“One of the most remarkable spaces I've seen in New York City. ”
Guest, Nov 2011

Final Vinyl: Vintage Music for the Future

« Back to Events
This event has passed.
February 7, 2016 7:00 pm

A performance by Heroes Are Gang Leaders

DSCF6381 copy HAGL_front_sm Heroes Are Gang Leaders, TSE 2014 more options 1
After the poet Amiri Baraka died, poet and Guggenheim fellow Thomas Sayers Ellis and his frequent collaborator James Brandon Lewis (saxophonist and SONY/Okeh recording artist) formed Heroes Are Gang Leaders, a group of poets and musicians. They recorded The Amiri Baraka Sessions, an unreleased two CD project, then “The Avant-Age Garde I AMs of the Gal Luxury” and the recently released “Highest Engines Near / Near Higher Engineers.” Their membership includes notable poets and musicians including current Sun Ra Arkestra member Ryan Frazier (trumpet), Luke Stewart (bass), Margaret Morris (vocals) Janice Lowe (piano), Randall Horton (words), Devin Brahja Waldman (synthesizer), Ailish Hopper (words), Joey De Jesus (words), Larkin Grimm (harp) and Warren “Trae” Crudup (drums). HAGL has been described as a version of Funkadelic playing the Archie Shepp sound book and their latex released has been called “an Underground Classic” by Downtown Music Gallery. CDs will be on Sale!

A few bios


Hailed by Ebony Magazine as one of seven jazz musicians to watch in

today’s scene, James Brandon Lewis released his second album, Divine

Travels, with historic imprint Okeh records via Sony and features William

Parker, Gerald Cleaver, and poet Thomas Sayers Ellis. Lewis released his debut album, Moments, in 2010, before moving to New York City in 2012. Since arriving in the city, he has performed with a wide

range of artists, including Charles Gayle, Ed Shuller, Kirk Knuffke, Jason

Hwang , Marilyn Crispell, Ken Filiano, Cooper Moore, Darius Jones, Eri

Yamamoto, Federico Ughi, Kenny Wessel, Marvin “Bugalu” Smith,

and Sabir Mateen, and has worked with the dance company CircuitDebris under the direction of Mersiha Mesihovic. He currently leads his own trio with

Luke Stewart on bass and Dominic Fragman on drums.  James co-founded

Heroes Are Gang Leaders.


Margaret Morris is a vocalist and improvisor who integrates her backgrounds in classical operatic and extended vocal techniques.   She is a longtime

collaborator with Chicago based choreographer J’Sun Howard.  In 2013

she co-founded NYC based women’s choral and improvisation a capella

ensemble LushTongue with Onome.   Onome and Margaret performed under the moniker Inner Child, a collaborative, multi-disciplinary performance trio

with Keisha Turner at Chicago and NYC venues including Links Hall and Wow Cafe Theater. Margaret was featured in The Exponential experimental album Encuentro with Ben Perkins and Brian Murray with whom she performed throughout 2011-2012.   Margaret worked as a choreographer in Chicago where she was honored to be a Chicago Dancemakers Forum LAb Artist, a Link-Up resident artist with Links Hall,  and collaborate with local dance artistsincluding Asimina Chremos, Ni’ja Whitson, Angela Gronroos, Ayako Kato, and Erika Wilson Perkins.  Her practices of contact improvisation and authentic movement continue to inform her work.


Photographer and poet Thomas Sayers Ellis co-founded The Dark Room

Collective, one of the most influential poetry communities of the 20th

century, in 1988. He is the author of The Maverick Room and Skin, Inc.,

Identity Repair Poems (both from Graywolf Press). In 2014, he co-founded

Heroes Are Gang Leaders, a group of poets and musicians, and recorded The

Amiri Baraka Sessions. His recent work has appeared in PLUCK!, Best

American Poetry 2015, Tin House, The Paris Review, The Break beat Poets:

New American Poetry in the Age of Hip Hop and Poetry. In 2015 he is the

Richard Hugo Visiting Writer at the University of Montana and the Sterling

A Brown Professor of Humanities at Howard University.


Luke Stewart is a multi-instrumentalist hailed as “One of the hardest working creative musicians in D.C.” by Twins Jazz. Luke has performed with the legendary saxophonist Marshall Allen and with Danny Ray Thompson, both seminal members of Sun Ra’s Arkestra.


Randall Horton (poet) is the recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award, the Bea González Poetry Award and most recently a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in literature. Horton is a Cave Canem Fellow and a member of the Affrilachian Poets. Triquarterly/Northwestern University Press is the publisher of his latest poetry collection Pitch Dark Anarchy. Horton is assistant professor of English at the University of New Haven.


Ryan T. Frazier (trumpet) is a musician, writer, and physicist based in Philadelphia. As a musician, he has been a contributor to Philadelphia’s free jazz and Afro-futurist punk scenes for almost a decade. He has performed or recorded with a wide range of musicians and artists, from the underground hip-hop/punk band Mighty Paradocs, to renowned poets Sonia Sanchez and Thomas Sayers Ellis, and principle free jazz bassist William Parker. With his own band, Napoleon Dolomite, his musical approach is built from the mathematics of Thelonious Monk and Eric Dolphy, along with those of Wu Tang Clan and MF Doom, set in a rhythmic and free cosmic sound vision. Studying music and jazz culture/tradition with the great Donald Byrd as a teenager, he is currently an apprentice in the Sun Ra Arkestra, studying under its legendary director, Marshall Allen. Having studied African and African-American literature at Hampton University, his current research focuses on the energy dynamics of human culture, using language and the culture of bebop to build a model of the cosmos, its function, composition, and origin. He has taught music at Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, in Oakland, California, as well as in Philadelphia correctional institutions.


Janice Lowe (piano) is a New York City-based composer and poet. She has composed and created vocal arrangements for the bands Digital Diaspora and w/o a net. Her works for musical theater include “Langston and Zora,” book by Charles E. Dre Jr. (Wild Project) Lil’ Budda, text by Stephanie L. Jones (Eugene O’Neill National Musical Theater Conference; NAMT Festival of New Musicals) and “Sit-In at the Five & Dime,” libretto by Marjorie Duffield (New Harmony Project.) She is librettist and composer of the opera “Dusky Alice.” She created music for the plays “Born of Conviction” (Irondale Arts) by Kathryn Dickinson; “12th and Clairmount” (Stage Left, Chicago) by Jenni Lamb;”Door of No Return” by Nehassaiu deGannes and Shafrika; “The White Girl” by Anika Larson. She is the librettist of “Little Bird Loose,” a song cycle collaboration with composer Nils Olaf Dolven. Her poems have been published in journals including Callaloo, The Hat, and American Poetry Review. She is a cofounder of the Dark Room Collective and of Absolute Theater Co. Lowe is a frequent contributor to Write Night @Frank’s Lounge.








iCal Import + Google Calendar