Upsurge Celebrates 25 Years!




















Reviews and Comments From 25th Celebration

Lincoln Bergman – It was just great! The music/poetry the poetry/music, the politics and soul and rhythm from start to finish…and O that “Loves in Need of Love Today”–great musicians and poets—very inspiring and upsurging indeed!

Pat Jameson-Amwele – A very beautiful, powerful, amazing show last night, Raymond! Congrats on UpSurge’s 25th Anniversary, Raymond & Zigi! And all those with you in the band were outstanding, as well! Thoroughly enjoyed every minute!

Carol Canter – Did it well is a major understatement. This was another knockout performance, Raymond. You and Zigi weave a web of magic with your words and sounds and movement, going very very deep, bringing key issues of the day to our heart and soul and mind. There’s no turning away, and it’s profound. Every one of your musicians was amazing as well. Keep coming back to Berkeley and Oaktown, and we’ll look forward to seeing you both this summer in Harlem!

Miranda Bergman – You definitely did do it well!! You (every band member and you and Ziggy) did it movingly, inspirationally, healing. Thank you.

“Congrats, heard you rocked it, stomped it, turned it out! ”

I really enjoyed the event in Berkeley last night, you guys laid it down. Tell Zigi I can get the I Am Poetry tee shirt when I see the artist and mail it if she likes. WM

Poetry and Jazz: Surging Together in Berkeley



Dissident Arts Festival

SAT 15 AUG Dissident Arts Festival (Raymond Nat Turner)
El Taller Latino Americano
PS 109 Arts Space 215 E. 99th Str btwn 2nd & 3rd Av
New York, NY
Day One: Saturday August 15, 7pm – 11:30pm
El Taller Latino Americano
PS109 Arts Space 215 East 99 street, between 2nd and 3rd avenue (212) 665-9460

7PM- Raymond Nat Turner- Remembrance of the Victims of Racist Police Violence
7:20-Sumari, “other-world” art music
8:05-Sana Shabazz, poetry
8:20-The Red Microphone, “liberation jazz”
9-Steve Dalachinsky, free jazz poetry
9:45-Bernardo Palombo, nueva cancion
10:30- The 12 Houses Orchestra, 15-piece expansive jazz ensemble led by Matt Lavelle

Day Two: Sunday August 16, 7pm – 10:30 PM
ShapeShifter Lab
18 Whitwell Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11215 (646) 820-9452

7:00-Trudy Silver & “Where’s the Outrage?”, improvisational music, poetry, performance art
7:45-Safiya Martinez, poetry
7:55-John Pietaro’s Literary Warrior Project, spoken word and improvised music
8:35-Patricia Nicholson-Parker with ensemble TBA, dance with improvisational music and spoken word
9:15-Chris Butters, poetry
9:30-Dissipated Face featuring Daniel Carter, no wave/hardcore music

*This year’s Festival is dedicated to the struggle for unity & the memory of Ornette Coleman*
Ensemble Personnel:
DAY 1-
Raymond Nat Turner: spoken word

Aug 16, Dissident Arts Festival representing NY Chapter of National Writers Union (NWU).

Comments from the Dissident Arts Festival:

A jazz and spoken word ensemble from San Francisco, Upsurge, blew the audience away with their powerful music and lyrics, which condemned Wall Street and the greedy banks. The leader of the group, Raymond Nat Turner, said, “This is a perfect showcase for what we’ve been doing for 20 years in the Bay Area.” This was the group’s first performance at the festival. Summing it up, festival organizer John Pietaro said, “This is the second year of the festival in New York City. People we get each year have a following. Kevin, who was with us last year, Gwen Laster, who performed at Obama’s inauguration, Upsurge, from San Francisco.”

—People’s World

UPSURGE! came all the way from San Francisco to bring the crowd to its feet. Led by jazz poets Raymond Nat Turner and Zigi Lowenberg, the ensemble presented a finely confounded emulsion of modern jazz and spoken word, at once recalling the Beat poets, John Coltrane, Gill Scott-Heron and Amiri Baraka. The end result could serve to bring the Hip Hop generation straight to jazz! They have performed their
call-to-arms smorgasbord of sound at multiple progressive gatherings in recent years and if they can arrange to travel across country each summer, they’d be a welcome part of future Dissident Arts Festivals.
Ensemble members included Tony Jones on tenor saxophone, Rudi Mwongozi on piano, Bryce Sebastian on upright bass and Larry Johnson on drums (a very hip shining kit of Gretsch drums, I might add).

—John Pietaro, Founder Dissident Arts Festival, NYC
The arts ARE a weapon for social change…….



Poets House Members

THU 30 JUL Poets House Members-only Open Mic (Zigi Lowenberg; Raymond Nat Turner)
10 River Terrace, New York, NY 10282 Tel: (212) 431-7920 Map & Directions


NYC Poetry Festival Governors Island

SAT 25 JUL NYC Poetry Festival Governors Island, Colonel’s Row
For directions to Governors Island, click here. Zigi Lowenberg; Raymond Nat Turner)