Marc Kelly Smith is creator and founder of the Uptown Poetry Slam at the Green Mill Club in Chicago. Chalking more than 2000 performances in clubs, concert halls, and festivals in the United States and Europe, Marc continues to host and perform every month at the Green Mill, while always looking for new projects – such as the Last Word – to broaden the space for contemporary verse.
The Last Word Quintet on the Square in Woodstock - 2021.
Bob Long has performed as a composer and jazz pianist nationally and internationally at the Chicago Jazz Festival twice, JVC Jazz Festival in New York, the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, and the North Sea Jazz Festival. He and saxophonist Brian Gephart have recorded six CDs with the Gephart-Long Quartet for the Birch Tree label. Al and Bob have been musical collaborators for many years and Bob has been a musical part of Marc’s poetry slam on and off for decades.
Al Day has been hailed "Most Promising Songwriter" by Chicago Magazine and has appeared in clubs and colleges throughout the United States and on radio and TV shows as WFMT's "Midnight Special" and WTTW's "Sound Stage." Beyond collaborating as a musician and writer with Last Word members, Al has written librettos for several of Doug Lofstrom’s musical theater works, including the opera Two Soldiers.
All photos on this site by Tanya Tucka.
Brian Gephart leads his own jazz sextet, the Brian Gephart Group. He has performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival, The Chicago Jazz Festival, the Taste of Chicago, and most of the Chicago jazz clubs. Besides teaching private lessons, Brian also coaches the jazz combos at Evanston Township High School. The Last Word has adapted several of the many songs that Brian has written.
Doug Lofstrom has been composing prolifically since the 1970’s and his works have been performed by the St. Louis, Atlanta and Oregon Symphony Orchestras. In 2001, he formed The New Quartet, a versatile chamber ensemble which performs his original music and modern classics, jazz and world music. He has taught music at Columbia College in both a full-time and part-time capacity since 1986. Over the years, he has collaborated with Al Day on numerous songs and musical theater projects.