Text by Richard Bennett
At first glance, a dance class for people with Parkinson’s disease seems like a contradiction in terms. Parkinson’s is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system whose most obvious symptoms are movement related. Yet Olie Westheimer, who was facilitating a Parkinson’s support group in Brooklyn, had a hunch that rigorous dance training with world-class dancers and live music was exactly what her members needed.
Olie Westheimer at Gel Health 2009 from Gel Conference on Vimeo.
Interview by Richard Bennett
Photo courtesy of Arun Ramamurthy
The excellent violinist Arun Ramamurthy combines Carnatic music with jazz in his eponymously titled Arun Ramamurthy Trio. He lives in Brooklyn with wife, violinist Trina Basu and their baby son. When I offered him a baseball ticket in exchange for an interview, he quickly agreed. We sat in section 202 in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium on a sunny day. Arun was wearing a Don Mattingly Throwback Jersey. I bought Arun a hot dog and a beer and between innings we talked.
Richard Bennett (RB): In your ideal band, would you rather hire Questlove or Zakir Hussein?
Photo by Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi
Date: March 20, 2015
Venue: the Ruben Museum (NY)
Review by Dawoud (All videos approved by the artist)
Pianist Richard Bennett has been making waves in the music community with his very original interpretations and experiments with applying Indian ragas and their inner concepts to the piano. On the spring equinox, he brought his work to the Rubin Museum of Art.
Artist: Richard Bennet
Title: Raga & Blues
Label: Mystica Music (India)
Genre: Raga blues?
Review by Dawoud Kringle
The CD begins with a tambura and sparse notes on piano that introduce an alap in Raga Malkauns. This gradually opens up into a rolling swarm of notes somewhat reminiscent of Michael Harrison’s piano work. Above this thick tapestry, melodies would appear and disappear. Occasional suggestions of a teehai would rise.