Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bells will ring

Whew, now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

May calendar is coming, but before it's too late.  Bell, featuring old friends Olga Bell and Jason Nazary, is playing TT the Bear's tonight at 10:45 ish.  An early teaching date will probably keep me home, but Olga's music is great.

Then, on Saturday night, Cuddle Magic plays the Lizard Lounge.  Never have so many played so quietly.  Check it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

we don't always get to know

I got a couple of e-mails in response to my post about Gabe Feld's death- people who knew Gabe, but who I don't know, wanting to know more, and especially know why.  (I want to know too, dammit)  I wanted to post an (abridged) version of one of my replies.  Details about the recipient are deleted for obvious reasons.  Maybe it's useful to someone else:

I wish I had more answers for you- I didn't know Gabe really well; we ran in some of the same circles, and David Vendetti mentored both of us, but we weren't close.  I actually hadn't seen him for awhile.  I've heard scuttlebutt about what exactly happened, but beyond what I posted I don't know for sure, so don't want to spread information I'm not sure about.  No one I've talked to saw this coming. 
The especially confusing and maddening part of this situation is that Gabe was always, as you said, the bright light encouraging everyone to shine, and he wouldn't follow his own encouragement.  When I let myself feel, I get profoundly angry at him for all the mess he left here and the pain he brought forth by his leaving.  The key for me is not to try to bury how I feel, but to let it out.  If you're sad and haunted or angry or even giddy and whatever else, feel that completely, don't deny it's validity.  

My teacher David was saying that he's noticed in his grief that when he's with people, when he's doing his work and offering it up to Gabe's memory, it goes better than if he stays by himself and shuts off.  So I would encourage you to reach out to people in your life now- talk to the yoga friends, seek out our other teachers, talk to friends or family.  Look at gabe's facebook page, all those people pouring out their hearts.  I'm sure that any of them, if Gabe asked, would've come running to him and held his hand, and talked him through.  I'm equally confident, though I don't know you, that you have those people too.  Use them now.
I appreciate your confusion about yoga and breathwork- it's completely understandable.  I feel oddly lucky in that I've had yoga teachers who are brilliant teachers, thinkers and motivators who don't necessarily walk the talk very welll.  It drives home to me that our lives don't magically shift just because we land on the mat or breathe big.  It is a constant process, one step forwards and two steps back, and we fall often.  I love yoga because when I'm practicing or now teaching I feel like I can't help but put my best foot forward and shine.  But that doesn't make the other foot disappear- indeed, I couldn't walk without it.  I don't think- no, I know that Gabe's passing doesn't in any way diminish his work while he was here.  It just means he has another foot too. 
I am reminded of a story that Ram Dass tells in one of his books, where a disciple asks one of Ram Dass' gurus one of the "big questions"- is there reincarnation, why are we here, what happens when we die, something like that.  The teacher smiled and said "that's none of our business."  I think his point was not to be stern or awful, but to point out that our work is here and now, being, breathing feeling, and looking for big answers can take us away from that work. This is one of those things that we never get to know, because it's ultimately none of our business, as cruel as that seems.  Our business is being here now.  We who he leaves behind can only commit to doing our work, and honor the joy he brought us by spreading it. 
I realize that's probably a longer non-answer than you were looking for, but I hope it helps.  I hope I see you around.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

He juggled fire and it consumed him

RIP Gabriel Feld.  The Boston yoga community is reeling this weekend from Gabe's very sudden passing.  I knew Gabe from his work with my teacher David Vendetti- he was a very warm soul, a fire juggler (literally), and a passionate yogi and teacher.  

Gabe committed suicide, which makes his passing that much more painful and frustrating to those he leaves behind.  This is the second suicide I've seen this year in my yoga circles (proof, I suppose, that the practice, as amazing as it is, is not a panacea)  I would point back to the post I wrote after Boston frontman Rob Delp died.  I have no personal experience with clinical depression, so I can only imagine how alone one feels.  But I know for certain from the suicides I've seen that the people who died were so loved, and so supported, that if they had called for help people would've come running.  I encouraged my classes today, if you think you need help, please ask, and be completely available to help when you're needed.  I don't ever want to write this obit again.

Getting so much larger than life...

Congrats to two old comrades on some worthy recognition:

Darcy James Argue was featured this week in Newsweek as part of a piece about New Amsterdam Records.  I'm psyched for the new album to hit, so much so that I'll actually buy my own copy rather than crib a press one.  You should do likewise.   I hope none of this swells his head too much, and that he'll still let me crash on his couch occasionally...

Page one of the endangered Boston Globe featured the new indie film sensation "Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench", featuring none other than amazing local trumpeter Jason Palmer.  I am very blessed to work with Jason occasionally, and not surprisingly he's never mentioned the film to me- he's that kind of guy.  But he is an absolutely amazing player- I'm still in awe years later of just how much he kills my music every time he plays it.  By coincidence, I also have met Desire Garcia, the female lead, in academic circles.  Jason mentioned on his Facebook that he was trying to set up a Boston screening soon- I hope so.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

And the twelve-bar, anyone, anyone?

He's not as loaded as Ben Stein, but Ethan Iverson wants to give you $100 to blog about jazz.  Go, you know you want to.

On that note, I need to update the blogroll- this is school vacation/catch up week, so stay tuned.

On another note, as I mentioned in the gig list, the Jazz Composers' Workshop Band is playing NEC tonight at 8pm.  Especially in light of all the talk about big band in the blogosphere lately, it'll be interesting to see what the next generation is thinking (and writing) about.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The rest of the gigs to see for April

It's actually a good month for music here in Boston.  I'm sure I'm missing something- send it along:

Tonight (4/16)- Hey Rim Jeon @ Ryles

Tomorrow (4/17) - Fly @ Regattabar

Tomorrow- Roy Haynes Tribute w/Roy Hargrove @ Harvard University

Tomorrow- Jennifer Kimball @ Passim

Every Tuesday- Sessions Americana @ Lizard Lounge

Tuesday 4/21- New England Conservatory Jazz Composers' Ensemble

Wednesday 4/22 Kevin Harris Project @ Scullers

Thursday 4/23 Nick Payton @ Scullers

Friday 4/24 Frank Carlberg record release, followed by Allan Chase @ Lily Pad

4/25  starts "Jazz Week"  in Boston (more on this later)

4/29  3 Play w/Phil Grenadier @ Lily Pad

4/30 Third World Love feat. Avishi Cohen @ Regattabar

4/30 Five Peace Band: Corea/McLaughlin/Garrett/McBride/Blade @ Berklee Performance Center

4/30 Jeff Galindo w/Jerry Bergonzi @ Beehive

5/2 Cuddle Magic @ Lizard Lounge

Florencio Gonzalez Big Band @ Ryles

After all the hulabaloo online this past month about a recent big band canon (more on that later), I was excited to see a young big band live for the first time in awhile.  I stumbled on Ms. Gonzales in researching my "gigs to see" post for March, and was really struck by the music I heard.  I caught a (short) second set at Ryles last night.  While I didn't hear anything that would vault her onto Mr. Kirchner's must hear list, Ms. Gonzalez is a fine young writer well worth following.  

The set opened with an arrangement of Sonny Rollins' "Blue 7" that sounded like it had evolved out of a school writing project- very smart dissonant opening, harmonized melody, solos with various backgrounds, sax soli, and out.  (across the chart Florencia showed a cheeky way with endings.)  She followed with "a 12 tone tune" (she actually never gave any chart titles from the stage, which was mildly annoying, especially for a reviewer).  It was an interesting piece, shifting temops and feels while keeping the pitch material present, mixing in short solos throughout.  There were some nice spots, particularly towards the end when a groove started after a slow unison band line, but the piece as a whole didn't quite hang together.  The soloists here did a nice job of using the more atonal language of the piece to build their solos around. (Maybe they read Ethan's request on this.)  Trombonist Ryan Drayson (forgive me, I'm going by my notes) stood out.

The last two pieces were the best of the set, introduced as a tango and a chacarerra (sp?).  The tango leads off her website, but was a little quicker this evening.  Both tunes were orchestrally bright and rhythmically engaging, with sharp writing throughout.  Overall the solos here were workmanlike- for my taste too often the solos didn't necessarily take the music anywhere, but the soloists themselves were engaged and solid, if not wildly interesting.  The huge band, augmented with a lot of extra woodwind players, was generally tight, quite an accomplishment with some very daring charts and I'm sure not much rehearsal time.  I'm excited to see as Ms. Gonzalez continues to evolve what she writes, because there is much here to enjoy.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

More April gigs to see

I hope to have a fuller list tomorrow, but highlights for this week:

Fly, with Mark Turner, Larry Grenadier and Ben Street are following their well;-hyped new record with two nights with Berklee students at Cafe 939, Wednesday and Thursday, and a more traditional Friday night at the Regattabar.  I'm going to try to make Thursday- get there early, it will be a mob scene, I expect.

The Tipton Quartet, featuring Lounge Lizard Jessica Lurie, will play with the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble at Dante's Club in Somerville (Map here).  The story behind the group is fascinating, and the playing is good too...