The following post was written by Matt Glaser, artistic director for Berklee’s American Roots Music Program. Photographer Erin Prawoko provided the images.
Last Tuesday night at the Cantab Lounge there was an outpouring of love and grief for our dear, departed John McGann. The Boston acoustic music scene has become a very tight-knit community, with Berklee at its epicenter and John at the epicenter of the epicenter.
John, as you may know, was an extraordinary mandolinist, guitarist, teacher, arranger, composer, and all-around deep scholar of all things musical.
Some of the greatest string players in the world live and work in the Boston area, specifically at Berklee, and came out in full force to pay tribute to the man who we regarded as the Einstein of musical knowledge. I can’t count the number of times that I stood on stage at the Cantab and watched John McGann play one blistering, inventive solo after another, but there were many.
John played and wrote in a variety of musical styles: Beatles-influenced pop, jazz in the Django Reinhardt mold, traditional Irish, and bluegrass, as well as modern classical music.
John was also one of the funniest people you’d ever meet and the stage at the Cantab Tuesday was on fire with funny recollections of his antics and his inventive wit.
We are all devastated by this loss.
I’m very proud to be a member of this loving community.
Thank you, John, for everything and we miss you terribly.