Paula Hackett & Connie Crothers

Poet Paula Hackett
with pianist Connie Crothers

Monday, August 15th – 7:00 pm

POETS!  1st & 3rd Monday
of each month
Featured readers
followed by an open mic
Jerry Ferraz hosts

Paula Hackett writes from a long, ongoing love affair with literature and jazz both.  Her father was a noted novelist, and at a young age, growing up in Berkeley, Paula and her brother John became avid devotees of the American popular song, particularly as mediated through the work of the great jazz instrumentalists of the 50s and 60s.  Paula attended SFSU in the late 70s and 80s, coming under the sway of the African-American intellectual and activist  Angela Davis, jazz historian and writer Grover Sales and the poet John Beecher.  While there, Paula gave a poem to jazz saxophonist John Handy, who in return gave her some of his compositions and set her the task of writing lyrics to the tunes.  Soon, she and her brother John began to write lyrics in earnest, working together to craft songs of rapturous yearning with just the right leavening of mischievous spunk, and finding willing collaborators among a number of top flight jazz composers, including Max Roach, Cedar Walton, Teddy Edwards, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, and others. Vocalist Diane Witherspoon recorded an entire album of songs with music composed by Cedar Walton and lyrics by Paula and John.

At Bird & Beckett tonight, Paula will read poems accompanied by the improvising jazz pianist Connie Crothers, who she met through drummer Max Roach.  Connie is in town for a solo engagement at the prestigious Chez Hanny jazz salon.  Connie’s astonishingly inventive work can be heard on this link to her site.  Of course, you’ll get a better feel for what she can do by coming to Bird & Beckett for her date with Paula…