ImprovNotes February 2015 Artist of the Month: ted joans (1928-2003)
“Jazz is my religion, and Surrealism is my point of view.” Born in Cairo, Illinois in 1928, ted joans moved to New York City in 1951 and became one of the original beat poets. “If you didn’t know Ted,” writes Robin D.G. Kelley, “then you couldn’t really dig how the Village became hip in the 1950s.” Joans was a charismatic figure on the city’s arts scene; when his friend Charlie Parker died in 1955, joans paid tribute by writing the much-quoted graffiti on walls and hoardings throughout Lower Manhattan: “Bird Lives.” His career took him to residencies in Berlin, Paris, Tangier and Timbuktu. The author of over 30 books, he also wrote about music for the journals Jazz Magazine and Coda. In his last years he and his partner Laura Corsiglia lived in Vancouver, BC, where ted joans passed away in 2003.