Todd Barkan​, April 16, 2018​ ​​​​at the NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert at the Kennedy Center​

We’re all Partners in Time. And our music makes time our friend, not an implacable foe.​ ​This music makes time an endowment,​ ​not a stress-inducing limitation.

​In the early 70s, when Dexter Gordon would come back to my office​ at​ Keystone Korner after his Quartet had sold​ out​ three cookin’ sets at the club on a​ Friday or​ Saturday night, he used to love to say, “Well, Toddsy, I think we paid the light bill tonight.” Our House of Jazz has an infinite number of lights and​ ​windows and all kinds of swinging doors with lots of levels to explore and many living rooms and a gloriously big ole kitchen with the pots on around the clock.

This warm and inviting home of our music could only have been built (and is still being built upon every day!) by the supreme song of ​Jazz Masters ​like Dianne Reeves, Pat Metheny, Joanne Brackeen​,​ and all the other Jazz Masters, sung and unsung, whose inspiration, dedication​ ​and living legacy are the lifeblood of the work we try to do for this most democratic and-at-the-same-time most singular music​ -​-​​which builds both homes ​and​ bridges​ for people​ while it​ erases​ borders​ between them. ​

Thank you, Jazz Masters, for playing and living the love which most often can’t be spoken, but only felt, and danced, and sung. Thank you for playing the love that feels like a hug even when it’s tight enough to mold our souls back back together when they’re broken, to somehow heal and surprise our hearts at the same time.

No matter what generation we are blessed to be born into, we all stand on the shoulders of our teachers, parents, heroes and all those elders who have lit the path for us.

Just ​as​ Mic​hel​a​ngelo saw an angel in the marble of a cathedral and carved and carved, and then carved some more​​ until he “set the angel free,” so the eternally-renewing miracle of our music can make our dreams a reality, and our reality a dream.

When will we ever know, and how can we ever show, what’s real, what’s really in our hearts?​ ​The universal language of our music, born of​ ​both deep sorrow ​and​ wide-eyed​ wonder, of great pain and inextinguishable joy, is also a prayer of thanks for the gift that gets us here,​ ​and the grace that lets us stay, re-telling a story as old as the ancients but as brand new as the life of each new journey through time.

Extra special thanks to Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Freddie Hubbard, McCoy Tyner, Ron Carter, and Elvin Jones who joined forces to help us build Keystone Korner by performing together for a benefit concert at the Oakland Paramount Theater to help buy the club a hard liquor license in 1973. ​And I also want to give special ​thanks to Miles Davis for handing me back $2500 in cash from the fee I had just paid him for a week at the Keystone in 1974, “you and the club need this money a lot more than I do at this point.”

Profound gratitude to the NEA Jazz Masters Program, and to my longtime mentors Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Jack Whittemore, Dexter Gordon, Cedar Walton,​….​ and to my beloved wife Ilene.​ ​After every set that Johnny Griffin played at the Keystone Korner, the Little Giant signed off by​ ​telling us to “keep hope alive, keep jazz alive.”

My recognition as a 2018 NEA Jazz Master both deeply humbles me &​​ inspires me to re-double​ ​my efforts to take care of the music so that it can take care of all of us. ​ ​Hope swings eternal!

Thanks to all of you for being such an essential part of​ paying the light bill, of​ keeping the lights on.

Love does find a way…​​

—Todd Barkan​, April 16, 2018​ ​​​​
​at the NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert at the Kennedy Center​

Posted in NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert |

“My Jazz Life” — Todd Barkan talks about his career on Sirius XM Real Jazz Channel 67 on Thursday, April 12th

There will be a special “My Jazz Life,” 3-hour broadcast on Sirius XM Real Jazz Channel 67 on Thursday, April 12th by Todd Barkan talking about his career in our music and playing cds he has produced in his 54-year career stretching from the Keystone Korner through Jazz at Lincoln Center to recently being named as a 2018 NEA Jazz Master along with Dianne Reeves, Pat Metheny, and Joanne Brackeen.

Todd Barkan’s “My Jazz Life” broadcast on Sirius/XM Real Jazz will be aired twice: from 3-6 pm on Thursday afternoon, April 12th, and then re-broadcast from midnight to 3 am on Monday morning, April 13th.

2018 NEA Jazz Masters Todd Barkan, Joanne Brackeen, Pat Metheny, and Dianne Reeves will all be featured in an All Star NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert, on Monday, April 16th, beginning at 8 pm at the Kennedy Center, featuring performances by Eddie Palmieri, Christian McBride, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Angelique Kidjo, Helen Sung, Terri Lyne Carrington, Antonio Sanchez, Pasquale Grasso, Sullivan Fortner, Dan Wilson and many others.

This concert will be live-streamed from Kennedy Center via
www.arts.gov and broadcast by WBGO and Sirius/XM Real Jazz.

Posted in General, Todd Barkan |

Jazz House Kids

I’m happy and proud to be preparing jazz video lectures for the Summer Jazz House Workshop for the Jazz House Kids July 31-August 11 at Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ. https://jazzhousekids.org

Posted in General |

Todd Barkan talks with Jesse Chuy Varela

Wednesday, July 5th, 3 pm, worldwide at www.kcsm.net Todd Barkan talks with Jesse Chuy Varela:

Posted in General |

Todd Barkan named 2018 NEA Jazz Master

Very thankful. I’m very moved and honored by this recognition from my peers to be included with heroes Dianne Reeves, Pat Metheny, and​ ​Joanne Brackeen as one of the four 2018 NEA​ ​Jazz Masters. It’s been a lifelong blessing to have personally worked​ with​ most of the NEA Jazz​ ​Masters since I began this unlikely journey in our music in the mid 1960s. A real privilege beyond​ ​words to be able to provide ​an​ opportunity and space to these indispensable artists to swing and create together. As Bobby Hutcherson told me quite a few times, and even wrote on the wall of the Keystone Korner:​ “True love asks nothing in return.” –Todd Barkan

Posted in General |