Zen Buddhist monks maintain records of historic teachers who have passed the Dharma, the principle or law that orders the universe, from generation to generation, in an unbroken line since the time of the Buddha. This lineage of ancestors provides both the foundation and validation of the Zen experience for today’s practitioners.
The same can be said of Jazz, for over the course of the last century, our tribal elders, largely African Americans, have created music that still orders a unique musical universe. These remarkable progenitors, with names like Armstrong, Ellington, Parker and Coltrane, have crafted a system for spontaneous creativity that has become a global form of expression. Not surprisingly, the remarkable musical discipline we call Jazz is now practiced by countless artists worldwide. Sans the limelight of the commercial media, scores of listeners and musicians have embraced Jazz. And like the practice of Zen, Jazz is best appreciated and played by those who have both an understanding of, and respect for, the extraordinary lineage of Jazz masters. Russian born guitarist Ilya Lushtak has dedicated his life to the understanding and propagation of Jazz. As a young man, first in the Soviet Union, and later in San Francisco, he discovered the Jazz Masters and soon began a lifelong quest of study and dissemination of American’s homegrown musical art.