April 23, 2007

On the Shoulders of Giants: Joan Cartwright @ Sistrunk

Joan Cartwright"If I have seen further [than certain other men] it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants*." Instead of using the word "men," use the word "person" and you will have the breadth of historical vision that Joan Cartwright brings to her craft. Change that to "women" and you will have the sense of empowerment that permeates Joan's work. Add passionate and you may have an idea of her lecture/performance at the African-American Research Library on Thursday, April 19, 2007 at the African-American Research Library.

Joan Cartwright is unlike any other jazz singer you will ever meet. Sultry, seductive, and provocative (and the show hadn't even started), her one-woman show, if it can be called that--she invited members of the community such as singer Jus' Cynthia to sing Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child" and artist Charles Mills to scat with her. Joan's presentation combines history, gossip, and great music.

And although the lecture performance, "Women in Jazz" has been captured in film and sound recordings, they simply do not do justice to the full immersion of the senses and memory as Joan traces the origins of African-American music from the Africa continent to the Americas through singing and narrative and shows her intimate connection with singers such as Bessie Smith, Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, and Nina Simone.

Joan Cartwright has toured five continents and 15 countries including the U.S.A., eight European countries, Brazil, Mexico, Ghana, Gambia, South Africa, China and Japan, with her swinging brand of jazz and blues. She holds a B.A. in Communications and Music from LaSalle University, (Philadelphia) and a Master’s in Communications from Florida Atlantic University. Joan studied piano, composition and theory with pianist Gerald Price, and harp with Caliope Proios. She also studied ballet and modern dance with Bernice Johnson and Lavern Porter, and African dance with Dinizulu. She's performed on television, radio and on stage at the Blue Note (NYC), The "A" Train and Erny’s (Delray Beach), O’Hara’s, Promenade and Riverwalk Sunday Jazz Brunch (Fort Lauderdale). She's performed at Ellington's (Sanibel Island, FL) and JAZID (Miami Beach) in the U.S., and in eight European countries. She is the recipient of $15,000 in SEAS Grant (1997-00) for her presentation of Women In Jazz at elementary schools in Broward County, Florida, to over 5,000 children and college students. She is a composer and her book, In Pursuit of a Melody, contains 40 songs and lyrics to standard songs: "A Night in Tunisia" by Dizzy Gillespie, "Blue Bossa" by Kenny Dorham, "Tune Up" by Miles Davis and "Bessie's Blues" by John Coltrane.

For more photos of Joan's performance, please follow this link: Joan Cartwright@ Sistrunk 1.

Joan's pictures of Amiri Baraka's reading: Amiri Baraka @ Sistrunk and Amiri Baraka@ Sistrunk 2.

To purchase copies of Joan's latest book, please follow this link: In Pursuit of a Melody.

Joan's post is #300 on this blog. Break out the champagne!


Dr. Joan Cartwright said...

Thanks a million for the beautiful photos and the wonderful review of my WOMEN IN JAZZ presentation at AARLCC for Pan African Bookfest 2007.

I will be linking your post to my websites: www.fyicomminc.com and www.joancartwright.com

Love and music,
Diva Joan Cartwright

Geoffrey Philp said...

Thank you, Joan, for a great show!
It was a pleasure to meet you.