Monday, May 18, 2009

RIP K. Pattabhi Jois

Pattabhi Jois, affectionately known as Guruji, is dead at age 93 or 94.  Jois studied in his youth with yoga legend Krishnamacharya, and from some of his teaching developed the asana system known as Ashtanga yoga.  Here is Jois talking about the practice.

I've studied Ashtanga only indirectly; the only formal Ashtanga classes I took really didn't agree with my body.  But I am very grateful to Guruji nonetheless.  The Ashtanga yoga format, and indeed some of the energy that makes it go, comes directly from the Ashtanga practice, and since the power practice is where I really developed, no Guruji, I'm still just playing music and probably in severe physical pain most hours of the day.

When I took a class with Indian music teacher George Ruckert, he talked about the importance of lineage in Indian music- you were my (George's) student, who was Ali Akbar Khan's student, who was x's student, etc.   While I think a lot of my thoughts here in talking about jazz are critical of the limits of worshiping lineage, I think you also lose a lot when you fail to acknowledge it at all.  So I am personally blessed by Guruji's life and teaching, and wish him great things on his next journey.

Monday, May 11, 2009

on the radio, uh-oh

This comes via Eric Jackson, WGBH jazz impressario.  It is a release from Sue Auclair, a local jazz promoter.  I heard Jeff Turton's announcement on Sunday morning, but wanted to wait until I knew more to post:

 Boston-MA--May 11, 2009--Jazz host *Jeff Turton* announced today that  WFNX FM has cancelled his show, */The Sunday Jazz Brunch/*, as of his  show yesterday and after 26 years on the air on Sunday mornings.
 “I got a call late last week informing me that this past Sunday would be my last show. The reason being given is budget cuts related to diminished revenues at both ‘FNX and at the /Boston Phoenix/. While I wasn't surprised, given the nature of the newspaper business and radio in general, I am incredibly disappointed. I’m not sure where to go next but I guess I'll sleep in for a couple of weekends and then figure it out. I still plan on being active in some way but everything happened pretty quickly so I really haven't had much of an opportunity to figure out what's next,” noted Turton in an e-mail Monday morning.
 Legendary jazz concert promoter *Fred Taylor* weighed in. “I think it shows WFNX’s total lack of acknowledgement of Boston’s arts community.  To cut one lonely jazz show like this which represents a basic American art form from the station’s 24-7 programming is unconscionable,” he said upon hearing the news. 

“Jeff Turton has been a jazz resource for Boston listeners for 26 years. He hosted the go-to show on Sunday morning radio, and he will definitely be missed.” stated noted jazz writer and Marsalis Music Creative Consultant *Bob Blumenthal*. 
Last week came the news that WGBH FM jazz host* Ron Gill* would be  moving to South Carolina to live with relatives after 23 years on the radio here and the jazz scene held its collective breath and wondered who would be his replacement host. Then the word came that his show would be covered by a syndicated show taped on the west coast by Bob Parlocha.
 Next there was a call from WGBH 9 year veteran jazz DJ *Al Davis*. “I can’t book any guests on the show until I speak with WGBH. They’ve called me in for a meeting and it sounds serious,” said Al to publicist Sue Auclair. 
 Tuesday, May 15 brought the news that ALL of the */Jazz Gallery/* hosts would be departing at the end of May. That included Davis on overnight  Fridays, 15 year veteran *Kevin Ball* overnight on Saturdays and *Ron Gill*, overnight on Sundays. 
 All live-hosted weekend jazz shows will be gone, as of May 26 and the new programming will feature “Jazz With Bob Parlocha,” the program that is syndicated nationally and now already airs on 89.7 FM overnights on weeknights.

This is very bad news.  I haven't been able to listen to FNX's jazz show much, partially due to my schedule, partially because I thought he veered to poppy, too often, but both musicians and promoters say great things about him, and I have memories of him playing this crazy 20 minute Sun Ra tune almost every Sunday when I was a kid.  

I was hoping to (and still plan to) write a piece on the state of jazz in Boston right now in light of Boston Jazz Week.  I was actually feeling pretty optimistic going into it.  Not so much right this instant.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Gigs to see in May

I'll be adjusting this, so check back, but here are highlights:

Top picks:

Go down and see Darcy James Argue release his CD at Galapagos in Brooklyn.  I only wish I could... 

5/10 (Sun) 9:30- David Ryshpen and Indigone @ Lily Pad.  Leo Genovese follows
5/21-22- Bill Frisell and 858 Quartet @ Regattabar
5/27- Tom Harrell Quintet @ Regattabar

The Rest:

Tonight (5/7) Hear Hear w/Allan Chase and Jorrit Dikstra @ Lily-Pad
5/10- Lake Street Dive @ Toad (Free!)
5/12- Mike Stern w/Weckl etc. @ Regattabar
5/13 Bjorkestra @ Scullers
5/13 Anna Hoffman Big Band @ Ryles 
5/13 (busy night!) Jerry Bergonzi @ Beehive
5/25 Phil Grenadier @ Beehive

5/23- Aaron Goldberg @ Regattabar