Soul Release Returns to Main Street!

November 19, 2009 9 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Soul Release, the seminal event that is most identified with the boom era of Main Street in Springfield has finally returned home, ironically enough at 9th and Main. Tiffany Duhart and Emanuel Washington are back up and running at KrisTee's Jazz Club. This is the kind of news that Springfield's beleaguered Main Street needs, and with the completion of the Main Street Project rapidly approaching, the timing couldn't be better. Will it be enough to jumpstart Main Street's Night Life?

Soul Release is a spoken word performance series created by Nokturnal Escape Entertainment, one of the longest running local independent arts groups as well as one of the most respected names in urban and neo soul entertainment in the United States.  Created by the dynamic and tireless team of Tiffany Duhart and Emanuel Washington, the series has survived multiple venue changes, shifting tastes, and the collapse of the entertainment economy with remarkable aplomb and with all the legitimacy and inspiration still intact.

It is that company that 50 years later, people will lie to their grandkids about having been a part of, so profound has their contribution to the local art and music scene been.

The event comprises hip hop, spoken word and poetry, neo soul and jazz performances and even the occasional gospel act.  The diversity and talent of the crowds that Soul Release draws are nearly inconceivable with any of the other arts institutions of the city.

Many of the top names and performers of the industry, both nationally and locally have been featured on the stages that Soul Release has provided, but this is equally weighted with the original programming created and sponsored by Nokturnal Escape.

Shows like From Billie to Badu have electrified audiences and commanded extended plays (unheard of in most of the Jacksonville entertainment community) and the virtuouso performances by entertainers like Goapele and Leon Timbo have brought to Jacksonville moments of incomparable greatness---most of which has gone completely unnoticed by what passes for the mainstream media and arts coverage.

The incredibly beautiful and talented Goapele

The Unduplicable Lady G in a full throated spoken word performance

National Slam Champion Buddy Wakefield

Larry Knight, David Pugh and Al Letson in their trio performance:  Griots

At the height of the Main Street Revival (2002-2005) Soul Release crowds drew hundreds for each showing at Boomtown Theater, with cars parked from 4th to 10th street and walking traffic that powered an incredibly hip and urban vibe on the venerable thoroughfare every Saturday Night.

The next show features one of the most stellar performers of the Soul Release Pantheon, Miss Akia Uwanda (jazz funk vocalist, actress and model)

And what a scintillating creature is Miss Uwanda.
 In addition to being a founding member of the Mosaic Model Management Agency, Akia Uwanda is also lead vocalist for the soul jazz funk band, Evenstill and has performed at the Beaches Summer Jazz Concert Series, Casa Marina, Boomtown Theatre, Three Layers Cafe and opened for Earth Wind and Fire at the Florida Black Expo. As an actress, she has performed in Dreamgirls (Alhambra Theatre), Black Nativity (Stage Aurora), Majigeen (Boomtown Theatre), From Billie To Badu and Lady Philadelphia (Karpeles Museum),
In December, Soul Release will be featuring one of the great talents of this city, Mr. Leon Timbo with his traditional day after Christmas Performance that began in 2004 at Boomtown on Main.  Timbo's music is deeply spiritual, multi textured, cross genre and so moving that its almost a religious experience just to be in the room while his massive ensembles and deep soulful vocals are performing.

Leon Timbo

Soul Release is every Third Saturday Night at Kristee's Jazz and Fine Dining
(formerly 9th and Main)
1850 N. Main St. Jacksonville, FL in historic Springfield
Includes a full bar (mixed drinks, beer and wine) and
food (chicken wings, shrimp, calamari and more)
Admission: $5 for artists and $10 general audience

For more information Call Tiffany Duhart at 904-626-8218
From Nokturnal Escape's MySpace Page:

Established in 1999, Nokturnal Escape Entertainment, LLC is a lifestyle entertainment company specializing in event planning, urban marketing and talent booking services. Our mission is to create and assist organizations in developing innovative entertainment experiences through the arts, music and culture. We have produced events such as spoken word poetry readings, theater productions, music concerts and fashion shows. In addition, we have organized entertainment for festivals (First Wednesday Downtown Artwalk, World of Nations-African Village, Chaos Fair, Kuumba African and African American Festival, and the Florida Black Expo), corporations (Metris Corporation and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida), arts institutions (African American Cultural Arts Council of Putnam County and African American Cultural Society-Palm Coast) and various entertainment venues.

We are best known for Soul Release Poetry, the longest running spoken word poetry event in northeast Florida. This premier event has featured some of the best poets in the country such as Taalam Acey (international slam champion), Georgia Me (Def Poetry Jam), Poetri (Def Poetry Jam), and Buddy Wakefield (2004/2005 Individual World Poetry Champion.
Founded by Emanuel Washington (Creative Director) and Tiffany Duhart (Managing Director), our team consists of a rotating cast of support staff: Chanel(co-host of Soul Release), DJ Al Pete, Marcus, Orain, Fatima, Jason (video) and Douglas (photography). Our rotating team: Kat (former host of Soul Release), DJ Wiz, DJ Shotgun, DJ Jessica, and DJ Caz and all poets, artists, and musicians that support us.

We have also produced other events such as,

    * Soul Release Live, soul jazz funk jam session featuring the best soul music, such as Goapele, Jaguar Wright, Anthony David, PJ Morton, Oktborworld, Damian Lamar, Kia Aliece, Even Still, Shawn Matthew, Issac Byrd with Project Fuck and more -
    * Escape Cinema Cafe, an independent film showcase featuring African American filmmakers
    * Cross Examination and How Black Is Your Coffee? A Poetic Play, two original urban theatre productions
    * Jacksonville Fashion Fusion, an annual fashion shows featuring urban designers
    * and plus various CD Listening parties for artists such as Jill Scott, John Legend and Kindred The Family Soul.

We currently produce our biweekly spoken word poetry soul music experience, Soul Release Saturday at 9th and Main (150-200 seated restaurant and performance space in historic Springfield near downtown Jacksonville. All spoken word poets, lyricists and singers are welcome to perform at Soul Release Poetry, the longest running open mic in northeast Florida. If you are interested in being featured spoken word poet or musician at Soul Release Saturday at 9th and Main please contact us at

Soul Release Live - Past Performers: Goapele, Jaguar Wright, Anthony David, PJ Morton, Darnell Levine, The Light, Waterseed, Kelsy Davis Radical Soul, Salakida, Ken J Martin, W. Ellington Felton with Bilal Saalam, Julie Dexter with Michael Johnson, Kelly Love Jones, Oktoberworld, Kendra Foster, Socorro, Lotus, Ken J Martin, Malachi, J Winston, Kai Aliece, T76, Leon Seymore, Band of Destiny, Damian Lamar, Even Still and more

Soul Release Poetry - Past Performers: Taalam Acey, Ainsley Burrows, Queen Sheba, Georgia Me, Poetri, Lamar Hill, Jon Goode, Abyss, Malik Salaam, Buddy Wakefield, LIFE, Black on Black Rhyme, Jahipster, ASIA, Cuban, Tonya Smart, Knightkrawler, Moe, Al Letson, David Pugh, Larry Knight, Lady G, Malikah Hameen, Koffee, Lizz Straight, Freedom Speaks, Shadokat, John "Survivor" Blake, Jahipster, Christa Bell, Carlos Robson, Flowmentalz, 13th of Nazareth, Soul Evans, Jive Poetic, Mahogany Brown, Tommy Bottom, Soul Evans, Samantha Thornhill and more (its been 7 years).