A beautiful evening opened the 22nd season of Jazz in June on Tuesday. The Kendra Shank Quartet staved off rain until the final notes of their encore “Blue Skies.” I had the good fortune to help emcee alongside Jazz in June chairwoman Martha Florence. The music found a new depth as the day grew dark; the audience absorbing stirring renditions of Abbey Lincoln’s “Wholly Earth” and The Beatles’ “Let it Be.” Tune into the J Train next week as I’ll present an interview with our next Jazz in June artist, Valerie Capers.
The cycles of life are weird. Just when you think something or someone may have fizzled out, it’s shaken, knocked loose, and bubbles back to the surface. I felt that fizzling and bubbling this afternoon in the basement of the Westbrook Music Building—the new final resting place for the life’s work of my friend, Lincoln musical icon and longtime KZUM programmer, Butch Berman. Butch died in 2008, leaving behind a non-profit foundation dedicated to preserving his citadel of jazz, folk, soul, blues and R&B and the powers of such music. But the foundation sans Butch was like the U.S. Constitution without James Madison.
Well, his close friends and family decided to donate the treasure trove to the UNL School of Music, where musical mariners of all stripes can uncover these riches. Let me be the first to say: I think it was a great decision. And that’s not just because as a KZUM programmer I can access the music, but because a library, this library, any library in the world is accessible and open. And that instinctively equates to how Butch was, sharing his music for any, all and always. I’m hopeful that future music students, arts enthusiasts, archivists and cultural anthropologists will derive benefit from the collection.
As a coda to my visit, I’d like to applaud Linda and Anita at the UNL School of Music library. They are clearly good stewards of the music and asked several times if I needed help finding anything. “No, thanks,” I politely declined. Even if Butch isn’t there to choose a few sides, I let his spirit do the informing.
DJ Rohan plotting the sonic course of the J Train on Monday night.Nilson Matta “Overture” Ben Williams “Moontrane” Gregoire Maret “Manhã do Sol” & “Travels” Ablaye Cissoko & Volker Goetze “Miliamba” Luciana Souza “Tim Tim Por Tim Tim” Chris Potter “The Sirens” & “Nausikaa” Charlie Parker “Carvin’ The Bird” Miles Davis “Deception” Kurt Rosenwinkel “Brooklyn Sometimes” Robert Glasper “J Dillalude” Victor Wooten “Back 2 India” Wynton Marsalis “Second Line”