It was the summer of 1997 – I was living at my Mom’s house as I had just completed my first year of grad school at the New England Conservatory. I was sitting around the kitchen table and my mom brings me the phone saying someone wanted to talk to me. Not unusual at all, until I answer the phone and the voice on the other end says “Hi, this is Bob Brookmeyer calling…” crazy! I had been a huge fan for a long time, having been introduced to him through fellow trombonist, Kurtis Pivert. I saw him perform at the IAJE in Washington DC (1990 I think) and had several of his albums in my collection – needless to say I was blown away to have him call and even more astounded when he hired me for a residency he was hosting in Lake Placid NY. Two weeks in Lake Placid, performing the music of Brookmeyer, Maria Schneider and Jim McNeely – Heaven!

Over the next two weeks I studied with Brookmeyer and we spent most of our time playing standards and trading 4’s, 8’s and choruses. Now and then he shared portions of his story, to this day I remember almost every word. After Lake Placid, Bob came to the New England Conservatory, he stayed for ten years – our paths crossed often during my time in Boston – he had a way of making you feel important, not to say he wasn’t brutally honest – but somehow he listened and accepted what you were trying to do and at the same time – clearly told you how to do it better -I miss that and I miss Bob.

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