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Lions Roar : March 2013
PHOTO©GEOFFREYCREIGHTONPHOTOGRAPHY—WWW.GEOFFREYCREIGHTON.COM Dharma Americana—Jazz and Beyond: Pianist Herbie Hancock, reed players Wayne Shorter and Bennie Maupin, and bassist Buster Williams are all practitioners of Nichiren Buddhism; singer Tamm E. Hunt is a Mahayana Buddhist; Joseph Jarman of the famed Art Ensemble of Chicago is a Jodo Shinshu priest. In the singer-songwriter realm, musicians like Jake LaBotz, Ravenna Michalsen, Meg Hutchison, and Alan Senauke are applying Buddhist lessons to musical hybrids that include elements of the blues and other folk musics. There’s even, thanks to the great Peter Rowan, a Heart Sutra-inspired bluegrass tune, “Vulture Peak.” “I didn’t come to the dharma looking to be a better musician,” Jerry Granelli says. “I’d accomplished most of what I’d hoped for. But I didn’t know how to be a human.” At 71, the jazz drummer and music-and-meditation teacher is as vital and inventive as any artist could hope to be. As a jazz musician, he made a name for himself young. That’s the 22-year-old Granelli drumming on Vince Guaraldi’s beloved “Linus and Lucy,” the Peanuts’ theme song. He played with the likes of Carmen McRae, Bill Evans, and Sly Stone, but by the time he met his teacher, Chögyam Trungpa, in the early 1970s, he was at a crossroads: tired, and perhaps even “done with music forever.” But Trungpa Rinpoche told him, “No, no, that’s where your real stuff will come up.” At Trungpa Rinpoche’s urging, he began connecting with musicians and meditators as a teacher, and he still teaches both, blending them together. He says meditation is “mandatory” for the many players—pros and beginners alike—who attend his workshops in the hopes that his talent and wisdom might rub off on them. “They love it,” he says. “It’s a way for them to work with their whole artistic process, their whole lives.” Visit ShambhalaSun.com and check out exclusive interviews with some of the artists you’ve read about here, including Born I Music, k.d. lang, the RZA, Tina Turner, and more, as well as tracks by Meredith Monk, Macklemore, Sir Richard Bishop and W. David Oliphant, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, and others. ♦ JERRY GRANELLI THE REAL STUFF SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2013 69