That Was the Summer Concert Series that Was: Four Jazz-and-Blues Nights with Pat Loomis and Friends Inside the Library (When it Rained) or Outside, on Those Muggy Hot Summer Nights
The Third Annual Jazz and Blues series with Pat Loomis and his many Friends came to a glorious end on August 18 with a spectacular concert of instrumental and vocalized numbers that blew high notes from Library Park all the way up the balconies and the roof decks that line the sleepy alleys of that neck of the South End. Pat Loomis’s passionate singing performance and the seductive vocals of keyboard player Big Ben Hillman were a perfect match to the joyous instrumentals of the other members of the band who transformed the park into an exciting venue on a sultry evening when thunderstorms were predicted but thankfully stayed away.
Two of the four themed concerts were forced indoors between the book stacks by a volatile weather pattern of rainstorms. No matter, with library tables turned into drumming boards by the engaged audience and watermelon slices for all to consume spread out on a side table, the library itself became the music venue, for Now’s the Time: an Evening of Blues, Bebop and Beyond (August 4) and Oye Como Va celebration of Latin Music (August 11). The first and last performances, La Fiesta: A Celebration Of The Music Of Chick Corea and Silky Soul: An Evening Of Silky Smooth Jazz and R&B, were held under the tall oaks of the park framed by dry skies.
The concerts were funded by a generous grant from the Ann H. Symington Foundation.
Pat Loomis’s “Silky Soul” Jazz and R & B Concert, Last of the 2015 Season, Will Rock Your Soul Under the Tall Oaks in Library Park, Tuesday, August 18, at 6:30 PM
Tuesday, August the 18th at 6:30 PM will be your last chance to hear Pat Loomis and his Friends play in Library Park this summer. Called Silky Soul: An Evening Of Silky Smooth Jazz and R&B, the concert –the last of four themed performances this season– will feature Pat Loomis (saxophone, vocals), Antonio Loomis (guitar), Big Ben Hillman (keyboards, vocals), Christoff Glaude (bass), and Joaquin Santos (drums).
The event is sponsored by the Ann H. Symington Foundation and is free to the public. It will be held rain or shine, inside the library or outdoors at the park. The South End library is handicapped accessible and has bathroom facilities available during the concerts. Concerts end by 8:00 PM.
The 2015 Summer Jazz and Blues Concerts with Pat Loomis and his Friends Will Continue Tonight, August 4, at 6:30 PM, Rain or Shine, in Library Park
TUESDAY, AUGUST 4 at 6:30 PM— Now’s The Time: An Evening of Blues, Bebop, and Beyond with Pat Loomis ( saxophone), Scott Aruda (trumpet), Jeff Galindo (trombone), Antonio Loomis (guitar), Dan Winshall (bass), Dave Fox (drums)
TUESDAY, AUGUST 11 at 6:30 PM— Oye Como Va- A Celebration Of Latin Music with Pat Loomis (saxophone), Gilberto Rivera (guitar, cuatro, percussion, vocals), Leo Blanco (piano, keyboards), Benny Benson (drums)
TUESDAY, AUGUST 18 at 6:30 PM— Silky Soul: An Evening Of Silky Smooth Jazz and R&B with Pat Loomis (saxophone, vocals), Antonio Loomis (guitar), Big Ben Hillman (keyboards, vocals), Christoff Glaude (bass), Joaquin Santos (drums)
There will be refreshments (sliced watermelon has been the traditional fare, but feel free to bring your own additions). All concerts are free and will be held rain or shine, inside the library or at the park. The South End library is handicapped accessible and has bathroom facilities available during the concerts. Concerts end by 8:00 PM.
Author and South End Resident Steven Kinzer, Recently Back from Iran, Tells a Library Audience in Truro, MA, “Iran is the Most Misunderstood Country in the World” with “the Most Pro-US Population of Any Country in the World”
Award-winning foreign correspondent and local resident Steven Kinzer, one of the South End library’s invited speakers last year and the author of The Brothers, recently returned from a two week trip to Iran, details of which he discussed at the Truro, MA, public library in June, the town where he grew up. “I’m a great fan of libraries,” declared Kinzer before the enthusiastic audience of locals and summer people.
Kinzer, who also wrote the 2008 All the Shah’s Men: an American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror, wasted no time getting to the point. “Iran is the most misunderstood country in the world,” he said. “Everything you know about it is wrong. It’s a vibrant society with the most pro-US population of any country in the world. When they hear you’re from America, people are jumping and shrieking ‘I love America,’ and taking selfies with you.” Kinzer added, “I don’t get that in Canada.”
With his wife, Marianne as the photographer, the two-week bus tour took his group of about 25 people to cities like Shiraz, Teheran, and Tabriz. Marianne Kinzer narrated slides she had taken, some of urban areas with the same highways and traffic jams found in the West (“The heart of darkness,” her husband joked) but, unlike Western roads, they were lined with public art on billboards and video screens. These billboards also included photographs of the ‘martyrs,’ some of the faces of the 500,000 casualties of the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s.
Other pictures showed ancient buildings and mosques decorated with magnificent tile-work, walls and ceilings adorned with richly reflected mosaics of glass. Cities with lushly irrigated urban gardens and parks were silhouetted against a harshly dry landscape. Only a few tourists were to be seen at Persepolis, the astounding archeological site of the former ceremonial capital of the Persian king, Cyrus the Great, who ruled the greatest empire that existed in the fifth century BC. Kinzer suggested that would change dramatically in the event of a new US/Iran relationship.
“It’s a particularly interesting time now,” Kinzer told the library audience, “because everyone we met was ‘hopeful’ that the US and Iran could come to an agreement. And it’s a huge opportunity for the outside world,” he pointed out: “There are 80 million Iranians; they have a 99 percent literacy rate; and the average age is 25. It is the last ‘untapped’ market,” he added.
Perhaps another sign of the melting of the US-Iranian ice cap is the re-opening of the Christian Armenian cemetery in Tabriz, where an American teacher and missionary, Howard Conklin Baskerville, is buried. Baskerville was killed fighting for Iranian democracy during a monarchist uprising in 1909, and a number of schools and streets in Iran appear to have been named after him. Steve Kinzer and his fellow travelers were the first group of foreigners to be allowed to go there.
After several weeks of delays due to manufacturing backups, the first of the two LightWells has been installed in Library Park. Glowing softly at night now, the water meters and the programming of color changes will follow the final lighting configuration, according to Michelle Laboy, assistant professor at Northeastern University’s School of Architecture. Reseeding the grass and adding the plantings around the LightWells will be completed in the next few weeks.
The Light Well project lends itself well to small parks in areas with groundwater recharge issues, according to Kris Carter, from the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics. The project was one of the winners of the Walsh administration’s Public Space Invitational competition held last year, for which there were 70 submissions and nine winners. The proposal was submitted in the Random Awesome Design category by Laboy and two associates, Seth Wiseman and Joshua Fiedler.