Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ring it in, Ring it in, it in ring, in ring it...

The marquis event of New Year's Eve in Boston for more than thirty years has been First Night Boston, a celebration of culture all over Boston. This year might bring the best gig of December anywhere- John Hollenbeck, fresh off his critically acclaimed big band record, brings his Claudia Quintet with guest Gary Versace, to the First Church in Boston. $18 dollars gets you two sets, plus the hundreds of other events of the evening. I have a prior commitment, but the last time I saw Claudia I was knocked out, and I'm sure this will be no different.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

RIP Charlie Banacos

I just found out through a yoga student tha Charlie Banacos, legendary Boston area piano and improvisation teacher, passed away earlier this month after a brief battle with cancer. Globe obit here. Charlie is legendary locally for his vast encyclopedia of teaching techniques and exercises, and he no doubt profoundly influenced the teaching (and playing) technique and style of Jerry Bergonzi, Danielo Perez, and many other teachers locally and nationally. I know a lot of the stuff I got in high school that really propelled my playing forward on a nuts and bolts level came indirectly from Charlie.

Charlie is remembered by students as an unassuming and nurturing teacher, who as one student said, "made you feel like you were the only student he'd ever had." His wisdon and light will be sorely missed.

Links and rememberences as I find them- former Charlie students, please add your thoughs and memories in the comments section.

UPDATE: A tribute from bassist Jeff Berlin at All About Jazz
Warren Senders blogs about Charlie's last days.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The chorus' awful long, but it's a good refrain...

Interesting, if somewhat anachronistic piece in Wednesday's NY Times about how a new radio ratings system is changing the ratings themselves. Specifically, people who say they listen to classical stations are fibbing at least sometimes, and men listen to more soft rock than they care to admit. Color me unsurprised. A pleasant surprise is that conservative talk radio is not quite as big as we thought...

The bigger question is what, if anything, does this mean. Radio doesn't carry the same weight as it used to, especially in breaking new acts, and the industry (save perhaps sports talk, which around here is only growing.) How do you, dear readers, get word of new music, especially new jazz/creative improv/left of center pop? Word of mouth? Blogs? Pandora. (Full disclosure, I am prepping a new album, so I will use this info)

In the same section, the Times critic clearly aren't too thrilled with what's actually making it to pop radio. Go figure... This is the snarkiest thing I've read this side of Pitchfork in awhile...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Twist us, roll us in your mouth, light us up and take a hit...

(Any excuse to quote Prince is a good one...)

As some of you know, I am a volunteer for YogaHope, a wonderful non-profit that provides free yoga to women in transition from difficult (read hellish) situations, often substance abuse or domestic violence. I have been working with YH for more than two years, and firmly believe in the mission and the work of this organization.

And I'm putting my money where my mouth is- I am auctioning myself off, both as a musician and a yogi. You can have an intimate concert with my duo, or a yoga private lesson with me, for well below my retail value. (Well, hopefully well above, but, y'know.) The auction ends sometime on Sunday. Right now I'm a bargain, and them some... let's change that.

Seriously, Yogahope is a great organization, and I hope you'll consider bidding on me, or many of the other very cool items available. I would be very grateful.

P.S. Much love to BTI Consultants, one of whose executives is a yoga client of mine, for making YogaHope one of their two holiday donation recipients. We are tremendously thankful!

Monday, December 07, 2009

You can't have enough orgies...

December is here in Boston, and we have the snow to prove it. We also have the annual WHRB orgies, long stretches of a single artist or motif. I'm a big fan, and hope you will listen either online or at 95.3FM in the Boston area. The whole schedule is here, and there's a whole lotta Chopin, but here are my highlights.

Wednesday 12/9, 5am-7pm, and Thursday 12/10, 4am-1pm: the Jazz Royals orgy, playing only those artists with King, Duke, etc. in their names. Silly gimmick, some great artists.
Friday 12/11, 5am-1pm: Messien and Radiohead. Looks intriguing.
Week of12/14 5am-2pm (Monday through Friday): Yuseff Lateef Orgy
Saturday 12/19 through Monday: Arvo Part Orgy
Monday 12/21: Modern Jazz Quartets and Quintets Orgy. (Or, just another Jazz Spectrum...)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

No-no radio

I apologize, again I have screwed up. While WGBH is keeping it's jazz programming, as well as A Celtic Sojourn and Prarie Home Companion, it is dumping all of its weekend folk and blues programming in favor of talking heads. GBH announcement here. The Notlob blog brought this to my attention. The blog also lists what you can do to at least try to change things. (Local people, I would call WGBH and tell them you will not give them money until they start programming more music. May not help, can't hurt.) If you are a member, cancel your membership immediately. It seem that only money talks for them...

This is really bad news. As I said when I first posted on this, with WBUR already an all news/talk station, we really don't need this. Dan at Soundslope wrote about this awhile back when something similar happened in Chicago- read it. In short it's about the money. (Grimace mutter grumble...)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

You make me happy when skies are grey...

NPR is streaming a Bill Frisell concert at the Kennedy center. Click here to listen.

On another media note, WGBH had indeed taken over WCRB, as mentioned earlier. The good news is, at least so far, they are keeping their evening and weekend programming the same, which means jazz, Celtic and folk music are safe for now. Do e-mail them and ask them to use this new bandwidth to expand jazz programming, now, wouldja?