Jason "Blackbird" Selman was born in Canada of Barbados descent. He has been part of the Montréal music scene for the last 10 years as trumpeter, poet, and socially engaged artist. He is a member of the collective KalmUnity, Nomadic Massive. More recently, Mr. Selman has used these talents in the service of Montréal’s Black Theatre Workshop Youth Works theatre program.
In May of 2005, he undertook the role of producer for the poetry, music and song series Intimate Sky, a showcase for some of Montréal’s most talented performers. In May of 2006 his play Death of the Bourgeois Dream was performed by members of the Youth Works team and in July of that year, he participated in Habana, Cuba’s annual Hip Hop Symposium as part of Live Hip Hop group Nomadic Massive. In January of 2007, he co-edited Talking Book, an anthology of poetry featuring members of the KalmUnity collective.
His first collection of poems The Freedom I Stole was published by Cumulus Press in 2007. Most of the poems are meditations on important jazz performances and provide a note at the end specifying the artist, album, and date of recording, but not, fortunately, all the personnel. Some of the performances selected have strong social relevance, others represent sheer joy and inventiveness. The verse responding to the songs shows its musical roots mostly through parallelism. Interestingly, Selman's verbal imagination is freer in the occasional prose poems, where he is less abstract.