Joe introduced us about 1987 during a recording session at his studio. I found Joe doing musical chops on bass, as he played along with a jazz record. Descending the staircase I slowed my approach just so I could hear this new song. I listen closely to appreciate his skill, which was equal to the maestro horn player. Mostly what I heard was the bass but I caught the sounds bleeding from the headphones. I lingered allowing my feet to tread lightly upon the wooden steps. I knew Joe practiced along with Weather Report and DeBussey but I was unsure who this was.
As I peered down at him, his back to me, left arm poised, his fingers were rapidly and accurately following the intricate melody. He made it seem effortless and as I walked quietly to stand before him, I saw that his eyes were closed. Fat earphones covered his ears and his head moved smoothly to a rhythmic pace. He kept the beat and timing by doing this and I could see his foot was also tapping out the tempo in a comfortable groove.
At the end of the song, Joe’s eyes flashed open and he smiled slowly. He looked so happy and relaxed. I asked him if he would remove the earphones and repeat the song for I had never heard it before. He obliged me by testing the volume on the big speakers first, then carefully picking up the diamond needle, he gently placed it into the groves prior to the song I had requested. Joe looked away into the distance as his fingers took off to travel up and down the neck of the instrument. In a few moments his eyes closed, probably because when music and performance is quite personal, eye closure takes one to the place where talent and emotion meet. The full sounds were incredible.
By the end of one song, I was hooked on this artist. “Who is that?” I inquired enthusiastically pointing to the record, which by now was starting to slow in the number of its rotations. “Miles Davis.” Joe answered with a slight reverence in his voice. He told me more about the artist who was a jazz icon and just why I didn’t know his music, was beyond me, as I had been working the music scene for years by then. I guess exposure is the best teacher when it comes to any art.
We have been listening to Miles Davis in companionable accord ever since. Miles and Joe are jazz lifestyles of which I shall never tire.
Seek out good things and and always enjoy great memories.