John Sinclair is a poet from Detroit who has cut a wide swath as a prolific cultural worker, an innovative bard who sets his verse to music from the blues and jazz tradition, a dynamic performer and bandleader who has collaborated with scores of outstanding musicians in performance and recordings, an acclaimed editor, leading music journalist, award-winning radio broadcaster and record producer, an iconoclastic educator and lecturer, and a passionate crusader against the War on Drugs for more than 50 years.
Sinclair founded and directed the Detroit Artists Workshop, managed the MC-5, formed the White Panther Party, produced the Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival, directed the Detroit Jazz Center, taught Blues History in the music department at Wayne State University, edited City Arts Quarterly for the Detroit Council of the Arts, produced Piano Night at Tipitina’s for the Professor Longhair Foundation and the “live” broadcast of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival for WWOZ-FM. He spent three years in prison for marijuana offenses, overthrew the Michigan marijuana laws, helped institute Ann Arbor’s historic $5 fine for possession of weed, founded the Ann Arbor Hash Bash and served as High Priest of the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam.
Sinclair has collaborated with a brilliant array of contemporary musicians, from saxophone giants Archie Shepp, Marion Brown, Daniel Carter and Earl Turbinton to hornmen David Amram, Michael Ray, Charles Moore, James Andrews and Kermit Ruffins, guitarists Wayne Kramer, Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Willie King, Jim McCarty and Jeff “Baby” Grand, and West African griots Bala Tounkare and Guelel Kuumba.
Sinclair has released more than 25 CDs, including several with his band of Blues Scholars, and his recent books include It’s All Good—A John Sinclair Reader, Song of Praise: Homage to John Coltrane, Sun Ra Interviews & Essays (editor), a book of blues verse called Fattening Frogs For Snakes, and i mean you: a book for penny.
Listen to John on the Radio Free Amsterdam site: https://radiofreeamsterdam.org/
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