Usually when I’m writing the January column for HASHTAG LEWISBURG, I’m windblown and wild, clawing my way from the edge of some kind of cold blue polar vortex to type my words, but today, writing this on the Solstice, this is not so. Mother Nature’s magical glittering hoarfrost of yesterday morning has gently transmuted into a sweet evening, dark as pitch, with winter chomping at the bit. Last night, the longest of the year, brought peaceful sleep and tranquil dreaming.
So comes the winter season at Lewisburg’s Carnegie Hall, with such performances coming our way as the Little Jimmy Dickens Tribute, the music of Eric Bibb and Michael Jerome Brown (Bibb rescheduled after last year’s weather snafu forced a cancellation), Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, and the ensemble of the day, The Yosvany Terry Sextet on January 26, 2017 at 7:30 pm, made possible through the Jazz Touring Network program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
From Cuba, born of a musical family, Yosvany Terry is quite the ambassador of the Afro-Cuban Jazz tradition. He’s done it all; he’s an internationally renowned composer, saxophonist, percussionist, bandleader, educator, and musical philosopher, as is evident in his YouTube interview, as part of a series called Composers Now. His segment is an interesting little soliloquy regarding his respect for the traditional elements the “greats” of the past have delivered (he immersed himself in the European classical tradition while at Havana’s National School of the Arts), while blending (albeit, redefining) the contemporary Afro-Cuban and Latin Jazz language of music. Versatility and constantly evolving fresh perspective, the melding of old, new, and newer…
In 2015 Terry was named a recipient of the prestigious Doris Duke Artist Award and was hired by Harvard University as Director of Jazz Ensembles and Senior Lecturer on Music.
What I carried away from my fragments of research done to eke out this month’s column is Terry’s lovely attitude in describing his endeavors. In one instance, he describes the lines of a composition as both angular and melodic, searching, experimenting, and finding his way to venture into new ways of approaching his music. He’s not afraid to think, to find a balance, and to find “the best of the ensemble”, whoever that may be. Very positive, and very uplifting. Again, a blend of both legacy and learning, the old and new, and a fine and healthy approach to any art of any kind any one of us might bring into the world.
One piece I’ll leave you with is from his CD entitled “New Throned King”, a cut called “Healing Power”. It begins with deep chanting and moves along, meandering, to a fullness of vocals which thrum through my consciousness like the beating of heart and the movement of rivers. Here you go, give a listen of good speakers: youtube.com/watch?v=KI3LbJe8AuI
His most recent release is entitled Today’s Opinion, complex, multilayered, grounded yet other-worldly…A reflection of a deep and exceptional personal vision. After all, that’s what we as humans and artists and travelers bring to our worlds, our worlds both vast and intimate, the complexities and simplicities of our visions. Happy Solstice, humans…
– Susanna Robinson. Hashtag#85. January, 2017