At our concert at the Salt Lake City Jazz Festival in September close to 400 people heard poems by Denise Duhamel, Li-Young Lee, Bob Hicok, Lorna Dee Cervantes and others who are well known among poetry aficionados - but perhaps not familiar beyond. I want to introduce this great body of work to audiences who otherwise might not encounter it - and to encourage other composers to do so.
The musical heart of jazz is improvisation. The singers and the instrumental musicians add color and warmth, thus contributing to a better understanding of the poems.
Jazz Voices of Poetry operates as a non-profit endeavor - the equivalent of "open source" software in the tech world. I want to encourage other composers to write songs to existing poetry.