The Jazz & Poetry Choir Collective had its inaugural performance May, 2011 at the Cornelia Street Cafe in Greenwich Village. This current group of musicians and poets comes together to share original pieces and pay homage to those who have worked with poetry and jazz improvisation. Jazz & Poetry Choir Collective members bring experience, narrative and playfulness to the concert stage, taking the art of spoken word fused with jazz to a new level.

E.J. Antonio received fellowships in Poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Hurston/Wright Foundation, and the Cave Canem Foundation.  She’s appeared as a featured reader and performer at venues in the NY tri-state area, including Why Not Jazz Room; Arts Westchester; The Stone; the Hobart Festival of Women Writers, The Vision Festival, and Langston Hughes House.  Her work has been published in various journals, magazines, and anthologies, including: the Encyclopedia Project, African Voices Literary Magazine, Black Renaissance Noire, The Mom Egg, Killens Review of Arts & Letters, Taint Taint Taint Magazine, About Place Journal, and the arriving at a shoreline anthology.  E.J. is the author of two chapbooks, Every Child Knows (Premier Poets Chapbook Series 2007) and Solstice (Red Glass Books, 2013), and a solo jazzoetry cd Rituals in the marrow: Recipe for a jam session.  E.J. is a founding member of the Jazz & Poetry Choir Collective, which released its debut cd We Were Here in spring 2020, and a founding Board Member of the non-profit Arts organization One Breath Rising. 

E.J. Antonio

Jason Kao Hwang

The music of Jason Kao Hwang (composer/violin/viola) explores the vibrations of his history. His compositions are often narrative landscapes through which sonic beings embark upon transformational journeys.  His most recent release, Uncharted Faith, has received critical acclaim. Raised during the “melting pot” era of assimilation, Mr. Hwang did not learn Chinese from his immigrant parents, only English. When his parents spoke Chinese to each other, he would listen intently to glean meaning from the inflection, pitch, and rhythm of their phrases.  Mr. Hwang imagines this musical experience of the Chinese language as the foundation of his creative instincts.

Andrea Wolper is “an audacious artist [who] flouts genre limitations, delivering an inventive, thrilling, appealing musical vision.” Andrea appears in her New York home base and tours in the U.S. and beyond, both as a leader of her own projects and as a side-person for musicians across jazz genres including Jay Clayton, The Heavenly Big Band, and William Parker. Cadence Magazine calls her songwriting “easily superior,” and she has been awarded several composing residencies. Andrea’s poetry has been published in a number of literary journals, and she has been a Guest Artist at ArtSpeak/From Page to Performance workshops. Her non-fiction has appeared in numerous collections and periodicals, and includes the books, “Women’s Rights, Human Rights: International Feminist Perspectives” (co-editor with Julie S. Peters; Routledge Press) and “The Actor’s City Sourcebook” (Watson-Guptill).

Andrea Wolper

Christopher Dean Sullivan

Christopher Dean Sullivan, bassist/jazz griot, garners praise and numerous honors, including the New York State Multiple Congressional, Senate, Assembly Merit, County, Municipal Arts Awards. Proficient across diverse musical genres, Sullivan’s artistry pays homage to legends Slam Stewart and Ray Brown, as recognized by jazz journalist Steve Monroe of the Jazz Journalist Association. Sullivan has solidified his status as an exceptionally versatile musician and spoken word artist. He is an astute sensitive listener to the poet’s words and emotions conveyed and is able to translate with his bass impeccable improvisations. His ability to play and tell tales with a morale adds to the J&PCC’s versatility. He can ‘walk‘ the bass and ‘talk’ the talk.

Warren Smith is an American jazz drummer and percussionist, an original member and a contributor to Max Roach’s M’boom ensemble and leader of the Composer’s Workshop Ensemble. His contributions as a member of the J&PCC are “the joint.” He can make percussive sounds from crunching a piece of paper rhythmically. His vibraphone playing adds a dimension to the group’s improvising with poetry. He is our ‘elder statesman’ living keeper of our roots in jazz musically from bebop and beyond. He is also a ‘jazz raconteur’ and poet sharing stories and poems about his growing up and tales of jazz legends- he was there as witness and musician. His career is archived in the September 2023 New York Jazz Record, a monthly publication.

Warren Smith