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Jazz Poetry 2024: Milena Casado Quartet, Rae Armantrout, Yahya Ashour, Oleksandr Frazé-Frazénko, & Richard Hamilton

May 16 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT

City of Asylum’s International Jazz Poetry Month welcomes artists from all over the world, bringing new friends sharing new works to the stage every year. This Jazz Poetry month we are delighted to welcome Milena Casado, an amazing Spanish composer, flugelhorn player, and trumpeter who is no stranger to mixing poetry with her compositions. Milena and her quartet will be sharing newly composed work, joined by Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Rae Armantrout, Palestinian poet Yahya Ashour, whose work has been translated and published in eight languages, current fellow at Pitt’s Center for African American Poetry & Poetics program Richard Hamilton, and Oleksandr Frazé-Frazénko, multi-disciplinary Ukrainian artist and City of Asylum writer-in-residence.

Each Jazz Poetry program begins with a 40-minute performance by the band, followed by 30 minutes of collaborative performance with the featured poets. In these collaborations, poets share their work while the musicians interpret and accompany their poetry with jazz, adding a unique, improvisational dimension to each performance.

Featured Musicians:

Milena Casado: flugelhorn/trumpet

JK Kim: drums

Kanoa Mendenhall: bass

Lex Korten: piano

About the Musician:

Milena Casado is a composer, flugelhorn and trumpet player from Spain, whose sound and creativity have led her to perform with acclaimed international artists such as Terri Lyne Carrington, Aaron Parks, Kris Davis, Jorge Rossy, Vijay Iyer, Jazzmeia Horn, Kenny Werner and Francisco Mela, among others.​ Milena completed her undergraduate and Master’s degree on a full-scholarship at the Berklee College of Music, where she studied with Nicholas Payton, Sean Jones and Ralph Peterson, to name a few. ​She has performed throughout the world at noted venues and festivals including The Carnegie Hall, The Village Vanguard, The Kennedy Center, North Sea Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival and Marciac Jazz Festival. Milena has also been focusing on composing and performing her original music with her group the “Milena Casado Quintet.”

About the Poets:

Rae Armantrout’s recent book Finalists (Wesleyan 2022) was described as “emanat[ing] the radiant astonishment of living thought” by critic David Woo. Her 2018 book, Wobble, was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her book Versed won the Pulitzer Prize in 2010. Armantrout is the current judge of the Yale Younger Poets Prize. A new book, Go Figure, will appear from Wesleyan in September, 2024.

Yahya Ashour was born in Gaza City, on April 22nd, 1998. He’s a touring poet and an award-winning author. He’s a 2022 fellow in writing at the University of Iowa. He has one poetry collection and one children’s book published in Arabic and has contributed to several printed anthologies and online journals worldwide. His writings were translated into English, French, Spanish, Italian, and Finnish. He has delivered several creative writing workshops for children and youth in Gaza.

Oleksandr Frazé-Frazénko is a filmmaker, writer, and musician. His oeuvre includes films, music videos, and commercials, a discography of over 50 albums, and a dozen books of poetry. Among this collection are Oleksandr’s volumes Decadence (2017), which contains poems in Ukrainian, and Happy Lovers (2021), which contains poems in English. In addition to his original works, Oleksandr published Ukrainian translations of Jim Morrison’s poetry (the first of their kind) in 2013. He has also translated English poetry of the Restoration Period, including the works of John Rochester. His photographs, paintings, drawings, and sculptures have been featured in private collections across the globe, including exhibitions in Ukraine, Germany, Canada, and the U.S., among others. During the first year of the war in Ukraine, Oleksandr stayed in the country and became involved in a volunteer movement working with foreign journalists as a producer, filmmaker, and writer to spread the truth about the situation and the historical context. He has been a Research Scholar at the University of Pittsburgh and a writer in residence as part of City of Asylum’s Fellowship for Ukrainian Writers since March 2023 with his wife, Mariya Trush, a gifted Ukrainian singer.

Richard Hamilton (he/they) was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey and raised in the American South. Hamilton holds degrees from Colorado State University, New York University, and the University of Alabama, where he earned an MFA in poetry. He is the 2023-2025 poetry fellow at the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics. Author of Rest of Us (Re-Center Press, 2021) and Discordant (Autumn House Press, 2023), his work can be found at 128 Lit, Obsidian Journal, Ocean State Review, Wry Press, and forthcoming in Lana Turner Journal. He resides in Pittsburgh. 

About Your Visit: 

Doors open at 6pm. 

The in-house restaurant 40 North is closed on Monday and Tuesday, but a cash wine bar will be available.

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May 16
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT
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City of Asylum
(412) 435-1110
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Alphabet City
40 W. North Avenue
Pittsburgh,PA15212United States
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