MEET MEMBER MARTY KAFKA (and All That Jazz)
Last spring, Marty Kafka took a five-week “trial membership” course at BOLLI, found it to be very interesting, liked the people in the class, and decided to dive right into a full membership this past September. “I feel like I’m back in college,” he says, “but without the grades.”
Marty appreciates BOLLI’s community spirit of cooperative learning and says he is benefitting from the broad knowledge base of our members. “We help each other, and I am developing friendships associated with the courses and activities.”
An amateur digital photographer, Marty soon joined the Photo Club, particularly enjoying the group’s trips to the de Cordova Museum and Walden Pond. He’s also taken part in as many current events sessions as he’s been able to attend.
Prior to his retirement a year ago, Marty worked as a psychiatrist and still supervises psychiatric residents. As a clinician-researcher for over thirty years, he developed a specialty interest in sexual behavior disorders. He was awarded a Distinguished Life Fellowship by the American Psychiatric Association and was selected to collaborate on the revision and publication of the 5th Edition of the APA Diagnostic Manual.
While Marty enjoys a variety of interests, he is passionate about jazz piano and loves playing contemporary jazz. He says, as he was growing up, there was always music in his family.
“My father played the piano, the trumpet, the violin, and the ukulele. Before and after WWII (and before I was born), he spent summers as a small band leader, playing at various Catskill Mountain resorts. That, in fact, was how he met my mother. So, when I was six, Dad encouraged me to try the piano. I took to it naturally. He would accompany me on the violin for simple classical pieces and on the trumpet for popular music. Mom was our appreciative audience. When my younger brother Ken started playing the accordion and then the guitar, we were a trio—with our own built-in audience.
“I think I gravitated away from classical music toward jazz when I started listening to the music of Ray Charles during my teenage years. Listening to Charles as well as Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, I learned the blues scales and chords and gradually evolved my own style. My favorite contemporary jazz pianists were all classically trained—Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Stefano Bollani, and Gonzalo Rubalcava.
“For, me, music is meditative. That is one of the great things about improvisational music—your mind must remain in the moment and cannot wander. You try to hear something in your mind and then play what you hear. It’s a lifelong challenge to improve what you create internally and then work to be able to produce it accurately.”
Last summer, Marty played in a quintet that performed at an outdoor festival in Salem, but he says that his favorite place to play is in his living room. Currently, he enjoys playing at home with a saxophonist and a bass player–and he’d love to hear from BOLLI members who might also be interested in playing contemporary jazz!”
Finally, Marty says that “I have been blessed with my wonderful wife of 32 years, Karen, as well as two loving ‘children’ who are now both accomplished young adults. Although I am not a religious person, I am deeply grateful, every day, for having led such a fortunate life.”
To hear some of Marty’s music, here are audio cuts with the saxophone player. Just click on the little triangle on the left end of the bar to enjoy the music!
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There’s nothing I love more than talking to people and finding out about their interests, ideas, backgrounds, families, plans, and more which makes it such a complete pleasure to focus on “Meeting Our Members” here on our BOLLI Matters blog. Be sure to send your ideas to: susanlwurster@gmail. com
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If you are one of our subscribers (whoo-hoo!) and received this item in your email, you will need to click differently in order to hear Marty’s music. Click on the item. Then click on the download arrow and open from there (some may need to drag to desktop). Enjoy!