Greetings UpSurge community,
Hope you’re well and have Spring in your step!

Sunday 8PM SAT 1 OCT  at Freight & Salvage
innovative jazz-poetry ensemble
$20.50 advance / $22.50 at door
Click below for tickets and directions

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…….

   Join us for
      A scaled down intimate evening of improvisation,
      Conversation, jazz, poetry and fun...
              8PM Friday 29 July



August 13, 6PM - 11PM
The Brecht Forum
451 West Street (between Bank and Bethune streets),
New York NY

Go to Jazzschool event and ticket info here
UpSurge! returns to the Jazzschool—this time in a double-bill with our friend and California Poet Laureate Emeritus, Al Young. Bassist Dan Robbins will accompany Al. We’re looking forward to having a swinging, fun-filled, jazz-infused evening. You’ll definitely want to be a part of this, and please spread the word far and wide!

2087 Addison St. Berkeley CA 94704       510.845.5373
A Poetry Jazz Sizzler
Saturday, April 23rd at 8:00PM
Tickets $18
UpSurge! Raymond Nat Turner and Zigi Lowenberg-vocals, Tammy Hall-piano, Ron Belcher-bass, Rob Rhodes-drums, Peter Yellin-saxophone

An ensemble that earns its exclamation point with dynamic performances that capture the soul, humor and off-the-cuff inventiveness of a cascading saxophone solo. —Andrew Gilbert  

Click to enlarge

UpSurge! JazzPoetry Ensemble's anniversary concert Sunday at Freight & Salvage

UpSurge! @
The Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse
Saturday February 23, 2008
8:00 PM
1111 Addison Street
Berkeley CA 94702
(510) 548-1761 
$18.50 adv / $19.50 door
(18 years or under half price; seniors $1 discount)
fully wheelchair accessible

Respectfully and Warmly,

THANKS, THANKS, THANKS to those of you who communed with us Sunday evening at Anna's Jazz Island. We're so grateful for the packed house and one could feel the inspired energy buzzing in the venue at the break. We had a message to deliver AND we had fun! You all sounded angelic on the chorus of "A Child's Questions" and of course, we all got down together on "Oaktown Blues--Just Like That." Kudos to Muziki Roberson for a great job sitting in for Tammy. And a special thank-you to Steve Gilbert for sharing his GI anti-war activism experiences.

UpSurge Photos ©2007 Debra St. John

* We had a very, very special guest. Richard's phenomenal 9 year-old son Elé Howell joined us on Djembe drum, even taking a solo on "Bridging." He also re-visited his opening line on "A Child's Questions." And if that weren't enough, he sold a bunch of our CDs!

* We introduced two new pieces, "Privatize This" and "Bitter Tears." Raymond and Zigi even surprised the rest of the band with the two pieces, and judging from your enthusiastic responses--they're keepers.

* Thanks to the parents who brought their school-age children. The children's energy was especially UpLifting! It also served as a reminder of why we want an end to the predatory wars being waged in our names.

* You are the best audience in the world. With your vibrant diversity in ALL ways, you truly represent 'another world' that is not only possible--but partly here.

* While the under 10 crowd was represented, octogenarians should feel proud as Barbara Dane represented her age group with gusto! She joined us along with Anna de Leon to sing "Down By The Riverside" ("Ain't gonna study war no more"). We couldn't help but take it out into the audience parading like a second line for a great end to the evening!

Anna de Leon, Barbara Dane and Angela Wellman

Also, while we're not encouraging consumerist madness--we do want to let you know that if you're wanting a holiday gift with a message, Chromatology Singles with two anti-war tracks "The Game" and "Operation Homefront" are available for only $5 directly from us. Just drop us an email. And of course our full length Chromatology CD (pictured below) is available online: UpSurge website.

Click cover to purchase

An update from our friend and legendary KPFA and KPOO programmer, Avotcja
The 1st & 3rd Sunday of every Month (Sundays November 18th, December 2nd & 18th) a Bilingual Open Mic Poetry/Music series in English, Spanish, Spanglish y Lo Que Sea
THE MUSIC OF THE WORD (LA PALABRA MUSICAL) Hosted by Eric Aviles & Avotcja
3 - 4:30PM
No Cover (Donations for features accepted & don’t forget to bring your Congas, Guiros, Maracas, Panderetas etc.) It’s always a word party to remember!
(a taste of La Isla del Encanto in the East Bay)
3451 Internat’l @ 35th Avenue
Oakland, CA (510)533-3840
(there's plenty of free parking in the rear)


photos-Debra St. John
"Thank you all for an awesome and inspiring evening. It was really tops. Affectionately..." --an Upsurge fan

We love hearing back from you after gigs. The quote is from our summer gig about which San Francisco BayView columnist Wanda Sabir said "All the hip folks were at the Oakland Public Conservatory of Music Tuesday, July 3, for an alternative Independence Day event." 

We're stamping our mark on your calendars for another alternative celebration.

Are you ready to commune for an Alternative Veteran’s Day? Then join us Sunday, November 11 at Anna’s Jazz Island when UpSurge will perform several anti-war pieces including premiering a new piece, “Back on Track” by our trombonist and vocalist Angela Wellman. We’re also excited to put our UpSurge sound on classics—we will feature anti-war poems from Allen Ginsberg and Gertrude Stein.
As well, hear anti-war veteran Steve Gilbert, a founding member of the legendary anti-war army newspaper F*T*A*. Steve will speak on his experience with anti-war activism as a GI. 

Get inspired, gather strength, renew our commitments to end the carnage. We're pointing at the grassroots when we exclaim—WE WANT YOU! The best audience in the Bay. Please spread the word and tell two or three others...
Raymond Nat Turner and Zigi Lowenberg-jazzpoets; Angela Wellman-trombone and vocals; Richard Howell-saxes and vocals; Tammy Hall-piano; Ron Belcher-bass; Rob Rhodes-drums.
Sunday November 11
7:00 PM
Anna’s Jazz Island
2120 Allston Way


Our deepest heartfelt THANKS to those of you who joined us earlier this month for the Frederick Douglass Day / Alternative Fourth of July Celebration on July 3. Seeing your faces, hearing your voices, applause and "Just like thats!" made our night. Your hugs, kisses and handshakes were delicious desserts after seven courses of soul food.

San Francisco BayView columnist Wanda Sabir said "All the hip folks were at the Oakland Public Conservatory of Music Tuesday, July 3, for an alternative Independence Day event." See Wanda's Picks for the full review. 

We hope UpSurge provided your alternative to the bellicose jingoism and that you had as much fun as we did. We performed "Tribute To The Trees" and "2020," two pieces that will certainly grace our third CD. 

Speaking of the third CD, we will of course again be raising money to record. just like we did for Chromatology. These projects cost thousands of dollars. But more on that later...

In the meantime we know you have lots of creative ideas about all kinds of things so...What should we call this project? We want your suggestions for names for CD #3. If your suggestion is chosen we will bestow goodies and make a fuss over you (or not, if you prefer!) Looking forward to hearing from you.