Swung Series Narrows the Generation Gap

Detroit, MI June 29, 2006 — Award winning Jazz trumpeter, Maurice Brown and his Quartet, featuring Johnathan Batiste (piano), Ivan Taylor (bass), and Andre Wright (drums) will join local Spoken Word artist, Sparrow O’Neal, to kick-off the Spoken and Swung Music Series at the SereNegti Galleries, located at 2757 Grand River Avenue in Detroit, Michigan on July 26, 2006. The performance is scheduled from 8 – 10 p.m. Admission is $10 for advance purchase and $12 at the door. Free valet parking is available. For further information, please contact Mocha Muse Entertainment Group (313.657.2750). For advance ticket purchase please contact Concepts Entertainment (313.622.6172) or purchase online at www.virtcomnetworks.com .

Like clockwork, at some point in passing the torch between generations, somebody turns up the propane. The exchange usually singes the older generation and ignites the younger. The inevitable bottom line is distaste for the other’s choices. The incumbents bemoan lost values while the incoming ridicule the incredible lameness of everything before. This includes fashion, hairstyles, politics, and of course – entertainment. Seldom do these two worlds find common ground as joyously and harmoniously as they do with Spoken & Swung.

Spoken Word, the oral art form popularized by icons like The Beats and The Last Poets in the 1960s re-emerged in the late eighties. Newcomers captured public attention with poetry slam competitions and tours. Wide-spread appeal for contemporary audiences was ratified by the success of media outlets like Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam and MTV Unplugged. Music and Spoken Word have had an easy and natural marriage for several generations. The kick-off event for the Spoken and Swung series pairs Def Poetry Jam finalist, Sparrow O’Neal with world-class Jazz from a new generation in the form of the Maurice Brown Quartet. It’s sound for sore ears of all ages. This first event in the Spoken and Swung series is partially sponsored by the Jazz Network Foundation. The Jazz Network Foundation, a 501(c) 3 organization, provides showcase opportunities for musicians, training for youth, and international cultural exchange. It strives to advance and preserve Jazz and other multi-cultural arts through public presentation. Founder, Bill Foster, is a staunch advocate of the arts and readily lent his support in housing the initial production. The ongoing event, to be presented quarterly, will pair additional musical artists and poets. Heralded by Chicago Tribune critic Howard Reich, Maurice Brown was praised as “a virtuoso trumpeter, versatile composer and supremely confident bandleader”. Termed a “trumpet wunderkind” by the Jazz Society of Oregon, Brown is drawing attention world-wide. Jason Koransky, Editor of DownBeat Magazine, said, “Brown is one of the most exciting young trumpeters in jazz–be it New Orleans or New York. His improvisations are fresh, his chops dynamic and he’s writing what could very well become a new generation of hard-bop-meets-new-grooves standards." In reference to Brown’s first album, John Murph, of BETJazz.com said, "‘Hip to Bop’ sublimely integrates the intricate improvisational burn of bebop with the pulsating rhythms of hip hop and R&B." As a sideman, Maurice Brown has recorded with Curtis Fuller, Fred Anderson, Young Bleed, Roy Hargrove, Michelle Carr, George Freeman, and Ernest Dawkins’ New Horizons. He is also set to star in a Jersey Style Films, Inc. release, The House of Malik, starring Hollywood veteran Clifton Powell.

Poet, writer, actor, director and Native Detroiter, Sparrow O’Neal, has accumulating a fiercely loyal and admiring following on Detroit’s poetry scene. A fixture since the Café Mahogany days, he now presides over the standing room only poetry night at Magnolia’s on Thursdays weekly. Many who have been following him since his early shows in 1997 can recite portions of his one man shows; Love Is, Evolution of Love, Hear my Cry, and It’s Time to Get Serious by heart. SpokenWord caught his soul when he heard the Last Poets at age fifteen. Performance opportunities at Fisk University foreshadowed a lifetime of activism centered on messages of self-awareness, self-determination and self-love. He has written, directed and produced a documentary, Images, featuring childhood inspirations, Umar Bin Hassan and Abiodun Oyewole of the Last Poets. In 2002, O’Neal was selected as the Detroit host for the touring Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam, where he also placed as a finalist. Available recordings include his latest, Musions. Media Contact: Brenda Bradley, 313.657.2750, bradleyb@virtcomnetworks.com