Friday, February 5, 2010

Jazz Note # 1: Aurora n In The Tradition Jazz Band's New Cd; Track 9 Yurugu

I received a call from Olujimi. During our conversation, he informed me that jazz trumpeter Clark Terry won a Grammy the other night. Therefore, I will begin today's notes by saying, "Congratulations Clark Terry!" More about the great news can be found at

Clark Terry is the uncle of trumpeter Charles Hopkins, who is a member of the In The Tradition Jazz Band and appears on the new CD, "The Tradition Continues!" (I appear on Track 9 as the Spoken Word Artist who wrote and performed the poem "Yurugu" as a co-composer with Olujimi Tafataona).

Olujimi also informed me a few minutes ago, that he spoke with a DJ in New Orleans at WWOZ 90.7 FM and the cd "The Tradition Continues" is getting airplay. The cd has been sent to over 50 radio stations in the U.S.A and abroad. Many of them are college or independent radio stations. I'm really happy to hear that folks around the world have a chance to listen to the latest jazz release from a Detroit band!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Morning Coffee With Michigan Senator Martha Scott: Arts, Politics and Int'l Trade

This is an example of how Civic Literacy can assist you.

On February 1, 2010, at 8:00 a.m. I drove to a McDonald's restaurant on the east side of Detroit to meet with collegues and Senator Martha Scott regarding the availability of state funding for non profit arts and education programs, and, assistance, training and resources for small businesses that want to do international trade.

I shared with Senator Scott and her assistants that my collegues and I were active role models and mentors who are interested in teaching Detroit's youth how to become educated leaders. I also shared that I interviewed the United States Ambassador to the African Union, Amina Salum Ali when she visited Detroit during Africa Week last year and that she encouraged small businesses and educators to work with and in African countries. I stated to that I was aware that Governor Granholm encouraged larger businesses in Michigan, such as those connected to the auto or technology industries, to engage in foreign trade and positive business relations. I asked,"What kind of assistance or resources does the State of MI have for small businesses?"

Senator Scott informed us that the State of Michigan has made several financial cuts and we were directed to the MEDC to get more information. The MEDC is the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. At the local level, regarding afterschool programming, we were asked to call Robert Bobb, who is currently working with Detroit's school district.

To give an example of what kind of cuts The State of Michigan made concerning Arts, Libraries and History, please see the following link from MLive's Grand Rapids news:

After the meeting with Senator Scott, an Asian woman introduced herself to me and said that she listened to me talk about international trade. She told me that she was a professor from Eastern Michigan University in the College of Business and that she and her husband worked with a delegation of educators that went to China. I Informed the professor that I graduated from EMU last year. She suggested that I contact student groups on campus to familiarize myself with exchange students' experiences and knowledge of their countries.
Senator Scott's aid gave me a directory of all of Michigan's legislators and suggested that we also contact representatives that work for Wayne County.

It is nice to know that Senator Scott takes the time to meet with the community. I learned that she has been having "Coffee with The Senator" meetings for about five years. It's a great way to discuss concerns, gain ideas, suggestions and network with those from and outside the City of Detroit.

Senator Scott meets every Monday from 8:30 am - 9:30 am as follows:
1st Monday of the month: McDonalds on Gratiot and 7 mile.
2nd Monday: Mainstreet Restaurant on Jos Campau in Hamtramck
3rd Monday: Caribou Coffee House on Main St in Royal Oak
4th Monday: McDonalds on Woodward in Highland Park

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Report On The Jan. 23rd Caribeat Event from Sharetta and Nigel

> Report on Jazz Caribeat Gala:
> On Jan 23rd 2010 the "Global Jazz Award" was presented to the family of Harold Mc Kinney and Dr. Teddy Harris for their life time service to People, Community, Nation and the World. The International Institute located at 111 E. Kirby Detroit was the site for the event. Time 5:00pm - 10:00pm. Guest Speaker was Mr. James Tatum from the James Tatum Art Foundation, who spoke on "Global Rhythm Harmony".
> People that matters in the community included Congressman John Conyers Jr, Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood 111, Mr. Bill Foster, Mr. Charles Small (President of Don Bosco Hall) and Michael Julian (MC) from WDET FM Radio station.  Sponsor for the Global Jazz Award was Don Bosco Hall, awarded by Nigel John from Grenada.
>  The purpose of the Show is to use Jazz on a platform to bring about Global Unity to the World. The idea was conceived in 1997 by international acclaimed Steel drummer Nigel John and World renowned Jazz Master Harold Mc Kinney, who taught that by establishing ties with people of the African Diaspora can achieved this goal.
>  "Sister's With Soul Circle - Sista circle" a women's organization paid tribute to recognized Nigel John Art/Music, a mentor of Harold Mc Kinney and Dr. Teddy Harris. Other purpose of the show was to established a continue education scholarship fund for Mr. John return to College to study Web Master Building, Computer Graphic Design, Animation and Video Games Concentration.
>  In 1987 Nigel John were an International Jazz exchange student from Grenada to Detroit, in that same year he worn the Youth Jazz exchange competition at Hurt Plaza and recognition from the City of Detroit MI, Spirit of Detroit Award in leadership and dedication to improving the of life.  
> The formal Jazz Caribeat Gala event included some of Detroit's best Jazz and Reggae performers. The Global Jazz Assembly highlighted the afternoon with rhythms and sounds from across the World. The band included Don Mayberry on bass, Richard Willis on keyboards, Grey Patrick and Gayelynn Mc Kinney on drums, Alfred Sields and Craig Hucklebee on congas, Nigel John on Steel Drums, Armand Jackson, Cheryl Warren and Michele Mc Kinney as vocalist. Other bands which performed were the Mariachi Mexican band, Gratitude Steel Band, Roots Vibration, Lorenzo Rhodes with his band included vocalist Cheri and Lagwynna Scott. Guest Artist- poetry Aurora E. Harris.     
> Thank you for allowing me to send you this report.
> Sincerely,
> Sharetta Wellons
> Nigel John.
> Coordinators