Personnel: Christine Correa: voice Chris Speed: tenor saxophone, clarinet Greg Tardy: tenor saxophone, clarinet Frank Carlberg: piano Dave Clark: bass Ben Street: bass Steve Grover: drums In 1985, Steve Grover composed 'Blackbird Suite', a song cycle setting for the Wallace Stevens poem 'Thirteen Ways of Looking At a Blackbird'. Local performances of this piece followed, but several years passed before the 1991 premiere of 'Thirteen Ways of Looking At a Blackbird' as a multi-media presentation involving the theater artist Lee Faulkner, which incorporated music, choreography, masks, mime, video, film, and slide projections. The piece was commissioned by the Maine Community Foundation and was staged at the Celebration Barn Theater in South Paris in June 1991. Performances followed at the Maine Festival and as part of a residency in May 1992 in the Farmington school system. Further explorations of this piece continued into 1994, when 'Blackbird Suite' won the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz/BMI Jazz Composers Competition. For the first time the music involved the vocalist Christine Correa and the pianist Frank Carlberg, who performed the piece at the Kennedy Center in November 1994, as part of the Monk Institute's competition. When a CD of the music was finally released in 1997, the reviews were excellent. Excerpts of the piece also helped Grover win, along with eleven other contestants, JAZZIZ magazine's Percussion On Fire talent search in 1996, securing a spot on the CD accompanying the February 1997 issue as part of the prize. Reviews For 'Blackbird Suite': '...a stunning merger of the two art forms. The poem's words are sung with great feeling and emotion... The band's musical execution is flawless and inspiring.' - Cadence, September 1998 '...ambitious and unusual...extensive harmonic explorations of considerable variety and complexity...This is an excellent recording, deserving of wider recognition.' - The Green Mountain Jazz Messenger, June - July 1998 'If you are not a serious jazz fan, you could become one listening to Steve Grover's 'Blackbird Suite'. The contributors ...are superlative. Grover has framed and lighted an important American poem.' - The Dissident,May - June 1998 'It is an intriguing amalgamation of players, styles, and sounds woven around the music-friendly lines of the late Wallace Stevens' poem...The personnel Grover has chosen for 'Blackbird Suite' blend evocatively. It is likely to be around for many years to come.' - Egg Magazine, Summer 1997 '...executed with a simmering intensity...the music alone makes the album a winner.' - FACE Magazine, June 1997.