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One day, two musicians, three anniversaries

There are three anniversaries today of important events connected by a fascinating thread. November 22nd is remembered by many for the assassination of John F Kennedy in Dallas in 1963, while on a happier note Benjamin Britten was born in Lowestoft on this day in 1913, and quite appropriately today is also the name day of Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of musicians. The connection between these three anniversaries also involves folk singer, political activist and pioneering conservationist, Pete Seeger. The full story is at Benjamin Britten – We Shall Overcome


Comment from Richard Buell
Time: November 22, 2006, 3:16 pm

And let’s all wish a happy birthday to Gunther Schuller, who turns 81 today. His autobiography is off to the publishers, we hear, so now he’s busy with the follow-up to “The Swing Era.” Let’s make that a VERY happy birthday. What would American music be without him?


Comment from jack reilly
Time: November 22, 2006, 7:34 pm

I had forgotton he’d be 81 today… Happy Burp-day Gunther!

Funny, I was just last night listening to his “On Reminicences and Reflections”, composed after a 10-11 month composing block. The composing hiatus was coused by the grief over his wife’s death. He thought he’d never write again.Then suddenly this work poured out of him in less than a week!!. It’s a brilliant work. in one movement and full of emtion, orchestral color and power, beyond description..

Schuller’s our American Beethoven; a giant and one hell-of-a conductor. His music will be around a long, long time. Thank you Gunther and Happy Thanksgiving btw.

His books on Jazz are not unlike his music; not yet fully appreciated, especially by college students at NEC. I taught a History of Jazz course at NEC in 1982 to grad students. The text I chose for the course was Gunther’s EARLY JAZZ. The students didn’t understand his vocabulary nor his style of presentation, let alone the musical examples. He traced African music, especially the rhythmic elements, connecting them to the evolution of early jazz in America. The book is not for the casual student looking for “filler” credits. I failed 80% of the class but was forced by the Dean to allow essay papers to make up for the “sawdust” they had for brains, and give them a passing grade.

Respectfully yours,

Jack A. Reilly


He told me last year that he was working on a book on Bill Evans