The devastating toll of the pandemic on gigging musicians continues to upend artistic communities, but relief efforts are also growing. I got an encouraging email last week from the jazz drummer and singer Rie Yamaguchi-Borden. The nonprofit she launched, Gotham Yardbird Sanctuary, with her husband, Mitch Borden (founder of the legendary jazz clubs Smalls and Fat Cat), helps musicians hardest hit by the coronavirus. “Even COVID-19 hasn’t completely broken our hearts,” she said. “As long as we are alive, we will never stop thinking about playing.”
The group provides paid gigs with physical distancing in place throughout New York. More than 60 percent of musicians surveyed by the Jazz Journalists Association said their income this year is less than half of last year’s. More than 70 percent said they have no live gigs lined up for next year. Relief groups like GYS and the Jazz Foundation of America are meeting the moment with fundraisers and livestreams. Starting December 5, GYS hosts a Yardbird Jam program at Bodeguita in Brooklyn at 6 Suydam St., and every Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m., Yamaguchi-Borden hosts jam sessions for a wide range of musicians. The schedule is here, and donations for the Yardbird Jam are welcome here.
More Recharges to enter the week:
Fowl headlines: “Lame Duck Pardons Turkey.” Credit where it’s due: “All hail great copy editors (in this case, the Washington Post’s Doug Norwood),” tweeted Post editor Marc Fisher.
Take two: “Lame Duck Pardons Turkey.” Thanks Guardian.
Take three: “Lame-Duck President Pardons Turkey.” Thanks Reuters.
Climate win: Goldman Environmental Prize winners were celebrated in a virtual ceremony hosted by Sigourney Weaver, with appearances by Jack Johnson, Robert Redford, Danni Washington, and Lenny Kravitz. Winners include the innovative activists Chibeze Ezekiel of Ghana, Kristal Ambrose of the Bahamas, Leydy Pech of Mexico, Lucie Pinson of France, Nemonte Nenquimo of Ecuador, and Paul Sein Twa of Myanmar.
Season of firsts: The American Ballet Theater welcomes Calvin Royal III as its first Black male principal in more than two decades. “Whether I was being featured or not over the years, I pushed myself and strived to be the best version of myself on stage and off,” he said, “so to finally make it to principal with ABT, it was a dream come true.” Hat tip to Venu Gupta for the story, and if you haven’t yet, check out our colleague Cathy Asmus’ insightful take on how dance studios are adapting to the pandemic.