About JazzErie


Mikel PresterSat., Feb. 7 at 8:00 p.m. at the Erie Art Museum, 5th St. entrance, between State St. and French St..  Donation $10, $5 for JazzErie members, $5 for students.

An event to warm your heart on a cold winter evening, joining original words by Erie area poets with music created for the event by Erie area jazz musicians, and performed at the Erie Art Museum, where you can enjoy the current exhibits and a wine & beer bar.     

Co-sponsored by JazzErie and the Erie Art Museum.

Poet Chuck JoyChuck Joy, poet, JazzErie Board member and co- coordinator of this project expresses his hopes:

"Our show should interest a wide audience, those who like to hear and groove and imagine, from healthcare workers to college professors and other deep thinkers.

"This is another in a series of collaborations that highlight the JazzErie season, which began with 'Jazz & Dance.'  Our show, Exploring The Border, explores the border between not only lyrics and poetry lines, but words and music all together.

"Lines spoken, lines sung, music with words, music without words, the human voice, the horn's voice, rhythm from drums. and rhythm from the tongue. Words and music, nestled together along a long border, sometimes across water where the shine of lights from the other side illuminates the future."

Poet Kim Noyes

Poets & Musicians:

Kim Noyes -- poet & harmonica
Ellis Crockett -- poet & vocal
Monica Igras -- poet
Chuck Joy -- poet & announcer

James Cuneo, keyboards
Mikel Prester, saxophones, Native American flute
Nick "Tito" Ronzitti, drums & percussion
Dick Thompson, upright bass

More on poet Kim Noyes (pictured at right):

"I was about 15 when I started writing poems.  I didn't understand why I was writing so much, but I eventually came to accept that it was part of my life.  I later learned that two of my ancestors, William Bradford in America and Alfred Noyes in England, were writers and poets so maybe its in my genes.

"I feel very fortunate to be part of the poets' community here in Erie, now sustained around the hub of Poets' Hall, but also expanding to readings in Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Cleveland.  I Poet Ellis Crocketthave two self-published books of poems and am working on more.  Last year I was one of five finalists for Community Poet Laureate in Erie.  I feel honored to be part of all this.

"I work days as a landscaper and painter, and live on a 45 acre farm, all of which I enjoy."

Poet Ellis Crockett (left):

"I'm a person who likes the melodies of poetry.  I'm also a music lover: jazz & blues, hip-hop...a lot of my poetry comes out of jazz.  Music spawns ideas for poetry, and I think of lyrics in my head.  I think of myself as a singer/poet."

By day, Ellis is a "blended case manager" with Lakeshore Community Service, where he provides day to day community support for people with severe mental illness.

Monica Ingras and Tito RonzittiMonica Igras (pictured at right with drummer Nick "Tito" Ronzitti):

What does poetry mean in your life?  "In my self, poetry is the ever-elusive point of understanding between people that you can reach with words.

Monica loves jazz: "Jazz is the language I think in.  Finding jazz is like finding your voice."

Monica, in addition to her succinct, pungently honest, lyrically paced poetry, and active role in the Erie poetry community, has a keen photographic eye.  She contributed most of the pictures which accompany this article.

Mikel PresterMikel Prester:

41 year old saxophonist/musician Mikel Prester is the featured soloist for EXPLORING THE BORDER.  Mikel is a native of Meadville.  He graduated from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA and taught instrumental music for the Philadelphia Board of Education.  He performed in the Philadelphia area, including a gig with the Sun Ra Arkestra, before moving to NYC where he lived and taught for ten years.

In New York, Mikel taught for the NY Board of Education, then moved to the Williamsburg Charter School and the Brooklyn Philharmonic music education program.  Among NYC area gigs, Mikel performed at the 2002 Vision Festival, which also featured Albert Ayler and Ornette Coleman.  He played in a number of NYC area jazz clubs, including Smoke.

Returning to the Meadville area six years ago, Mikel now lives in Centerville, PA with his wife of three years, Suzanne, who is a social worker, working with children.  He plays regularly with The Armitand Hand (Dan Hallett, Sean Demico) and teaches privately.

Jimmy CuneoJimmy Cuneo (pictured at right):

Jim is a practicing musician in the Erie region.  He hold a B.A. degree in music performance and composition from Mercyhurst University.  He also studied with Basil Ronitti.  He currently plays keyboards with the Blues Beaters Band, has a one-man-show in which he plays piano and sings, and has been a songwriter, singer and instrumentalist in Blood Pudding, Magoo, Zebra Mussels and the Lake Erie Monsters bands.  Jim also teaches private students.

Nick Nick "Tito" Ronzitti:

Nick Ronzitti has been an active participant on the Erie music scene since his youth. His father was the community's leading accordian teacher.  Nick took a sojourn to the west coast, which included studies with drummer Joe Morello, then returned to Erie, and has performed and taught drums here since, often appearing with brother Basil Ronzitti.  He currently plays with Cats A Bear and other local groups.

Dick Thompson:

After retiring from a career in mental health, Dick returned to his first love, Dick Thompsonmusic (he majored in music education at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN).  He has studied and played with local jazz guru Basil Ronzitti, also plays with Dave Callaghan, local bluegrass and chamber music groups, and has performed frequently with poet Chuck Joy.

"Trying to stay in synch with these talented people has been a challenge and a pleasure.  Every rehearsal has been an adventure and a joy."

Come hear local artists share their ideas!!..

December 14, 2014