Stompin' at the Grand Terrace: A Jazz Memoir in Verse

Thursday / March 4, 2010 / 6:30 p.m.
David Friend Recital Hall
921 Boylston Street
United States
Carolyn Wilkins

Award-winning Minnesota poet Phil Bryant visits Berklee to read from his new book, Stompin' at the Grand Terrace: A Jazz Memoir in Verse, accompanied by Carolyn Wilkins, Berklee professor of ensembles. In this stunning collection, Bryant revisits his boyhood home on Chicago's South Side to capture the sights and sounds of postwar America as seen and heard through the eyes and ears of Bryant's father, James, and his longtime accomplice Preston—hard-working, blue-collar steelworkers whose lives and loves revolve around jazz.

Bryant's poems take us inside the life of these two old friends, who spend their Saturday afternoons listening to—and arguing about—music performed by a cavalcade of jazz upstarts and stars. This tribute to family and art honors the abiding affection the men have for their pastime and each other, despite the frustrations and limitations of ghetto life.

Jazz pianist and vocalist Carolyn Wilkins is a professor of ensembles at Berklee. She has been an active participant in the Boston music scene for over 20 years as a performer, educator, and composer. Her experience includes radio and television appearances with her group SpiritJazz, a concert tour of South America as a jazz ambassador for the State Department, and performing with the Pittsburgh Symphony under Andre Previn and in shows featuring Melba Moore, Nancy Wilson, and the Fifth Dimension. Wilkins has performed in numerous Boston-area venues and been featured four times as a part of Boston's annual First Night celebration.