"women in (e)motion: Jayne Cortez" - 1994
2. They want the oil
3. Drying Spit Blues
4. What´s happening ?
5. Drums everywhere drums
6. Maintain control
7. In the morning
8. Everybody wants to be somebody
9.I see Chano Pozo
12. Military spending
Combining her poetry with music, especially with jazz, is something that came naturally to Jayne Cortez. She says her early inspiration was jazz and blues rather than the poems of black poets. Although her texts evolve indipendent of any musical considerations, without music in mind – as opposed to Jamaican dub poets, for example, - the poems of this American have a pulse, an intuitive rhythm, a melody, as if made for a synthesis with jazz styles. This musical quality is reinforced by the New Yorker’s reading style. At times it boarders on vocal improvisation and her energetic word bursts become percussive primary.
Jayne Cortez is first and foremost a political poet. She comments on the wheelings and dealings of the powerful in politics and industry with her biting, sometimes completely cynical lines. She has an eye on what is happening in her own front yard, makes global connections and analyses history. For the active Afro-American, who found her voice in the black civil rights movement of the 1960‘s, the awareness of her African heritage makes up an important part of her identity and is a central theme in her works. Jayne Cortez’s poetry is an insistent force, constructed of uncompromising statements, fanciful metaphors and expressive word associations.
Jayne Cortez started working politics into poetry in the early 60‘s. She was born in Arizona but grew up in Los Angeles. The circle of musicians around avant-garde jazz musican, Ornette Colemann, (drummer Denardo is their son) were a fundamental musical influence. Where as a fusion of black poetry and jazz remained phases for colleagues like Langston Hughes and Amiri Baraka (LeRoi Jones), Jayne Cortez has maintained a continuum in this area parallel to publishing numerous books, giving readings, etc. She has recorded five records since 1975 (four of them on her own label Bola Press), usually accompanied by musicians around Ornette Coleman. The Firespitters, with their flexible entwining of jazz, funk and blues, are also part of this music scene. In the Bremen Überseemuseum, Jayne Cortez and band performed in a setting of predominantly African exhibits, a fittingly pregnant atmosphere for the works of this women, whose exceptional personality also comes through on this recording.