Category Archives: Musician

Joan Baez to Receive Kennedy Center Honor

I grew up with a gourmet taste in music, having once played Mozart for Louis Armstrong. I attended many fine concerts, including Ray Charles, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd and Bette Midler Folk music appealed aplenty, because it pointed out hypocrisies to fundamental American ideals.

At first, I didn’t think of activism when I first heard the voice of Joan Baez on her debut album 60 years ago. Instead, I was thunderstruck and immediately thought of Maria Callas. Had Ms. Callas revised her repertoire?

No, the voice I heard was different, but oh so pure. It struck me like perfection. That is how Joan Baez entered my consciousness via Vanguard Records.

Over many, many years, I adored Ms. Baez from afar, admiring her short-term relationship to Bob Dylan, while reading and re-reading her inspired words to husband David Harris, “I even think I see the birth of a real revolution, if our weapon remains the power of love … and if we keep doing it one day at a time.”

There is a song with that title – and a record album to go with it – called “One Day at a Time.” I cannot sing it without my voice breaking with emotion. That’s the power she interprets into Willie Nelson’s song.

Ms. Baez now is scheduled to receive the ultimate tribute, in my opinion, an artist can receive: Kennedy Center Honoree. Other honorees for the newest cast of characters are choreographer Debbie Allen, Garth Brooks, country artist Garth Brooks, classical violinist Midori and comedy legend Dick Van Dyke. The event is currently scheduled sometime for the third week of May 2021, and for nationwide CBS broadcast June 6.

Think of the changes the pandemic has brought upon us: wearing masks almost constantly, self quarantining (in my case, without Alice) and all the associated fear. Now think of the good things: cleaner air, fewer automobiles, more people working from home and growing libraries of great entertainment including, best of all, an end to U.S. Presidents boycotting the Kennedy Center Honors.

Ms. Baez deserves to be seen and heard all across this country. Perhaps then some enterprising musical entrepreneur will at long last give her rendition (with Jeffrey Shurtleff) of “(I Live) One Day at a Time” the exposure it deserves. “Seven Bridges Road” ain’t too shabby, either.

Bravo, Ms. Baez!

Celebrating an Impresario

So long, T.J.  You finally received an all-star send-off.

Two weeks ago, the musical legacy of T.J. Tindall was celebrated in a musical jam in the City of Brotherly Love, most notably by Duke Williams and his life partner Annie.  Perhaps now T.J.’s prolific spirit can reverberate across the universe.

While living in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, I covered the music scene for the Bucks County Herald.  Until September 2014, I witnessed and reported on triumphs – tragedies, as well – including the Marshall Tucker Band’s headline appearance at the Stockton Inn and the all-star wake for Danny DeGennaro after his senseless murder in December 2011.

Introducing a Rising Star

Jessi Teich brought the crowded room at Jon and Peter's to its feet.
Jessi Teich brought the crowded room at Jon and Peter’s to its feet.

One highlight during those years was covering T.J. Tindall’s February 2013 concert at Jon and Peter’s in New Hope.  He crammed an all-star ensemble inside the historic nightspot and featured a breakout starring role for a chanteuse named Jessi Teich.  Her sultry moves and rock-steady vocal solos highlighted the night’s blues repertoire, and raised an appreciative audience’s temperature to long-forgotten heights.

After hearing some of Teich’s cuts from a promotional CD, I learned she was far more than a great voice in a killer body; she is a master musician.  Some of her chord changes were inventive and worked so well that I was astounded.  No wonder T.J. used his long-awaited appearance to serve as a springboard for Teich’s career.  After all, musicians cannot help realizing how timeless great music is.

T.J. left this overrated plane of existence on Jan. 26 after succumbing to a self-imposed, undisclosed ordeal with cancer.  Friends and fellow musicians were stricken with grief, and their mournful plaints are understandable.  The impresario/musician who entertained countless audiences has a long list of credits detailed on various websites.

Nevertheless, what needs to be said at this dark hour is how to honor T.J.’s passing without tears or gnashing of teeth.  I emulate how blues and jazz musicians honor their compatriots in New Orleans.

My Way to Commemorate

I will celebrate T.J.’s musical ear by playing Jessi Teich’s music, because the universe is cyclical.  To see what she has been up to, check out her website at www.jessiteich.com.  I think T.J. would be pleased.  Is it any wonder that the initials of her name – J.T.  – reorganize T.J.’s?

With death comes birth, and it’s time to let him go to that parallel primordial ooze where all great musicians jam together.  I hope to see him on the other side.  Because of T.J. Tindall, a new generation of star-crossed musicians is making Planet Earth a far better place.