Amiri Baraka Memorial Jazz Profile: Sunday, January 12 at 2pm
Join us this Sunday, January 12 from 2-7pm as we pay tribute to the life and work of poet, activist, and music critic Amiri Baraka, who passed away on January 9 at the age of 79. Born Everett LeRoi Jones on October 7, 1934 in Newark, New Jersey, Baraka was one of the key black literary voices of his generation, and a leading expert in jazz music. In 1954, Baraka moved to Greenwich Village and worked in a warehouse for music records. It was here that he developed an interest in jazz and began to come into contact with Beat Generation, Black Mountain, and New York School poets. He later broke from the Beats and went on to become a pioneer of the Black Arts movement, continuing his passion for jazz in the context of black cultural nationalism. Amiri Baraka wrote a number of books and articles of jazz criticism, including Blues People: Negro Music in White America. He also worked with musicians, such as the New York Art Quartet, on the incorporation of spoken poetry into jazz music. Baraka served as Poet Laureate of New Jersey 2002-2003, received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts, and won a number of awards, including the Langston Hughs Award from the City College of New York, the Rockefeller Foundation Award for Drama, and an induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.