Monday, March 31, 2008

I'll snicker while you preen

I've got a couple of (late) reviews in the hopper, but in the meantime, here are some links:

First, a new link. Rebecca Pacheco, a friend and one of my early yoga teacher, has started a blog, OmGal, with lots of good yoga info.

Darcy gets all irrational. I mentioned it in the comments, but it feels like we're reaching a point in improvised music where the notation is not keeping up with the expression, especially in communicating 3:4 and 4:3 relationships. (See Maria Schnieder, Kenny Garrett, Lovano, and so many others) I like the fairly elegant solution he reaches.

Byron Katie tells her daughter about her day. This woman continues to blow my mind.

Quite awhile ago I linked to a rather lopsided tenor summit of Scott Hamilton and Wayne Shorter. But this blows it out of the water- Luciano Pavarotti and... Bryan Adams. Even ten years past his A-game, Pavarotti giggles, then wipes the floor with Mr. "Everything I Do". (via the Sports Guy) I should mention a personal animus here- I had to play a bad medley of "Everything I do..." and "All for Love" four times a week for several months on Cruise Ship X. But even if I thought he was godly, he is awesomely bad here, and he realizes it too late. (Of course, there's a link from that page of Adams, Pavarotti and Andreas Botticelli singing "All for Love", which is an embarrassment to all involved. I'll never understand...)

Nate Chinen reviews Ornette in New York. What are the odds of him ever hitting Boston again?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

now I really can't throw any curveballs

I am nursing my first ever yoga injury, a sprained right wrist which, among other joys, limits me to one-handed typing. Blogging is now even more awkward than usual, and will resume soon.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

these people are a part of me

In my freshman year at Eastman, I became a member of Corpus Christi Church on East Main Street, now known as the Spiritus Christi community. It was a open, very progressive Catholic church, (Yes, I know that that seems like a contradiction in terms to many folks) who tithed more than 10% of its weekly collection to local and national charities, who had a woman deacon (!), a large gay ministry, and a policy that communion was open to all, no questions, no judgements. (Any Catholics reading this know how far left that is, especially in 1993.) There were things about Corpus that I found downright strange, or corny, or abrasive some times, but the remarkable feeling of community I found, both with others in the parish and in the “union with Christ” sense that churches love to talk about but rarely live up to, is one I've never quite matched before or since. While I no longer call myself Catholic, in large part because of how my community was basically told to leave the Roman Catholic Church, that place is a huge part of my spiritual formation, and informs my goals and behaviors as an artist and teacher in ways I rarely think about, but always know. (A decent wiki entry about Corpus/Spiritus is here)

I bring this up in chewing on Barack Obama's monumental, much talked about speech yesterday. (I swear at the gym I teach at this morning that even ESPN and the Cartoon Network had Obama coverage.) For what it's worth, I thought it was a remarkable piece of rhetoric, for it's language, it's thoughtfulness, and the fact that he didn't really take the easy way out. I had other reactions that are better articulated by others:

Matana's reaction resonated with me tremendously- go read it. It's ridiculous and shameful that he had to give this speech in the first place (but God did he have to). I'm never asked to explain my Irish-ness, nor was John Kerry, nor Lieberman his Jewish-ness, nor Hillary or McCain explain their whiteness, ethnic or otherwise, but somehow every black person in the public square, scholar, artist, athlete, politician should somehow have to articulate, no, justify their blackness? That double standard is absurd on its face, but is taken for granted in American public life- huh?

The best political calculus I read was Glen Greenwald's- I think he analyzes it with a very clear head. (Which given how little I've thought of his last two weeks of posts, particularly about Spitzer, surprised me) From a tactical point of view, I think the best thing Obama supporters can do, (and Democrats in general, since Hillary can use this tactic if she wins) is to hammer at the double standard being presented between Obama's distancing himself from Rev. Wright, and John McCain's embrace of the far more toxic Rev. John Hagee. (I wrote a brief letter to the editor of the Globe today making this point about their token conservative Jeff Jacoby's shallow bromide about the speech this morning. Let's see if it gets published...) Greenwald gets into it more in a previous post well worth reading.

But getting back to Corpus Christi, people are in all kinds of communities for all kinds of reasons, and if you haven't belonged to a non-mainstream, open church, it can be hard to see the allure. Or why you'd stay even with a preacher who's up there yelling crazy things sometimes. But I firmly believe that the early Christian church, which most evangelicals give lip service to without having a bleepin' clue what that kind of community involves, looks a whole lot more like Spiritus Christi, or Reverend White's church in Chicago than it does Reverand Hagee's. And I'll throw my lot in with someone from that church every day of the week.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

RIP Dennis Irwin

The bassist is always the "musician's musician", and Dennis was that and a lot more. I remember seeing him with Scofield in the early 90s, and while fireworks went off everywhere in that band, he kept the ground soft for landing. Ethan's tribute is wonderful.

The Times obit is here. As I mentioned before in a post about Dennis and Andrew D'Angelo, in addition to supporting the worthy work for uninsured musicians Dennis' illness kickstarted, perhaps the best thing we can do is foment the real change we need so that everyone can get access to quality health care in this country.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

my shamrock falls on 2 and 4

March is looking like a good month for acts passing through Boston. My picks:

Best bets: 3/7- SFJazz Collective, Berklee Performance Center
3/27-29- Bill Frisell 858 Quartet, Regattabar

3/5 John Pattituci, Regattabar
3/13-14- Kurt Rosenwinkle Group, Regattabar
3/14-3/15- Elian Elias, Scullers
3/16- Metheny/McBride/Sanchez, Somerville Theatre
3/20- David Torn & Prezenz (w/Tim Berne, Craig Taborn), Reggatabar
3/20- Insight, Ryles
3/21-22- Kenny Barron, Regattabar
3/25- Aruan Ortiz w/Greg Osby
3/25- Dave Holland with Robin Eubanks, New England Conservatory
3/28- Leo Genovese, Ryles

More to come- please let me know what I missed.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Intergalactic, academic

This is a good month for improvised music in Boston. Full rundown coming, but first, this evening New England Conservatory is presenting a concert of the music of Sun Ra, led by Allan Chase, great saxophonist, teacher, and one of the world's foremost authorities on Ra's music. (Well, who hasn't played with him) It's at 8pm in the St. Botolph building, for free. Highly recommended.

P.S. I know blogging has been slow lately, for reasons I'm hoping to detail soon, all good things. But I'm hoping to pick things up shortly...