P O E T R Y I N C O M M O N
& THE GREEN LINE
CAFÉ POETRY SERIES
POETRY + MUSIC
DICK LOURIE, Poet, Saxophonist
BOBBY ZANKEL, Saxophonist
SEKAI ‘afua ZANKEL, Poet
& LEONARD GONTAREK, Poet
Hosted By JEN ANOLIK
Tuesday, June 19, 2018, 7 P/M.
THE GREEN LINE CAFE IS LOCATED
AT 45TH & LOCUST STREETS
(Please note the address, there are
other Green Line Café locations.)
This Event Is Free
Writing in the Boston Phoenix, ASCAP Deems Taylor, award winning author Norman Weinstein
declared that ”Bobby Zankel deserves any Talent Deserving Wider Recognition Award that the
jazz press might offer”. In reviewing the CD “Emerging from the Earth, ”Jazz Times wrote, “He’s
headed to the status of a prime jazz innovator “. But who is Bobby Zankel and where has he
The Brooklyn born composer/alto saxophonist first began attracting national attention
around 1971, while a student at the University of Wisconsin as a member of the legendary jazz
master, MacArthur Fellow Cecil Taylor’s “Unit Core Ensemble”. Zankel was combining his
performing and research with Taylor with saxophone studies with the renown Fred Hemke and
working with master drummer George Brown’s quartet that featured organist Melvin Rhyne. His
“underground” reputation grew on the New York “Loft Scene” (73-75), where he performed with
the likes of Sunny Murray, William Parker, and Ray Anderson. He continued his apprenticeship
with Taylor working in his large group which at times included Jimmy Lyons , Hannibal, David S.
Ware, and Andrew Cyrille. In 1975, Zankel moved to Philadelphia to raise his family and to
expand his artistic vision without heed to commercialism or the trends of the times.
Since arriving in Philadelphia his performances as a sideman have ranged widely from the
Hank Mobley Quintet ,Sunny Murray Group, Jymie Merritt’s Forerunners, the Dells, NRBQ,
Odean Pope’s Saxophone Choir, Tyrone Brown’s Group, and Mogauwane Mahoele (who he
toured South Africa with). He has continued into the 21st century to work in different ensembles
lead by Cecil Taylor in Europe and New York. Zankel has recorded as a sideman with Fred Ho,
Odean Pope,Tyrone Brown and his string ensemble,, and Ruth Naomi Floyd(alongside with
Gary Thomas, Terri Lynn Carrington, and James Wideman....).
Zankel’s ten years of intensive study of tonality with the legendary master teacher, Dennis
Sandole (students include John Coltrane, Pat Martino, and James Moody among others) have
been a big part in his development into one of the most brilliant and original composers of our
time. Zankel’s compositions are characterized by a stunning blend of rhythmic layers, a highly
personal complex chromatic harmonic language, and a hauntingly beautiful melodic lyricism His
alto playing has been called “a unique amalgam of the rhythm and intricacy of bebop, with the
soul and drive of hardbop, and the spirituality, creativity and intensity of the avant garde.”
Zankel’s tenure in Philadelphia has been marked by a series of acclaimed collaborations with
choreographers, visual artists, writers, He has received commissions from Network for New
Music, Relache , Meet the Composer, the Kimmel Center, Jazz Bridge , and 2 Pew supported
dance projects . In 1995 he was awarded the prestigious PEW FELLOWSHIP. In 2001 he
organized Warriors of the Wonderful Sound Inc an organization dedicated to promoting new jazz
and the big band with the same name. The Warrior big band has developed a world wide
reputations for its collaborations with Muhal Richard Abams, Steve Coleman, Rudresh
Mahaanthaapa, Dave Liebman Don Byron, Oliver Lake, Steve Lehman, and Marty Ehrlich.The
seven CDs he has recorded as a leader have received outstanding reviews and featured such
magnificent musicians as Johnny Coles, Odean Pope, Uri Caine, Ralph Peterrson Jr., Marilyn
Crispell, Dave Burrell, John Blake, Sumi Tonooka, and William Parker
Sekai’afua Zankel, (s’az)
Actor, writer and poet,
a Buddhist, born on the first day of spring, Sekai was destined to be an artist-activist, a
force for good. She began acting at Philadelphia’s Freedom Theater in 1972, mentored by
the late John E Allen Jr. Sekai started writing and performing poetry and what she calls, a
human revolution for the stage using music and dance. One reviewer called her an
“Extraordinary performance poet,” Sekai defines “Performance Poetry“ as poetry that is
“visceral and active”.
Her first book “Behind These Eyes /Optical Poems” was published in Philadelphia in 2007.
Sekai won the Frank Moore Poetry Prize 2008. She received a Leeway Foundation Art and
Change Grant in 2010 to present her poetry play, “Miss Pearl’s Spirit: In the Mysteries of
Mirrors" presented at the Hawthorne Cultural Center and the CEC. She performed as poet
and writer, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, in “A Brighter Coming Day” for Harper’s 100th
anniversary celebration at Moonstone Arts Center and several other presentations and
performances at, The African American Historical Museum and Mother Bethel AME
Church. In addition, Sekai has performed in Winston- Salem North Carolina at The Black
Theatre Festival Poetry Slam where she won as second place winner. She was a visiting poet
at Virginia State University Poet Artist program. Her poems have been published In the
CAP literary magazine, “Poetry Ink” Anthologies, and in “Apiary”, 7 Power Issue. Sekai
lives with her husband, musician Bobby Zankel in University City.
Leonard Gontarek is the author of six books of poems, including, Take Your Hand
Out of My Pocket, Shiva (2016), and He Looked Beyond My Faults and Saw My
Needs (2013), both published by Hanging Loose Press. His poems have appeared
in American Poetry Review, Poet Lore, Verse, Blackbird, The Awl, Spinning Jenny,
Verse Daily, Exquisite Corpse, The Best American Poetry, among others.
He has presented 1000 poetry readings, political readings, and events in the
Philadelphia area, featuring Patti Smith, Pink, Nas and Busta Rhymes, among others.
Since 2006 he has conducted 1000 poetry workshops in venues including,
The Moonstone Arts Center, Musehouse, The Kelly Writers House,
University City Arts League, Free Library of Philadelphia, Philadelphia
Arts in Education Partnership, and a weekly workshop from his
home in West Philadelphia. He has been Mad Poet-in-Residence since 2008.
He coordinates Poetry In Common, Peace/Works, Philly Poetry Day,
The Philadelphia Poetry Festival, and hosts The Green Line
Reading & Interview Series. Gontarek has received Poetry fellowships from the
Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Philadelphia Writers Conference Community Service Award, and was a Literary Death Match Champion. His poem, 37 Photos
From The Bridge, was a Poetry winner for the Big Bridges MotionPoems project
and the basis for the award-winning film by Lori Ersolmaz sponsored by the
Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis: http://movingpoems.com/poet/
He is Poetry Consultant for the Whitman at 200: Art And Democracy project.
Dick Lourie’s poems have been published widely for 50 years. Denise Levertov wrote that his poetry “ . . . has never failed to give me a keen sense of his integrity and individuality. [H]is voice . . . speaks with a unique nd convincing eloquence.”
Since 1997, as both poet and blues saxophone player, he has been visiting the Mississippi Delta city of Clarksdale. His most recent collection, If the Delta Was the Sea, explores the city’s blues music, history, and diversity of cultures. National Book Award winner Ha Jin calls it “a rich and spacious book” and “a genuine delight.” Poet Martín Espada notes the work’s “irony, humor, and honest insight. . . . [Lourie] fully understands the burdens and blessings of history, and knows that there is much to celebrate in the spirit of the survivors.” In an accompanying CD, he transforms the spoken word into conversations between the poet, his sax, and a blues band .
As a musician, he performed for fifteen years with internationally known bluesman Big Jack Johnson, who observed that “his sax playing adds a complete and satisfying taste to the band . . . ”
A veteran of small press publishing, he is a co-founder and still co-editor of Hanging Loose Press—with over 200 titles to its credit, mostly individual collections of poems—and Hanging Loose magazine, now celebrating, with issue #109, fifty-one years of continuous publication.