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Olio Live

Length: 1 hr and 18 mins

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Summary

In Olio Live - a very special one-night performance recorded live at the Minetta Lane Theater in February, 2019 - poet Tyehimba Jess introduces listeners to his 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning collection, Olio

A stellar cast of actors, accompanied by pianist Jeremy Gill, performs a selection of poems from the collection, all of which reinterpret the lived experience of real historical figures. You’ll meet William "Blind" Boone, who testifies to Scott Joplin’s greatness at a time when "Alexander’s Ragtime Band" by Irving Berlin used uncredited sections of Joplin’s work; Sissieretta Jones, an operatic star who elevates what a "revue" show could be; and other African American musical stars of the early 20th century. Despite the Emancipation of African Americans and the rise of Tin Pan Alley, these gifted composers and musicians continued to experience appropriation of their work and, often, lack of remuneration.

In this context, the word "olio" also means a hodgepodge, or a miscellaneous collection of literary or musical selections; taken as a whole, the triumphant performances of Olio Live ask listeners to consider the nature of identity, performance, and ever-present history. Tyehimba Jess and Yahdon Israel immortalize and embody a long tradition of African American "citizenship through musicianship" in this timeless live audio.

Cover art photo by Rog and Bee Walker

©2016 For poems: Tyehimba Jess (P)2019 Audible Originals, LLC.
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Profile Image for Clay
  • Clay
  • 12-06-19

Audible needs an extra star

The performance of this production needs at least one extra star. This was Amazing!! The content - especially the poetry was superb. But the performance! Oh the performance!! Gotta go so I can play this again.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Jackie GREEN
  • 09-06-19

BEAUTIFUL

This poetry story was Amazing! I am so happy I've listened. The writer is so knowledgeable and passionate about his work! His love for black music, history, and our (black people's) truth shines through and I thank him so very much for sharing♡.

29 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • SF Granny
  • 08-06-19

Great stories about now forgotten musicians

The tale of the horribly exploited Blind Tom was a good way to introduce the audience to the theme of African American musicians finding their music and their voice. The device of learning about Scott Joplin's life through a second person interview was brilliant Well worth your time.

26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Stephanie
  • 10-06-19

Truly breathtaking!

This was the performance I didn't know I needed! I was gripped from the start. I will absolutely look for more of his work, as this performance was an awakening! New fan!!!

7 people found this helpful

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  • Qtsbuster
  • 11-06-19

Grew Up Near Sedalia, MO

Enjoyed this. I grew up in Warrensburg, MO, which is right next to Sedalia, MO, so was always familiar with Blind Boone and Scott Joplin. It was fun to hear the stories.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Sandy N.
  • 15-06-19

Missed the mark

I was disappointed that there was very little music in this performance . Dialogue and poetry made up the first part. The stories were interesting but for the most part they weren’t told in a very compelling way

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Evonne
  • 12-06-19

Blown Away !

An ode to Black Musicians pre- recording era.. Lovely. Historical and well put together 10/10 I wish it was longer. More please :)

3 people found this helpful

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  • Heidi Holst
  • 12-06-19

This is amazing

The poetry was stunning; its vibrancy and intricacy of form just blew me away.

The stories of these performers lives and struggles against continual racism and abuse by the whites around them was wholly mesmerizing and angering.

And the performers? One of the most talented multi-voice recordings I have listened to (and I have rather a large audio collection, hmm hmm). Everyone was so strong.

My only "complaint" about this performance?

I didn't get to see it live.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kingsley
  • 10-06-19

Beat poetry and other live performance

Olio Live is objectively good. It is full of talented individuals telling interesting and important stories, in fresh and interesting ways. But for me, personally, I only somewhat enjoyed it. I was enjoyable, but not something I'm likely to revisit or go out of my way for.

The stories are told through spoken word, through music, beat poetry (including some cool sounded stuff where to people alternate, bouncing off one another) and even one through operatic singing. They are stories of African american artists and how they have been treated in the music industry. I love history and this is a part that I would like to know more of.

For me the medium, while very different and cool, makes me lose the message in there. It is a lot of poetry and I have never found poetry overly accessible. After having finished it I couldn't tell you anything of what it the individual stories were. It was an interesting experience, truly something different from what I would normal listen to or see live. For that alone I'm glad I listened.

The sound quality is good. It is live and has all that comes with that.

If you like poetry, or just really want to try something unique and different, then I would recommend giving this a go.

(And for the record I am Australian and very white. Maybe that impacts how I experience and enjoy this)

11 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Steff Doles
  • 10-06-19

A lovely remembrance.

This is really nice if you like very poetic/lyrical conversations and stories. Also, if you want to learn about some interesting artists that time forgot you will enjoy this one.

4 people found this helpful