term disability, optional short-term disability, optional flexible spending plan, direct deposit and flex time. IPS is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer and encourages applications from people of color, women, differently-abled, LGBTQ, and other groups that have historically been subject to discrimination. Applicants are asked to fill out a confidential survey to assist in evaluating our applicant pool at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/IPSDevelopmentDirector .

idealist.org - 1 day ago - save job - block

EAR-UP! WITH JOHN PARKS






Lee Morgan’s Search For the New Land: Protest In Sheep’s Clothing

Dr. King’s last speech contained an ominous yet inspiring expression.“I may not get there with you, but I want you to know that we as a people will get to the promised land.” Everyone is searching for something. The migration of early man out of Africa included a search at least for survival. Human existence is tumultuous, trials and tribulations old folks say, and yet it can be enriching and fulfilling. The desire to get to that point is in part what the theme of Lee Morgan’s Search For The New Land speaks to. We are all searching for the new land because this one is either too worn out or overburdened with worry.  Christianity and Islam describe their search as the path to salvation while Buddhism suggests enlightenment through meditation and animists prefer perfecting the spiritual relationship between all living things and the universe.

This is a seminally important album from trumpeter Lee Morgan. It is as important an album as Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, but for different reasons. Kind of Blue represented a different approach to composition and arrangement as well as harmonic structure. In short it was purely innovative and boundlessly influential. Search… on the other hand is a protest album in sheep’s clothing, but it is also filled with extraordinary melodic and harmonic sensitivity. Recorded in the climax of the civil rights movement Morgan wrote all of the tunes around the time of the 1963 March on Washington. The title tune, Search For the New Land, was likely written in response to Dr. King’s I have a Dream speech and is suggestive of a timeless desire for the betterment of humanity. It’s message is especially poignant today because, quoting the title of a Bob Marley song there is “So Much Trouble In The World.”

Lee Morgan grew up in Philadelphia the child of a black middle class family who exhibited exceptional talent for music at an early age. He was, like pianist Herbie Hancock, a prodigy. Of course Morgan was influenced by Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles, but also by Fats Navarro and Clifford “Brownie” Brown. Morgan had always looked up to Brown and when the opportunity came to meet his idol Morgan was especially enamored because Brown took the time to engage the young trumpeter. They became best friends almost immediately. Sadly and ironically both men died tragic deaths that were uncharacteristic of the way they lived their lives. Brown died in horrific car accident in 1956. He was only 26. Morgan died in 1972 from a gunshot at close range on the bandstand in between sets at Slugs in New York’s East Village at the hand of his estranged girlfriend/common law wife, Helen More. He was 33. Morgan did have a heroin addiction that eroded his earnings and his relationship with his wife Kiko (Kiko left Morgan sometime before More came into his life). You can’t hear it in his music, but Morgan’s addiction had the best of him when he recorded Search For The New Land. Morgan, and the rest of the jazz world was devastated by the shock of Brownie’s death. Brown’s death may have had an influence on Morgan’s use of heroin, but more importantly Morgan’s style and approach to the phrasing of notes was heavily influenced by Brown’s trumpet style. Morgan’s sound is readily identifiable filled with emotional honesty and spiritually uplifting. His tenure with Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers always made for exhilarating performances. Blakey, sometimes described as a fire breathing drummer, can be heard on many recordings squealing “play your instrument” as Morgan’s notes sail through the air and enrapture the soul.

Search For The New Land is one of my favorite jazz albums. Its sound is incredible and somehow weakens the control I pretend to have over my emotions each time I listen to it. Its cathartic and healing. The title tune is arranged in six movements, unusual for a jazz tune which typically is arranged around a melody, a harmony or a grove set by the rhythm section. Here, Morgan simulates a symphonic structure, no doubt drawn from his musical training and innate technical proficiency. Morgan and Wayne Shorter play a melody counter to the harmonic ripple sound created by the collective playing of Grant Green’s guitar plucks, Herbie Hancock’s ivory tickling and Billy Higgns’ light press on the symbols and Reginald Workman’s bow humming out the lower harmonics on the bass. This creates a din, a wall of sound with its own harmonic rhythm, much like the multiple conversations in a crowd or a debate among and between people in an effort to resolve an important issue. Workman’s role on this tune is critically prominent. He is the gate keeper, interlocutor and navigator regulating the dialogue between the featured speakers, Morgan, Green Hancock & Shorter. At the bridges they all pause and wait for Workman who replaces the bow with his fingers, Da-dum, da-da, da-dum…, for a few bars, creating the space for the soloist, the speaker.

The remaining tunes are a tour de force of compositional execution and melodic coherency; just absolutely and stunningly beautiful. There are ‘talk ‘bout it’ moments throughout each tune. The Joker, Melancholee and Morgan the Pirate are as much biographical as they are metaphors for other things. Morgan was known to have a quick wit and a penchant for practical jokes which he often displayed when he was working in Dizzy’s band. But The joker is also a trickster who draws your attention away from what he is really doing. In this case Morgan’s use of groovy, finger popin’ music draws you in so that he can lay his message on you. Morgan the Pirate is similar to The Joker in meaning and feeling, but closer to the Robin Hood persona. Readers of EAR-UP! will be familiar with Melancholee. I’ve described it as speaking the language of the heart because it is an emotionally raw and empathic piece. Though seemingly sad I find it very comforting and reassuring. It had particular meaning to me years ago when my grandmother passed. Somehow it helped fortify me the day of her funeral.

Finally Mr. Kenyatta, so named for Jomo Kenyatta the first Prime Minister and President of Kenya although he was still Prime Minister when this album was recorded, is filled with triumphant exuberance. Kenyatta was an international symbol of African freedom, anti colonial and anti-apartheid protest. For a musician like Morgan the symbolism and importance of Kenyatta on the world stage coupled with the civil rights struggles of black people in the United States was vitally important. The melody of the tune even recites the syllables of his name; Jo-mo, Jo-mo Ken-yat-ta, Jo-mo, Jo-mo Ken-yat-ta, Jo-mo, Jo-mo Ken-yat-ta…

Mr. Kenyatta and the title tune, Search For The New Land are symbolic of Morgan’s political and social outlook. That is why this is protest album in sheep’s clothing. And though the time of apartheid and Jim Crow segregation have passed there is still “so much trouble in the world” that remains barely discernable as the sounds of war and hatred play ever louder their popular dissonant cacophonies. It is no coincidence that Herbie Hancock, designated the 2011 UNESCO Ambassador of Peace is featured on this album. Search For The New Land is an entree to the power of healing through music because The Ear is an Organ Made for Love. The ear speaks to the heart.

This EAR-UP! is dedicated to Me-K

Hear the tunes from Lee Morgan’s 1964 album Search For The New Land

Lee Morgan, trumpet
Wayne Shorter, tenor sax
Grant Greene, guitar
Herbie Hancock, piano
Reginald Workman, bass
Billy Higgins, drums

Search For The New Land
http://youtu.be/uPc36ydIZQI (the entire album)

The Joker

Mr. Kenyatta

Melancholee

Morgan The Pirate