A long way from the block
Stories of how passion and craft take us to different corners of the world.@alongwayfromtheblock@dialoguesofjazz
A Long Way From The Block Trailer
Jun 5 2021
Born in Grenada and raised in Brooklyn. My conversation with Gregg Bishop, Executive Director of the Social Justice Fund.
Gregg Bishop is currently the Executive Director of the Social Justice Fund, an initiative funded by The Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation. The Social Justice Fund centers its work around racial justice and economic mobility. Bishop has over 13 years of government experience, serving under Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Bill de Blasio. From 2015-2020, he served as the Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS), where he was charged with running a dynamic City agency focused on equity of opportunity, leading to economic self-sufficiency and mobility for New York City diverse communities. During his tenure, he connected small businesses to over $200 million in capital, certified a record 9,000 Minority and Women business enterprises, connected over 100,000 New Yorkers to good-paying jobs, and invested over $10 million in capacity-building programs across the five boroughs. In addition, over 10,000 city residents were trained with new skills in the technology, healthcare, industrial and manufacturing, and hospitality sectors. He also developed and launched several initiatives aimed at structural barriers minorities face, including Black Entrepreneurs NYC (BE NYC) and Women Entrepreneurs NYC (WE NYC). Born in Grenada and raised in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, Bishop received a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing and Management Communication from Florida State University and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. in Business Administration from Florida A&M University.
1 hr 22 mins
How perseverance, dedication and passion for Afro-Cuban dance led Juan Carlos from Havana to world renown dancer and choreographer.
Juan Carlos Blanco Riera was born and raised in Havana, Cuba, where he performed with several professional companies for over 15 years before coming to the U.S. As a youth, he started his performance career with the folkloric arts group, Cumballe, and Oba Ilú, in his home town of Guanabacoa. He later joined one of Cuba's most renowned folkloric companies, Raices Profundas (Deep Roots), directed by Juan De Dios Ramos Morejon. He spent nine years with Raices Profundas, where he rose to the level of lead male dancer and soloist, touring Latin America and Asia.Mr. Blanco's desire to deepen his knowledge of his cultural expression drove him to become involved with several diverse art groups in Havana. He performed with Teatro de la Havana in a number of theatrical plays including De Mi Tierra Vengo, Maria Antonia, Santa Camila de la Havana Vieja, and Requip por Yarini. He danced, acted and choreographed with Arte Popular, a popular theater company directed by Tito Junco. Mr. Blanco performed with the innovative modern dance company Alabama. He also spent several years working with the Franco-Haitian company Ban Rra Rrá, directed by Isaias Rojas Ramirez as percussionist and instructor of Afro-Cuban dance.While in Cuba, he was charged with the responsibility of training both professional Cuban dancers and educating foreign students through the Instituto Superior de Arte and the Escuela Nacional de Arte. He served as artistic director for the folkloric ensemble Arawe that toured Peru in 1997. He also choreographed several productions in Havana, including Afro-Peru, a collaboration with Peruvian singer Argelia Fragoso, and Trilogia, produced with Raices Profundas.Since coming to the United States, Mr. Blanco has been featured in various Afro-Cuban productions in the California area as dancer and guest choreographer for groups such as Olorun, Alafia, and Taifa. In 1998 he founded the San Diego-based Afro-Cuban folkloric ensemble, Omo Aché, which serves and performs in schools, universities, and multi-cultural venues throughout California. For more information on classes, workshops and performances please visitomoachecubanculture.org
Jan 17 2022
1 hr 37 mins
A MAN OF FAITH. My interview with Michael Smith. Father, Husband, Mentor and Elder.
In this episode we talk in-depth about his upbringing in Jersey City and some of the valuable life lessons he learned from his Father, Reason Smith. We discuss his football career at Montclair State University. It was at College where he became more aware of African-American history, his Ancestors and those who paved the way for him. The Father of Hannibal Smith who I recently interviewed in episode 20, he talks about their relationship and his other two sons, Michael Malik and Malcolm Coltrane, and his wife of 40 years Joyce Denise Dorsey. Lastly we discuss his faith and why it's important for him to be a pillar at his local church.
Jan 10 2022
1 hr 47 mins
From humble roots to working with some of the biggest names in Jazz, Chris Mees documents his journey.
Hard work and a drive to be one of the best Jazz booking and management agents in the country are some of things discussed in this episode. We start from his humble beginnings in Cody, Wyoming to Playing Jazz bass in New York City, to becoming owner of B Natural, Inc. After some trials and tribulations, and a spiritual quest he wound up at Oberlin College and Conservatory where he honed his skills in everything from Jazz theory, composition and improvisation. Now he books and manages some the great names in Jazz like Gerald Clayton, Joel Ross, Samara Joy and Theo Croker to name a few.
Jan 3 2022
1 hr 56 mins
From stickball to the big leagues, Tom Goodwin shares his love for the game and the importance of always having fun.
In this episode Tom Goodwin documents his humble beginnings in Fresno, CA to a 14 year career as a Major League Baseball player. Passion, perseverance and the joy of playing a childhood game are some of the reasons he credits for a successful career in baseball and in life. The son of a Judge and an Educator, he talks about what is was like to have a strong and supportive family and how it helped to mold him into the man he is today. Lastly we discuss his recent trip to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and how important it is to know the history of those that paved the way for him and many others.
Dec 27 2021
2 hrs 3 mins
"EXHAUST THE MOMENT" An in-depth conversation with fitness guru Hannibal Smith
What is it like to experience a tragic loss, working to overcome it and spending every waking day of your life as if it was your last? These are some of the things Hannibal addresses in this honest and passionate conversation. We also discuss his upbringing, the different parenting styles of his mother and father and the meaning of his name and what it means to him. We talk about his current position as co-owner and trainer of NXPT fitness studio in San Diego, and his love for teaching and training. Lastly Hannibal talks about the importance of his faith and how it as made him a better husband and father.
Dec 19 2021
2 hrs 23 mins
Frederick Marx discusses the value of rites of passage and mentorship in today's times.
During this episode Frederick Marx talks extensively about rites of passage programs, the Mankind Project, mentorship, meditation and the value of creating positive containers for young people. We discuss his inspiring documentary "Journey From Zanskar" featuring the Dali Lama with narration by Richard Gere. His five film mini-series "Veterans Journey Home". His recent book "Rites to a Good Life: Everyday Rituals of Healing". And lastly we talk about his classic documentary "Hoop Dreams" named the best documentary of all time by the Intl. documentary association.
Dec 13 2021
1 hr 21 mins
A conversation with Tenor Saxophonist, Bandleader and Educator Javon Jackson
Javon Jackson talks in depth about his early influences and how having strong and supportive parents helped to shape his musical journey. He shares some of the knowledge, wisdom , and life lessons he learned as a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, and from playing with legendary trumpeter Freddie Hubbard. We also discuss his time at Berklee College of Music, his current position at Hartford's Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz and his recent collaboration with Poet Nikki Giovanni.
Dec 6 2021
1 hr 32 mins
Ancestral Storyteller Alyce Smith Cooper talks family, community and the importance of knowing your history
During this episode I talk with Alyce Smith-Cooper, the Golden Brown Fairy Godmother.We talk about her upbringing in Riverside, CA and how much her grandmother meant to her.We also discuss her work in the theatre, her journey as a storyteller and her recent Legacy Artist Fellow Award from the California Arts Council.
Nov 29 2021
1 hr 23 mins
A Discussion on all things Jazz with historian, journalist and producer Ashley Kahn
During this episode we dive deep into all things Jazz. We discuss the early pioneers who helped shape this great music. We talk about his journey in becoming one of the most important voices in documenting Jazz music. We also talk about what went into writing his most critically acclaimed books, "A Love Supreme" by John Coltrane and "Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis.
Nov 22 2021
1 hr 31 mins
Family, Football and Fiction. A conversation with Andre Hardy.
The 4th installment from City Heights/East Dago legends. During this extensive and in depth conversation, Andre Hardy discusses his mother and the important life lessons she taught him. We also talk about his athletic career at Hoover High School and some of the transgressions that followed soon after. We talk about the legendary Turkey Bowl and what it meant to us. And finally we discuss his College Football and NFL career, Jazz music, becoming a writer and meeting Walter Mosley.
Nov 15 2021
2 hrs 56 mins
An in depth conversation with my childhood coach and mentor "Yogi" Najera
The 3rd installment from City Heights/East Dago legends. During this episode I talk with Highland Park coach and Hoover High class of 1980 alum "Yogi" Najera. We talk about his early influences and what is was like to be a part of an incredible community. We also discuss the importance of family, playing in the famous "cage", and the ups and downs of a 30 year employee for the city of San Diego.
Nov 8 2021
1 hr 53 mins
Jazz Drummer and New Orleans native Joe Dyson talks about his musical journey
During this episode Joe Dyson talks in depth about playing in church as a very young boy, and growing up around many great leaders, and mentors. He talks about the influence of his father Rev. Dr. J.C. Dyson, Sr. who makes a guest appearance on his recent album "A Look Within". We discuss his mentor Big Chief Donald Harrison and what he has meant to his music career and his life in general. Joe also breaks down his knowledge and understanding of the technical aspects of playing the drums.
Nov 1 2021
1 hr 27 mins
A conversation with Eso Won Books co-owner James Fugate
Eso Won Books which means "Water Over Rocks" in the Ethiopian Amharic language was founded in 1989. During this episode we discuss James Fugate's upbringing in Detroit before eventually making his way to South Central Los Angeles. He talks about his passion for books and what it's meant to be apart of a bookstore that's been a beacon of light and culture in the Historic Leimert Park community.
Oct 24 2021
2 hrs 3 mins
From Saint Lucia to London England, Kervin Marc documents his amazing journey.
During this episode Kervin talks about life in Saint Lucia as a kid before moving to London at age 9. After major culture shock he found the game of Cricket where he became an elite player. We also discuss his time at art college and his passion for clothes which led him to become a world renowned fashion designer.
Oct 17 2021
1 hr 6 mins
Mark Davis tells his amazing journey from the inner city to Major League Baseball
During this episode Mark talks about what it was like growing up in City Heights with a father as a Police Officer, and how two supportive parents helped his dream come true. We also talk about his amazing journey from little league baseball to the major leagues. From playing strike out in his driveway with Charles Steel to watching his older brothers play sports at a high level. Currently a defense lawyer he talks about getting his law degree after his long and arduous baseball life ended.
Oct 10 2021
A conversation with Lolis Elie, writer, journalist, filmmaker, and food historian.
During this episode we discuss his passion for Southern food, specifically BBQ. We also talk about his writing for the HBO series Treme and what is what like to be in the writers room with David Simon and Eric Overmyer. We talk about Jazz, Mardi Gras Indians and how important it is to preserve the history and culture of New Orleans.
Oct 3 2021
1 hr 19 mins
A Conversation with Be Bop legend Charles McPherson
During this episode Mr. McPherson talks about his upbringing in West Detroit. It was there where he would stand outside the famous Detroit Jazz Club Blue Bird Inn and listen to the house band which included Barry Harris on piano Paul Chambers on bass and Elvin Jones on drums. We also discuss his playing with Charles Mingus from 1960-1972. He also tells a story about meeting Charlie Parker as a teenager and how Parker's music influenced an entire generation of Jazz musicians.
Sep 19 2021
1 hr 1 min
"The Jazz Journey" By Chuck McPherson
Jazz drummer Chuck McPherson gives his perspective on the history of Jazz. From African slaves arriving in Congo Square New Orleans to Charlie Parker and many other legendary Jazz musicians who shaped and molded this great art form.
Sep 8 2021
My first Coach. An in depth conversation with Coach Rick Javey
During this episode, Rick talks about his basketball career at Hoover High School, coaching and mentoring many of us as the Rec leader at Highland Park. We also discuss his time with the legendary John Wooden and hanging out with George (Iceman) Gervin. We also dive into his chemical dependencies and how he was able to come out of it a better man.
Aug 26 2021
2 hrs 3 mins