Black Love Notes
ABOUT BLACK LOVE NOTES - THE CD Black Love Notes is a story that came to mind when Mr. Gray saw an article in the New York Times. It was an article written about Marcus Roberts, the great jazz pianist, who was about to pay tribute to another great jazz pianist, James P. Johnson, a Harlem musician, inventor of stride piano. So the New York Times article went on to say that James P. Johnson died practically penniless, this great black man, pioneer, trailblazer who wrote thousands of songs (some hits), during the 1920s and '30s. Mr. Gray knew, immediately, that this was the man, the man who could tell the essence of a jazz musician's story, or any artist's story, for that matter, who have dedicated themselves to their chosen craft, not for fame or fortune but, in the service and making of great art. Modecai Ulysses Jefferson, a jazz pianist/composer, thus, was born. He is a character cobbled together by Mr. Gray's fiery imagination and verve and with his understanding that such artists did and still do exist, and that the listener can enter into a jazz world where they can see the microcosm of it in order to see the totality of it: it's joys and struggles; the artists' dedication, innocence, perseverance, disappointment, heartbreak, talent, and heroism. During the '40s, in Harlem, Modecai Ulysses Jefferson hooks up with another young Harlem musician, Bunny Greensleeves, a jazz trumpeter/composer, whose personality's opposite that of Modecai's, but whose dreams and passion are identical in nature. Bunny Greensleeves seeks to attain his dreams differently than Modecai: not so orderly, not so neatly, not so patiently. Maybe boldness, arrogance, and impetuousness would better characterize Bunny Greensleeves; someone who creates beauty while, at the same time, creates anarchy and chaos. Someone who'll fight the "dogs" at the door, and doesn't give a damn who they are. It's these two young jazz musicians who join at the hip to form a jazz unit, "Bunny's Beboppers," that will, they hope, become so hot, it'll set off fire alarms in Harlem jazz joints loud enough to be heard around the world. And so this is the story Mr. Gray and Black Love Notes paint for the listener in spoken word and original music and special effects to both visualize and feel, Modecai's and Bunny's particular story. Their unique journey during their time and place and experiences in the universe. A deeply imagined story. Denis Jules Gray, Author & Playwright I was born in Springfield, Missouri, then lived in Kansas City, Missouri for the first ten years of my life. Maybe it's why I love jazz so much. Maybe it's why I might have a piece of Bennie Moten in me, or Andy Kirk, or Jay McShann-and LORD HELP ME-dare not I forget Charlie Parker! Maybe I carry these great geniuses in my writing, bloodstream, drink the same water and breathe in the same southwestern air. Maybe it's true and maybe it's not-but there are ghosts in all of us-for I am a spiritual writer. I do call upon the ancestors of the past and try to make something out of their truths, their pains; and loves and dreams and hopes and laughter; what make up a human being, the sum and total. To date, I've written 25 novels, 13 plays, 3 novellas, and over 50 short stories. My novels range from murder mysteries Black and White Arithmetic and it's sequel No Other Choice, to a recent four book series The Noble Negro, Faroh Jordan, Rakim Slaughter, and Free Slaughter, to teenage suicide A Life to Remember, to blues stories A Long Stretch of Blue and The Legend of Mercury Moon, to a boxing saga The Naked Beast and it's sequel The Sweetest Candy, to jazz stories Black Love Notes, Miss Ruby Midnight and Darkboy, A Long Time Coming, and Benny's Last Blast!!, to family dramas Della's Deed Coda, Jericho's Walls, Body and Soul, and Just Different. The many and diverse stories and plays I've written start as a germ in my imagination, ignite, then by transferring the idea onto paper I try to create magic; make all the truths of peoples' lives and language and culture come alive and bear witness on the written page. When this does happen, it's both magical and mystical, first, how it happened and, second, why I was chosen by the spirits to create this fiction, filter it through the characters' eyes, prism, uncompromisingly, without bias or opinion or judgment by me (the writer), within the scope of this scintillating journey. My mission, as a serious, dedicated writer, is to continue to write as many stories as I can; humbling myself before the beauty of the written word and it's true, authentic power. GREGORY JOSEPH FOSTER, Jr., Creative Producer & Composer Perhaps the best way to describe Gregory Joseph Foster, Jr. is to call him a "Renaissance Man." Though, he sighs at such superlatives, the imposing reputation does indeed cloak an impressive man. Friends and collaborators call him, variously, "an amazing individual... generous, sensitive, loyal, fantastically intelligent ... a worldly realist with a clear sense of where he ends and the rest of the world begins ... The wisest man I know." Yes others say he can be "double-tough, abrasive, arrogant ... a control freak who sets up the game of corporate tennis so it's always his serve." On one thing all agree he is a complex and mysterious individual, a fascinating labyrinth of light and darkness. "I can be very unpleasant,' Foster admits, "with people who don't do their homework. But those who say I'm an egomaniac are just licking their own wounds." Foster is a person with remarkable abilities in a variety of professional and artistic fields; he is a professional not only in public relations, but also in education, health, poetry, fiction, music, photography, and fine arts. Gregory Joseph Foster, Jr. is a social advocate, a religious leader, a humanitarian - who pioneered sickle-cell anemia mass-testing and research throughout the New York metropolitan area. Foster was an on-air radio personality for several years hosting Touch of Ebony and Looking Glass music-talk programs on WHUR- FM and WLIR-FM radio. He is a performing artist and published author-playwright - his literary adaptations have been presented in-concert at New York's celebrated Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and his literary works have been published in Vibes Entertainment Magazine, The Journal-Statesman News, and Metro New York. Foster is an award-winning fine arts painter and sculptor, a musician; and a human being. He is fluent in Spanish and Hebrew. Foster has held office with the Association for Human Justice and Equality, the Inner-Cities Social Welfare Program, and is an active member of ASCAP, BMI, RIAA, American Federation of Musicians, Black Music Association, Black Music Professionals, Kiwanis International, NAACP, Urban League, and Hispanic Alliance.