I was fortunate enough to have played and recorded extensively with this luminary maestro. In fact, we had just released our first CD and iTunes download, named “Fire Dance” five weeks before his passing, the first of several, since “Lights Out” that we had slated for release. He just took home a copy of “Fire Dance” after a two-day recording intensive, also five weeks before his passing, where the players stayed overnight on mountain retreat at Akashic Recording Studio for our upcoming release, “Continuum”. We spoke on the phone several times since then and he left several messages with the theme of how grateful he was for how I played the melodies to his songs and what that did for him, as he thought everyone involved sounded great. He was excited about the last recording session of stars we assembled, with Jimmi (Hopps) EsSpirit [from Freddie Hubbard, Pharaoh Sanders, Sun Ra and a long association with Joe Bonner], Nivedano (Alyrio Lima Cova) [from Weather Report, etc.], Kim Stone [from Spyro Gyra], Charles Ayash and myself. He was thrilled about how our albums were turning out. He was indicating to me in many ways that he was feeling gratified about how he was being presented to the listening public and feeling the best he had about himself in a great many years.
We seemed to have a musical connection that went beyond listening and responding, or what experience would guide us to do. It felt as if we knew the direction changes that were about to happen and would anticipate each other. It was really fun to take chances and play something very different than the norm for a song harmonically, for example, or change directions abruptly, because that natural sensing we both started with had been further cultivated in the time we had played together into quite a musical partnership.
Another thing we shared was our experience with meditation and silence, and how we let that inform and inspire our playing. He met John Coltrane one month before Coltrane’s death, a meeting that turned out to be a ‘passing of the flame’ for Joseph. Joe has always sought to express the beauty of his spiritual path and his inner experience in how he plays. Whenever he started to play, he would inwardly expand such that the day to day concerns would assume their proper perspective and the immensity of what he was doing in the moment would rise to prominence in his consciousness. He understood the beauty of what he was creating, and its importance that it be shared and heard. He knew that the beauty of what was being created was coming from a place beyond his ego, beyond the normal state we all mostly resort to. He understood the responsibility of an artist to never compromise where the art is concerned, and he lived up to that responsibility.
He was a dear, dear friend and I certainly miss him deeply, I feel extremely fortunate for having the great blessings to be able to learn from and play with such an exceptional musical master. My heart can feel fulfilled knowing that we have been well on the path to releasing some of his most stellar performances, including the forthcoming, three volume, “HiStory Of The Blues” with John Bolivar, and will be continuing the vision we shared, to honor the path of making the music available to being heard for the people who are touched by it.
As is often the case, shortly before one’s death, an individual is already, even without consciously knowing it, already has opened the door to the beyond, and is somehow peering into the abyss. Continuum was recorded five weeks before Joe Bonner’s passing into another dimension.
Akashic Jazz is the meeting of
jazz and spiritual exploration.
There are as many spiritual paths
as there are people.
Transcending the safety
of an organized religion,
of a social convention,
the journey of the inner is one of
challenges and transformation.
breathe deeply, relax and listen deeper.
Let your body move as it likes.
If you are moved to participate vocally,
whether through singing, laughing,
shouting or crying,
allow yourself to do so.
Just watch what happens inside of you.
The continuum of spiritual paths
includes, encompasses and contains
every shade and flavor of the spectrum.
Love, hate, elation, despair
and all emotions and human experiences
are welcomed to be
witnessed and transformed.
Let yourself relax through the
pull to withdraw; and keep expanding.
Allow yourself to experience
new sounds, new feelings and
new levels of consciousness.
The continuum of human experience and
consciousness is within you.
Allow yourself a new awareness.
Allow yourself to be
refreshed and renewed.
The human soul cherishes freedom above all else. When the time in our lives come when we cry freedom, it is truely one of the most "holy" times we experience. Not possesions, power or even love can distract one from the longing for the liberation of the soul.
The urgency to let go into the beyond is the only energy that will bring us past the mundane mind. "Cry Freedom" is the expression of the spiritual warriors of Akashic Jazz of their journey to freedom.
This music ‘takes no prisoners’, with its uncomproming rebelious spirit through all of the musicians relentless pursuit of bringing experiences of the beyond to its captivated audiences.
These are four fiercely individual artist melting together and merging as a single organism, rising to levels together far higher than possible each on their own.
Yes, its fun to play. Its fun to feel, to explore the boundries of human feeling, to risk, to love, to emote. To take as many chances musically as in life, with out fear of rejection or judgement is the unspoken guiding star of any artist. I know of no band in recent times executing this concept so tangibly as the document of these recording sessions. As our beloved, Joe Bonner used to say, “I ain’t scared of nothin'.” Joe had the concept to dedicate these performances and compositions to the innocents harmed and otherwise affected by all forms of terrorism in the world. Named “After Love”, the moniker assumes new meaning with his transition. The title cut, in 6/4 meter could be seen as a sequel to his well-loved composition, “Love Dance”, which trumpet master, Woody Shaw brought to the jazz world.
As this is released after Joe Bonner’s passing, it is of course unavoidable to dedicate this to Joe, as his spirit is unmistakably strong and present throughout the recordings. Joe’s original wish and intention of the musicians while playing and during writing was dedicating this to the innocent victims of terrorism, namely children injured and killed by conflicts and ideologies they had nothing to do with creating.
Every soul needs nourishment, replenishment... needs to grow, expand and evolve.
The fire of one's passion dances with the need to go beyond normal, ordinary consciousness to something extraordinary. The inner fire and rain cleanse the heart and aura, refreshing and replenishing one's being, rising to a more joyful path of life. To live in grace is everyone's choice.
It starts by deciding to let go old preconceptions and taking the next steps of the dance towards letting go, transformation and new awareness.
Ain't nothin' but the blues...
A pre-historic human being, because they felt to in a certain moment of emotion, began moaning. They weren't doing anything to neccesatate making a sound, like lifting a heavy rock, or running, or making love... they just simply felt something deep inside that expressed in their voice. ... And the blues were born. The blues have come a long way since then.
So, we go, not so much, back in time, but to the roots of the soul, before thought, beyond simply emotion, to those depths from where all consciousness begins. It is said, by musicians who know, that all jazz is actually, nothing but the blues, it may have a bridge, and may not be 12 bars, but its the blues. ...And, perhaps all music is, in fact, nothin' but the blues...
Ain't nothin' but the blues...
The exploration of the blues continues with yet more adventurous permutations of our favorite twelve bar vehicle... As human consciousness evolves, so does the blues. No longer limited to simple One - Four - One - Five - Four - One progressions, harmonic and melodic sophistication permeates our souls, allowing deeper questions of humanity to be inquired into. Our quest for inner freedom is being expressed with less politeness, with more fervor. We can no longer be held down. We can no longer compromise for the false. We must evolve. We must be free!
Ain't nothin' but the blues...
Ain't nothin but the blues...
Freedom isn't always tidy. It can be chaotic, unsure and messy, for sure. And yet, it continues to be the the most sacredly held value for the human soul. What will the future bring? While certainly, no one can claim to know, it seems inevitable that the human spirit will continue to strive to be free, in countless ways. We now explore the future of human experience, the future of the blues, courtesy, of course, of the Akashic Records. Our exploration of freedom gets funkier and progressively more daring, as the chains and prison of the ego and monkey mind are released in favor of relaxed, alert consciousness.
Ain't nothin' but the blues...
Soulful renditions of holiday music played by two of the most soulful people you will encounter. Leave this on all day and feel the uplifting spirit of these joyful sounds. Winter at higher latitudes can give us the feeling of less energy and not as much drive and contentment. The holidays were created to bring us good cheer through lights and music during this season of limited sunlight. Let these sounds invigorate and energize your mood, charge your "energy field" and replenish your soul during this time when we need to bring more light in to our lives. Feel the holiness in these days. Transform the "Halo-daze" into light, love and consciousness.