Charles Curtis Blackwell, jazz poet, painter, and playwright, was born in San Francisco in 1950. His lifelong love for jazz and blues has helped him overcome the obstacle of near-blindness. He is published both nationally and internationally in a variety of magazines and publications including The New York Times, appeared on PBS television, and has been the recipient of many local awards. Blackwell is the author of The Fiery Response to Love’s Callings, Is, the Color of Mississippi Mud, If a Pigeon Can’t Fly, Blind Alley Cats Dream Jazz and his new album release, Catch the First Thing Smokin’. His captivating performance reinvents the intriguing sound of jazz into transcendent poetry.
Vincent Kobelt has written poetry for the page, the stage, and the mic. His early work explored the murals of the Mission where he grew up, the music of jazz, the milk weed that cracks concrete, the beauty of the earth, and a cry for justice. For some time now he has been experimenting with poetry that lends itself to musical accompaniment. He has taught creative writing and California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA or Inner Spark) and has written numerous chapbooks: Peppers from my Tongue, Volumes 1 and 2, Textures of Pregnancy, The Way Light Ripples on Water, and Pinch of Salt. Recently he has collaborated with poet Charles Curtis Blackwell and musician Brian Kendricks on their poetry album, Catch the First Thing Smokin’.
The All-Star Revue includes:
Russell Brown as a musician plays acoustic and electric guitar, electric bass, and piano. Born in St. Louis educated in California, music became a part of his life when he began playing drums in elementary school (4th grade, age 8). In middle school (7th grade, age 11) he started playing trombone, which he played throughout high school. Inspired by the sound of the electric guitar, Russell started teaching himself how to play at 13 years old. Today, the passion and inspiration that fueled that young man still burns bright.
Sandra Poindexter’s musical experience expands from classical to jazz, Cuban, mariachi, and flamenco. She is a former member of alto sax player John Handy’s group, John Handy with Class. Some highlights over the last 15 years include The Village Vanguard in New York; The 1989 Monterey Jazz Festival; Oakland Paramount (Black Filmmaker Awards honoring Dizzy Gillespie); San Francisco, San Mateo, San Jose, Russian River Jazz Festivals; and touring extensively throughout Japan.
Poindexter is currently a member of Orquesta La Moderna Tradicion. This group has performed for over 10 years, playing engagements such as the Summer Festival at Lincoln Center in New York; John Ford Theater in Los Angeles; San Jose and San Francisco Jazz Festivals; Stern Grove; the Smithsonian Institute in D.C.; Yoshi’s San Franciso/Oakland and La Peña in Berkeley. Sandra is currently also a member of Avotcja and Modupue as well as Idris Ackamoor and the Pyramids, with whom she toured Germany, England, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland.
Celebrating the Beats is a free event, and is happening at the Top of the Mark at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel
999 California Street (at Mason Street)
San Francisco, CA 94108
MUNI 1 California