Jon Bekoff (1959-2015) was a generous teacher and patient mentor to lovers of Old Time, Cajun, and World music. Although Jon never made commercial recordings, he profoundly influenced and inspired Old Time musicians throughout the US and internationally, particularly after he permitted YouTube documentation of his music. Larry Warren collaborated with Moonshine to create an archive of the audio recordings of Jon. This is a work in progress as there is still much yet to upload (so keep checking back). Much of the music shared here was collected or recorded by Nate Paine, Jon’s protege and closest jamming partner during Jon’s last decade. We students and friends of Jon wish that ALL recordings ever made of him could be posted here, publicly, free, and downloadable – as an archive for posterity and most importantly, for future music students’ learning. Because the recording settings were largely informal, private lessons or jams, we have opted to leave out the names of Jon’s accompanists, listing only the tune name, key, session location and year. The intention is to allow Jon’s music to inspire others, with the hope that others might also contribute private recordings of Jon that are not listed here, even if the accompanists might sound imperfect.
Where there are multiple versions of Jon playing a tune, Larry selected a 3 minute sample from one of them for streaming. However, as any of you who played with Jon know, he never played the same way twice, and within a melody, a single 3-minute clip could be different than the rest of the recording. For this reason, all full versions of the recordings are also available for download at the bottom of the page.
post script: Jon died a year ago today, leaving behind elderly parents. His father Sy (almost 90) is sadly this month moving to Canada, for financial reasons. Let us hope the move goes well, because he is a kind man, who practices what Jon also practiced, cultivating affection for all beings.
post post script: The Jon Bekoff Project was set up by Moonshine to support informal Georgia oldtime music learning projects. The first recipients to complete the JB Project scholarships can be seen with their Georgia oldtime mentors here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30515YDijB0 and here doing what Jon also liked (jamming on world music)
JB photo credit: Matt Betz