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for Jim Ryan

by Ernesto Díaz-Infante

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YOIK part 1 19:49
YOIK part 2 17:31


Ernesto Díaz-Infante acoustic guitar

Shortly after hearing about Jim Ryan’s death, I recorded solo acoustic guitar pieces as a 'yoik' to him. From the Saami people, a yoik is meant to reflect a person or place. This does not mean that it is a song about the person or place, but that the yoiker is attempting to transfer 'the essence' of that person or place into song - one yoiks their friend, not about their friend. He lives on in our music and will be missed.
I played with the Bay Area improviser in his Left Coast Improv Group in the early 2000’s. He was a ‘Beat’ character, a philosopher, who loved to discuss music and life. He inspired a type of playing that was relaxed; equal parts freedom and listening - dedicated to Jim Ryan; poet, writer, philosopher, and improvising musician who passed on 27 December 2023 [Ernesto Díaz-Infante]

Jim Ryan was born in St Paul, Minnesota and graduated in Philosophy from the University of Minnesota in 1958.
He began listening to Bebop at about age 15 and took up the trombone but was forced to abandon it when his parents sent him to work in an electrode factory in North Carolina. He was drafted into the army and sent to Europe. After serving for 21 months, he attended the Sorbonne in Paris. Jim became involved with the beat poet community that was blossoming in France. He was given a wooden flute in about 1968 and acquired a c-melody saxophone. In the early 1970s he participated in a year-long workshop organized and led by Steve Lacy. Jim formed the 'Free Music Formation' around this time, playing in Paris and other European cities.
He returned to the States in 1975 settling in Washington DC where he formed the Art Performance Group [1979].
In 1993 he moved to Oakland, California and became part of the San Francisco Bay Area Improv Scene. His groups included 'Forward Energy' [1997], the Electro/Acoustic Sextet of Oakland [2000], The Left Coast Improv Group [2001], 'Subjects of Desire' [2002]


released January 8, 2024

recorded, edited and mastered on 29 December 2023 by Ernesto Díaz-Infante at Next Door to the Jefferson Airplane Studios, San Francisco, California

photograph by Peter B Kaars

more about Jim Ryan here


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