Amiri Baraka and Rob Brown

This show is available online here (click on individual tracks at right) and on DVD directly from Downtown Music Gallery.

Amiri Baraka


Amiri Baraka was born in Newark, NJ in 1934.  He is the author of over 40 books of essays, poems, drama, and music history and criticism.  He is a poetic icon and a revolutionary political activist who has recited poetry and lectured on cultural and political issues in the US, Caribbean, Africa, and Europe.  He has been influenced by Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, and Sun Ra. 


He founded the Black Arts Movement in the 1960s in Harlem.  Baraka’s first published collection of essays was The Essence of Reparations which talked about the movement of Black people through racism, oppression, colonialism, determination, and liberation.  He has taught at Yale, Columbia, and SUNY Stony Brook. 


Baraka’s first collection of poems was Somebody Blew Up America & Other Poems.  It was caused a lot of criticism and was all over the news and media.  He has won many awards and honors including an Obie, the American Academy of Arts & Letters Award, and the James Weldon Johnson Medal for contribution to the arts.  He is also the Poet Laureate of New Jersey.  Baraka now lives in Newark with his wife, author Amina Baraka, and their five children. 


Rob Brown


Rob Brown was born February 27, 1962.  He was born in Hampton, VA and has been playing saxophone since he was 11.  He moved to New York in 1984 and has been leading groups and working as a sideman with Matthew Shipp, William Parker, Joe Morris, and Whit Dickey.  He has also performed or recorded with Cecil Taylor, Anthony Braxton, Denis Charles, Bill Dixon, Butch Morris, and many others. 


He toured many different parts of Europe and is a 2001 CalArts/Alpert/Ucross Residency Prize winner.  He has also received many Meet the Composer Fund grants.  In 2006, he was awarded a Chamber Music America New Works grant.