The Ypsilanti Food Co-op supports live music and community events. The current expansion and addition of the new Co-op cafe will create a great meeting place for the community. For Black History Month we want to show our support for the great African-American jazz musicians such as John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Ella Fitzgerald, Herbie Hancock, Sonny Rollins and many others (their music lives on in their recordings). The life-style of many musicians used to include performing in smoke filled bars, late nights, travel without much sleep and a poor diet too. Many of the jazz musicians that are still living (Herbie Hancock for example) have adopted healthy life styles that include a diet consisting of natural foods. Many talented jazz musicians died at an early age.
In the New York Times article entitled "Jazz Makers Swing From Ham Hocks To Health Food" (1992/07/08) the author discusses the book "Jazz Cooks" by Bob Young and Al Stankus which has a photograph of a saxophone made entirely of vegetables on the cover. The book has some interesting recipes that are contributed by jazz musicians. The legendary saxophonist Illinois Jacquet said this in the book. "I feel 100 percent better. It's good for your heart and your bloodstream. It's too bad we waited so long to find out what's going on. Saxophonist James Moody is convinced that eating right helps his music.
from Raga Mala, the autobiography of Ravi Shankar, published in 1997:
. . . When John Coltrane came to me, he looked different from his contemporaries: so clean, well-mannered and humble. About six years earlier he had apparently given up drugs and drink, become a vegetarian and taken to reading Ramakrishna's book's. For a jazz musician to go to the other extreme, especially in those days, was a pleasant surprise.
The Ypsilanti Food Co-op JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion) Committee will be sponsoring First Friday events (parking lot/patio event) at the Co-op starting in April. We will have special themes with a guest speaker and live jazz music with the Washtenaw Community College and Ypsilanti Youth Orchestra Jazz Bands (directed by Steven H. Somers). Monthly themes include February-Black History, March-Women's and April-Jazz Appreciation/Arab-American Month. We are currently working on a calendar for the year for First Friday Themes and Co-op special events (Juneteenth, National Co-op Month, Co-op Birthday etc.). The Co-op committees are open to Co-op members and we welcome new members. Diversity is a part of our mission.
Steven H. Somers
Co-op Board Member