07. March 2014 · Comments Off on Harry Belafonte – 87 and Still Making a Difference · Categories: Music Video

Many thanks and much gratitude to our friend David Mash for getting us tickets to the Harry Belafonte tribute concert last night at the Berklee Performance Center. Belafonte, now 87, in addition to his auspicious music career, is a political activist and philanthropist. As a confidante of Martin Luther King, Jr. he was a power in the civil rights movement – the Birmingham campaign was planned in his NYC apartment, he played a major role in the March on Washington, and much more. He co-produced with Michael Jackson, Lionel Ritchie, and Quincy Jones the powerful “We Are the World” which raised $50 million for addressing hunger in Africa. His speech last night conveyed a sharp mind and wit as he told stories from his life and the story of what it means to be African American in this country. His outspokenness was refreshing. But there was no bitterness – just honesty and compassion. A truly great and inspiring man.

And, God bless Africa, everyday I think of the immense suffering on that continent and wish for better times for the African people.

07. February 2013 · Comments Off on A Love Note to Sonny · Categories: Music Video, Random Thoughts · Tags:

Sonny Rollins is 80 years old. So glad he’s still thriving and playing.

No one sings with a saxophone like Sonny Rollins. His sound is infinite and rich. His musical language is a Shakespeare soliloquy. When I was a student in Boston I would go to the Jazz Workshop on Boylston Street whenever one of the jazz greats came to town. One night, one ticket, one drink I’d self-consciously sip hoping the wait staff wouldn’t bug me to buy more. But when Sonny came to town, I went every single night. I got there early and sat right next to the stage and just basked in that sound and those solos. He was playing with Matsuo on guitar and I’m sorry to say I don’t remember the other musicians’ names. He played St. Thomas and Doxy and so many beautiful ballads – A Nightingale Sang in Barkley Square, his own version of Debussy’s Reverie.

Those days are gone for good. Today I can’t imagine hearing him in a big theater. It just wouldn’t be the same.