Saturday, July 07, 2007

We lost another one, folks. I just talked to him.

Playing right now: Miles Davis - Complete Plugged Nickel set

As you might have guessed from previous entries, I get a little whistful or sentimental when I hear about the death of musicians I like - Andrew Hill, Alice Coltrane, most recently. Part of this is the whole idea that these people are irreplaceable. They were unique individuals and no one is doing things quite the way they were. Plus, I like holding onto things, and don't like the idea of people "leaving" us.

So today when I got word of the passing of Boots Randolph, it felt especially odd. Not because I'm a big Boots Randolph fan. Sure, I like "Yakety Sax" but I never bought any of his albums. His music was a little more of a punchline in my "serious" jazz tastes. He was more of a pop player, sort of like Herb Alpert (who I like, but that's a different story).

No, I felt odd because I might very well have been the last person to interview Boots before he fell ill and eventually passed at the end of June. I was definitely one of the last people to talk to him. JazzTimes had me interview him because he put out a CD of straight jazz tunes, the first ever in a career that yielded 50+ albums.

....Geez, I wonder if his message is still on my answering machine........

Anyhow, he was a really nice guy, in the old school gentleman sort of way. Polite, talkative, forthcoming, candid -- we started out talking about the US Open that was happening at Oakmont that week. "Is that ever a badass golf course!" He had just turned 80 about a week prior and didn't sound it. He was looking forward to going on the road to promote this album. Who know how long it was between our talk and the day he was admitted to the hospital. I could figure out the days but in another way, I don't want to. That's a little to do. I wonder if our conversation was still in his mind when he checked in.

Make your own jokes about me killing him. I'd rather not. He and I would probably both find it funny, though, so go ahead.

Oh, by the way, you can now buy ringtones of "Yakety Sax." Maybe that'd be a good homage.