Thursday, May 1, 2008

Emily, I’ll Carry You!

For a short while I took guitar lessons from one of the finest female jazz guitarists since Mary Osborn. I never became a great guitarist, but that’s because I never put in the time it takes to be a great guitarist. Emily on the other hand, lived and breathed the guitar.

One day I arrived at Emily’s apartment to take a lesson and there she was in a leg cast and on crutches, having not exactly had the greatest time skiing. I told her Joe Pass was coming to town and he was performing on a double-bill with Jim Hall. She said that she knew about it and she’d really love to go, especially since she was a good friend of Jim Halls, but there’s one problem she said “at the moment I can’t walk”. I said “Emily, you’re not heavy, so I’ll just get as close to the Blue Note as I can and I’ll carry you.” So, sure enough a few nights later I picked Emily up and drove down into Greenwich Village, found a spot on the north side of Washington Square Park and Emily got on my back and I carried her to the Blue Note.

I wish I had a tape recorder with me that night, because up in the dressing room after the first set Emily asked Jim if she could borrow his beautiful cherry colored guitar. Joe told her to play a tune with him. They had one beautiful interchange after another and it was something the rest audience downstairs never got to see.

After playing with Joe, rather than stay for the 2nd set Emily asked me how my back was and wanted to know if I’d mind checking out Leni Stern, because she was playing that night at the 55 Bar on Christopher Street. So, playing horse again, we made our way over a few more blocks.

What thrilled Emily that night was seeing not only two legendary guitarists at the Blue Note, but seeing another wonderful guitarist, who was also a great writer. Emily said “hey, I know I’ve got the chops, but I would love to write like Leni”.

Leni was playing that night with a blazing guitarist named Wayne Krantz and as always her solos were silky smooth. I’ll tell more about Leni another time, but what I saw that night made me realize that every talented individual has something to glean from another. Beautiful music is always an interchange.

If you’re not familiar with Emily Remler than I’d suggest checking out the following.

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