Brent and Amy Bagwell bring unique poetry and Jazz experience to Plaza Midwood

 By Matt Cosper

September 27, 2017

The Bagwells are at it again and that is good news for those of you who nurture curiosity and a sense of adventure in your hearts. Amy is a poet, professor and visual artist, one of the minds behind Wall Poems of Charlotte and Goodyear Arts. Brent is one half of the jazz duet, Ghost Trees, the undisputed local masters of ferocious, sorcerous, and way out there jazz. Both of them served as two of the founding curators of the New Frequencies series at McColl Center, bringing adventurous jazz, literature, film and dance to Charlotte audiences. These are good witches, y’all; the antithesis of stuffy or pretentious. What a lucky bit of irony that jazz and poetry, two art forms commonly (mis)perceived as the height of stuffiness and gray pretension, have them as their champions.

Brent Bagwell photo by Dane Abernathy

And so what have these two cooked up for you now?

“The Antidote” is a code word used by the Bagwells to signify artistic work that comes from a source of deep truth and authenticity. It’s the work of “The Torchbearers” as Brent puts it, “an Antidote to the ‘photocopy of a photocopy’ work that is the new norm.” Besides functioning as shorthand for the good stuff, The Antidote is a new jazz and poetry performance series running three Friday nights in October at Petra’s in Plaza Midwood.

To clarify, this isn’t necessarily jazz and poetry in combination, nor is it a “theme night” event. The work presented,  is intended to stand alone in the moment of its presentation. The larger genius of these events is about context. By putting quality work in the same lineup, chance, serendipity and the infinite are invited to illuminate something in these relations, perhaps something unique in each mind present.

Ghost Trees

In case that fancy verbiage put the fear into you, please allow me to reiterate my sense that, above all, The Antidote will be Fun. Petra’s is one of the easiest and most welcoming venues in the whole city and, the special gift I’ve learned, is a warm-blooded desire to make art that all kinds of people can plug into. Poet Justin Evans, who will be featured at the first Antidote on October 6 puts it well when he says: “I used to want to learn how to make poetry people could mosh to and that kind of medicine is still the goal…fellowship through laughter and the emulsification of divine shit and vulgar shit and absurdism…And anxiety relief.”

The Antidote, anchored by Ghost Trees performances, will boast featured guests from the international jazz circuit as well as readings by poets from around the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic.

Here’s the full lineup at Petra’s:

October 6, 2017:

Ghost Trees, Jacob Wick (trumpet player and experimentalist out of Mexico City), Nathaniel Mackey (poet from Durham), free jazz trio Ballister, along with local poet and co-conspirator behind the psychedelic podcast Mystery Meat, Justin Evans.

October 13, 2017:

Ghost Trees, poets Kate Claesson and Morri Creech, saxophone player Kent O’Doherty, and the “avant garde party music” of Norwegian jazz quartet Cortex

October 20, 2017:

Ghost Trees, poetry from Amy Bagwell and Virginian Jon Pineda, jazz pianist Burton Greene out of Amsterdam, and Chicago avant-jazz trio Hearts and Minds.

Check out more events at Petra’s.

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