Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Jazz Gumbo - First Spin

On Monday night, I launched my new, weekly radio show, "Jazz Gumbo", on Radio Regent out of Regent Park in Toronto. It was a great kick-off. Lots of fun and lots of energy.

Below is the playlist for the show.
It's great music. Such a pleasure to spin the tunes, to share music I love so much, and to talk about it a little. A good chunk of it is off my vinyl, which I started accumulating while in junior high. My show will come substantially from the era of "original vinyl", which I date as up to '91, the latest year of issue of any of my twelve hundred or so albums. I haven't yet delved into the "new" vinyl that's emerged, except to replace a recording I've lost or worn out. I will play newer artists as well, and it won't all be jazz, but the heart of it will be the various strains of fusion, progressive and free jazz that emerged out of the 70's. But lots of room for the Sarah Vaughan, the Buckshot, the Sekoya.

One of the best parts about deejaying is being exposed to different stuff. When I did a weekly set at a local club, I was always being told about recordings and artists I didn't know well. I don't yet know how much different it will be spinning tunes from an audio booth, but I hope the recommendations will still flow. I won't always be fast about it, but I will check them out.

If/When I figure out how to "podcast" the show, I may do that. In the meantime, I hope you'll tune in - on your computers - to every Monday, from 6 to 8pm EDT. I'm gonna have so much fun!

Artist                                     Tune                                        Album
Buckshot LeFonque        “Music Evolution”       Music Evolution                     

JoAnne Brackeen            “Let Me Know”              Keyed In

Norman Connors             “Revelation”                   Love From the Sun

Sarah Vaughan              “Stardust”           The Complete Sarah Vaughan

Pharoah Sanders          “You Got to have Freedom”    Journey to the One

Anthony Braxton             “BOR...H”                         Five Pieces – Fall 1975

Keith Jarrett                     “Great Bird”                    Death and the Flower

Dianne Reeves                   “Chan’s Song”                 Dianne Reeves

Chuck Mangione        “Can’t We Do This All Night”   Chase the Clouds Away

John Coltrane                     “Welcome”                       Kulu se Mama

Hugh Masakela                 “Night in Tunisia”              I am Not Afraid

Lonnie Smith                    “Son of Ice Bag”               Think!

Metalwood                        “The Hipster”                    The Recline

Jack DeJohnette                 “John McKee”                  Parallel Realities

Soundtrack Cast                 “America”                        West Side Story

Bobby McFerrin                 “Blackbird”                      Simple Pleasures

Sekoya                              “Fugitive Pieces“             Sekoya

Miles Davis                        “Right Off”                       Jack Johnson

Steps Ahead                       “Safari”                             Modern Times

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Our boat went in the water last weekend. The season has begun. Sailing has become a new way for us to mark the passage of time, to note the swings and cycles of nature, and our relation to it. In early October, the boats come out of water and onto the hard. The sails are packed away, masts come down, and these so graceful vessels become as clunky in their earth-boundness as seagulls on foot. 
But the reverse transformation is now taking place. From a tamed beast imprisoned in its cradle, like Brother Rabbit stuck in tar, our sailboat has reoriented itself, back in its element, Brother Rabbit back in the briar patch, the seagull on the wing. Well...almost. She’s only back in the water, so far. No mast yet, and no sails. She cannot yet fly, but she can swim, and flight will come, soon enough. Maybe the mast will go up today.
We slept aboard last night, and before that, shared the evening with good friends, between their boat and ours, here in our small marina. We brought food from home, barbecued ribs on the grill, shared homemade wine and store bought rum, remembering past journeys and storms endured, and looking ahead to voyages only imagined. So pleasant, bobbing on the waters of the bay, the night pressing down, the city close yet far, within sight and earshot of the Lakeshore’s traffic, but our tranquility untouched, undisturbed by it.
We have community here. Our disparate members, reassemble every May, launching our couple of dozen boats. We are both stink-potters (with motors) and rag-baggers (with sails). But there’s no real divide. We’re here from different places but for much the same reasons: serenity, the lure of the water, and the possibility of flight, which has less to do with going to any particular somewhere, as it has with movement and freedom and imagination.
There are 3 boat clubs here in Ashbridge’s Bay. The yacht club is huge, over 150 boats, a very impressive and proper club house with full restaurant and bar, and with a full schedule of social events throughout the season. Then there’s the Hydro-plane and Sailing club, with close to a hundred boats, and a more modest club house. We joke about our  even more humble outfit as the ghetto club. We have an unadorned but functional building that serves as workshop, washroom, kitchen and meeting room. We have a couple of barbecues out front, a small yard and two docks. Technically, this is the facility of the Vanguard Navy League, and there are weekly training sessions for kids who go out in small dinghies, learning the art of sailing. The fees we boaters pay go to support these programs and to maintain the facility.
When Ponczka and I first got our 20 foot Halman, going sailing was the beginning and end of it. But over time, as friendships develope, the socializing becomes a larger part of the experience. We once wondered at the boaters who rarely or never do any actual boating. But simply being here, hanging out, having dinners and parties, making music together – it’s all become a larger part of the experience of being a boater. These days, as launch approaches, re-connecting with others we’ve not seen since the Fall is as much of a draw as the water itself.
Last year, we succumbed to “foot-itis” – the dreaded affliction of boaters, always wanting that larger boat. We graduated to a 27’ Catalina. And what a difference. The boat is faster and more responsive than Bubbles, our unsinkable but plodding first boat. But more than that, the new boat is so much roomier. It’s big enough below for us to stand upright, to cook, to sleep comfortably and together. So now, even more than before, we understand the non-sailing appeal of the sailing life. Our new boat – 1978 new – is like our cottage in the city. It’s such a wonderful privilege and pleasure to enjoy. And we love sharing it with friends. So come join us if you can. Especially you, Eleanor! You’re way over due. There’s lots of summer to come, but it passes quickly. Before you know it, we’ll be coming round to Haul Out, and this wonderful community will dissolve again for a season.