The Sunday night sessions at the Artists’ Workshop (4857 John Lodge) have been getting better both in audience attendance and in presentation. Last Sunday’s (July 17) featured poet Tom Mitchell and the music of the Workshop Music Ensemble, this time composed of Lyman Woodard on organ, Charles Moore on drums (!), Jim Semark on piano & trombone, and Doug Riggs on bass and piano. You should have heard the sounds this band produced! Sunday the 24th of July will feature poet Mike Little and the Workshop Music Ensemble again. The Ensemble, in case you have been wondering about it, is the new houseband of the Workshop, and is composed of whoever happens to be playing that particular night. You can be sure the band will never sound the same twice. And if you don’t want to miss their most exciting session, you should be at the Workshop every Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. (Admission is free.) There will be a very important happening, a FESTIVAL OF PEOPLE, at the Workshop on August 5. (See details on that in the special article on the festival in this issue).
Frank Kofsky, noted jazz critic, writer and professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh, visited Detroit last weekend and gave two lectures at Debs Hall on “Black Music & Revolution.” While he was here he attended the Sunday night session at the Workshop and also taped a long interview with Charles Moore which will be printed in a book he’s working on. Watch for it. It would be a killer. The interview, at least.
The Detroit Contemporary 4 has a busy schedule for the rest of this month. The group (Charles Moore, cornet; Stanley Cowell, piano, John Dana, bass; Danny J. Spencer, drums—Ronnie Johnson, who has played drums with the DC4 for almost a year, has left for Los Angeles two weeks ago) will play a concert in Toledo on Sunday, July 24, and one in Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio on the 28th. This concert was arranged by Bill Brower, a friend of the Artists’ Workshop and first-term freshman at Antioch. To me this is just another proof that something can happen if there are people who have enough sense and initiative to make them happen. The next concert will be on the 31st of July at the University of Ann Arbor and was arranged by Dave Lundin there who has done a lot to give Workshop musicians a hearing in Ann Arbor.
Joseph Jarman and his group from Chicago will be back in Detroit and will play one night at Baker’s Keyboard Lounge on Thursday, July 28. I would like to express my appreciation to the owner Sol Hartstein for giving these new groups like the Detroit Contemporary 4 and the Joseph Jarman Quartet a chance to play at his club and hope that any hassles with the musicians’ union he might have had will not keep him from continuing his beautiful and much needed work. Thanks also goes to Betty Chmaj for her part in these arrangements.
The Workshop will start publishing a monthly newspaper/letter, called VORTEX, starting in August or September, which will inform readers of all the happenings in the contemporary arts that we know of all over the country as well as in other countries, and, of course, in Detroit We hope that VORTEX will draw artists of all disciplines and all places closer together and prevent anyone or any group of artists from becoming too isolated and discouraged. We hope that VORTEX will help in building a true community of artists across the land and the universe. And just to make sure that no one misunderstands our terminology this time: by “artist” we do not mean that a person has to be either a painter, a musician or a poet. We believe that any human being can be an artist no matter what he does. If you want to be part of this “community” please send us $1 to cover the cost of paper, ink, postage, etc. for VORTEX. (Use the order form for this also.) VORTEX will be written and/or edited by John Sinclair. John will be released from the Detroit House of Correction where he served a six months sentence for “violation of the State Narcotics Law” on August 5. He’ll write this column again from now on & I’ll try to take care of my job as a photographer & housewife.
David Sandberg, a young poet from San Francisco and one of the most beautiful people in the whole world, was so concerned about the fate of the Artists’ Workshop after hearing about our bad financial problems that he organized a benefit reading in S.F. for the Artists’ Workshop and collected $35—and sent it to us. That is more than anyone in Detroit has ever contributed in our two-year history. Shame on you! I know that many of you who read this right now could easily spare twice that much without even noticing the difference in your bank account. We’ll help you if you help us. But if you don’t help us, we’ll help you anyway, whether you are aware of that right now or not. You dig? David Sandberg, by the way, is the editor and publisher of OR magazine and OR books which are available at the Workshop. You’ll help HIM by buying them & reading them.
One last “pull on your coat” for this time: There are a bunch of new ESP records out and available at local record stores. (At the Land of Hi-Fi for sure, 125 E. Grand River, downtown, Detroit). For a complete catalog of ESP records write to ESP Disk, 180 Riverside Drive, New York 10024. I would especially recommend Marion Brown’s record. I know anybody who heard Marion’s concert last Winter (with The Detroit Contemporary 4, at WSU) will want to hear this record. It’ll make you want to dance & sing & be happy. And EVERYBODY should be happy. SEE YOU AT THE FESTIVAL.