Yusef Komunyakaa is a recipient of the 1994 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, for Neon Vernacular and the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Born in Bogalusa Louisiana, he found his art form in the church: “the sound of the Old Testament informed the cadences of their speech,” Komunyakaa has stated. “It was my first introduction to poetry.” Komunyakaa served in the US Army in Vietnam as a correspondent, which informs much of his writing. His powerful voice demands attention, and his poetry presents very personal narratives with the rhythm of a slow Jazz solo. So it is no surprise that Komunyakaa connected with New York musicians Mike Brown and David Cieri. David was working with Trent Reznor and Yo-Yo Ma on the film score for Ken Burns' new Vietnam documentary, and kept Komunyakaa's book Dien Cai Dau as a source of insight and inspiration. The opportunity arose for the three to perform together at The Gavagai Music and Reading series and a deep relationship was revealed.
White Dust by Yusef Komunyakaa, David Cieri, and Mike Brown is the full recording of three Jazz players exploring the art: each using their instrument to reflect, express, to set a mood and dig inside the human condition. The vocalist is the poet, sometimes carrying the rhythm, sometimes the solo, always speaking to us. Stay Tuned.