First Friday (12/6): STOLI.
Stoli, a tasteful septet long associated with the John Payne Music Center, achieves a swinging sound and feel you can only get by playing together for years and years.
Second Friday (12/13): NATE ARONOW NEXTET.
Nate's innovative band plays original compositions and arrangements that are remarkable in their variety and sophistication.
Third Friday (12/20): DISTRICT 5
This quintet, led by saxophonist Elizabeth Reid, clearly demonstrates (yet again) that women in jazz are a force to be reckoned with.
Fourth Friday (12/27): JOHNNY HORNER TRIO. The very deep pianist, Johnny Horner, has long been a mainstay of the Boston jazz scene, and the POSTunderground is delighted to add his fine trio (Dave Gold, bass, David Mann, drums) to the roster. Now you can catch them every fourth Friday.
Don’t miss this week’s special “Anchors Aweigh” edition of Standards By Starlight! Before I go any further, I am pleased to announce that our FEATURED ARTIST this Friday and next is the extraordinary guitarist JOHN WILKINS. Tonight (8:30 to 11:30 PM) he will be subbing for Phil Grenadier, trumpet, thus taking over the role of horn player. Next week, he will be subbing for John Mulroy, thus taking over the piano duties. That means you get to hear one of the nation’s best guitarists two Fridays in a row, in two different contexts. Tonight, he will be ably assisted by John Mulroy, piano, Mark Pucci, bass, Greg Conroy, drums, and John Purcell, alto. Next week, Phil will be back and Shane Allessio will be playing bass. Be there or be f-hole!
Today marks the 102nd anniversary of the Halifax Explosion, the largest man-made (if unintentional) explosion prior to the atomic bomb. It occurred at 9:04 AM on Thursday, December 6th, 1917. World War I was raging and German submarines were a genuine threat to shipping, both on the open seas and in ports such as Halifax(Nova Scotia), which were equipped with anti-submarine nets. Normally, ships carrying hazardous cargo were forbidden to enter Halifaxharbor, but this policy was waived during the war. Thus the SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship fully loaded with the explosives TNT, guncotton, and picric acid, as well as barrels of the highly flammable fuel, benzole, was allowed into the harbor on Wednesday night, December 5th.
At 8:45 AM on December 6th, as the Mont-Blanc was leaving the harbor, on its way to join a convoy of ships bound for Europe, it collided with another vessel at low speed. The impact was enough to rupture the barrels of benzole stored on deck, and the fuel poured into the hold below, where sparks from the ship’s engines set it aflame. This didn’t cause an immediate explosion, and other vessels drew near to help fight the raging fire on deck. Meanwhile, the Mont-Blanc’s captain, knowing full well the nature of his cargo, ordered his men to abandon ship. Their warning cries to other boats as they rowed for shore went unheard in the noise and confusion. The residents of Halifax gathered at their windows or on the streets to watch the spectacular blaze. At 9:04 AM, the Mont-Blanc’s entire cargo of explosives detonated.
There’s no need to dwell on the destruction and horror caused by the explosion, but its force can be measured in part by distance: the ship’s anchor and the 90-mm gun on its deck, both weighing tons, were found more than two miles from the blast site; the shock wave could be felt a hundred miles away. The explosion momentarily emptied the harbor of water, which then returned as a tidal wave. The entire Richmond district of Halifax was leveled. All told, 2,000 people were killed and 9,000 were injured.
What does this have to do with anything? Admittedly, not much, aside from one thing: in the immediate aftermath of the explosion, Boston sent doctors, medical supplies, and other forms of aid and support to Halifax. In appreciation, the city of Halifax still sends a Christmas tree to Boston every year, and last night was the annual tree lighting ceremony on the Common. So the past is alive and living with us here in Boston, just as jazz is alive and living with us at the POSTunderground. Come celebrate!
On the first Sunday of each month (Sept.-May), the POSTunderground hosts a bluegrass jam open to musicians of all ages and levels. Though we focus on bluegrass, we welcome forays into styles that "stretch the envelope" such as country, swing, roots/Americana. The jam is free, though we do pass the hat to help support this warm and comfortable nonprofit performance space.
The Jazz Turnpike is a weekly jam session exclusively for high school and middle school jazz players, now in its seventh week! Yuval Agam, the great tenor player from Newton South, will be hosting. John Purcell will be the default (electric) bass player. Young improvisers, please come sit in with the Jazz Pike house rhythm section, featuring Juliet Eastland, piano, and Simone Cooke, drums. And remember, admission and food are always free at the POSTunderground!