Joseph Jarman, iconic free jazz musician and composer and Shinshu Buddhist priest, died at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in New Jersey on Jan. 9 at the age of 81. The cause of death was given as cardiac arrest following respiratory failure.
Despite a long and illustrious career as an avant-garde jazz saxophonist, woodwind player, flautist and percussionist, much of Jarman’s time during the last two decades of his life was devoted to his musical work. aikido instructor and priest in Japanese Jodo. Shinshu (浄土真宗, also known as Shin Buddhism) tradition of Pure Land Buddhism.
Jarman’s Dharma teachers included the late Reverend Gyoko Saito of Higashi Honganji USA. He also studied Zazen meditation with Zenko Heshiki, Zen priest and Shihan of Chozen-ji Ryu Kempo in Honolulu. In 1990, he was ordained a Jodo Shinshu priest at Higashi Hongan-ji, a temple in Kyoto, Japan, taking the name Dharma Rev. Shaku Gyo Joseph Jarman. Also in 1990, he co-founded the Brooklyn Buddhist Association with his estranged wife, writer and scholar Rev. Thulani Davis, opening the Jikishinkan Aikido dojo in the same building.
Born in Arkansas in 1937 and raised in Chicago, Jarman learned to play drums under Walter Dyett, who also taught Nat King Cole and Bo Diddley. During a stint in the army in the 1950s, he learned the alto saxophone and the clarinet, which he played in Chicago after his discharge in 1958.
Jarman was a founding member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), a nonprofit cooperative focused on new music and African-American artists, and of the renowned Art Ensemble of Chicago. As a jazz musician, Jarman was revered for his tenure with the Art Ensemble of Chicago, from its inception in the late 1960s until his departure in the early 1990s, before joining the group in the early of the 2000s.
Jarmen was also a poet, and his writings have been featured in concerts and on recordings – on his 1966 experimental debut album song forhe recited “Non-cognitive aspects of the city”.
Beginning around 1967, Jarman became one of the first saxophonists to perform solo, a move that was also embraced by other AACM members. Jarman led his own band from 1966 to 1968, which included bassist Charles Clark, drummer Thurman Barker, and pianist Christopher Gaddy.
In 1967, Jarman recorded for the first time with three other musicians with whom he would form the Art Ensemble of Chicago: Lester Bowie, Roscoe Mitchell and Malachi Favors. The ensemble has become a key part of the experimental music landscape, drawing inspiration from jazz and blues, as well as world music, ritual and folklore. In 1969, the group would become Jarman’s main creative outlet, and he would continue with the Art Ensemble of Chicago until 1993.
After leaving the ensemble, Jarman virtually retired from music in order to devote himself to his spiritual practice, although he continued to perform and record on occasion.
Speaking in a 1987 interview, Jarman described his work with the Art Ensemble of Chicago: “And that’s another thing that was maybe a little bit different from a lot of our predecessors, the idea of looking for a sound, rather than playing a musical instrument. and get all the sound out of it. Because each instrument is a different universe, and each instrument contains something wonderful in itself.
“All of this music, this kind of breath, the cosmic breath, is flowing, and some of the people it’s touching. And if we’re practicing music and we’re open enough and it’s touching us, then we have to respond. (ARTFORUM)
Founded by the former monk Tendai Shinran (1173-1263), Jodo Shinshu is considered the most widely practiced school of Buddhism in Japan. He advocates relying on the “other power” of Amitabha Buddha, as manifested in his fundamental vow, in order to attain liberation.
Joseph Jarman, 81, dies; Pillar of the Art Ensemble of Chicago (The New York Times)
Jazz musician and Buddhist priest Joseph Jarman dead at 81 (Pitchfork)
JOSEPH JARMAN (1937–2019) (ARTFORUM)
Joseph Jarman, RIP, 1937-2019 (NEPR)
Jikishinkan Aikido Dojo
Higashi Honganji United States
The Chicago Art Ensemble
d multi-instrumentalist and Pure…