My old friend Jim Martinez -- a fantastic jazz pianist in Northern California who will be the first to boycott Seattle if we ever get the Kings -- posted this note from Dave Brubeck on Facebook in the wake of the jazz legend's death, a day shy of his 92nd birthday, earlier this month. Jim received the letter "about 7 years ago." I'm printing it here, with Jim's permission, because I think it is amazing on several levels. To start:
-- This is a personal letter in response to Jim's invitation to collaborate. How generous is this??? First, just to get a response had to have sent Jim through the roof. To get a personal, detailed note like this -- "I'm very complimented that you would like for me to do something with you" -- speaks volumes of Brubeck's character.-- Not enough musicians make ambitious requests like this. Case in point: Last year Roger Daltrey told me that he rarely gets asked by other artists to collaborate on stage or in the studio. WTF!?!?!? Jim has a history of making preposterous requests with surprising results (How else can you explain how he got Charles Shultz to do the cover of his 1994 album, Good Grief! It's Jim Martinez?)
-- Look at this! Retirement!?!? Hardly! "The truth is I can't begin to catch up with my own unfinished projects. If you have followed my itinerary and are aware of the many recording projects you can see that I'll never catch up, but I keep trying. I know I must concentrate on those things that only I can do -- edit, arrange, plan sessions, etc. I struggle to filfill current obligations as they arise and juggle that with working on longe range projects. This keeps me from having any time to relax. I'm not complaining. It's just a fact. I hope I can keep on working as I approach my 85th birthday."
-- And then, of course, great advice: "You are a young man. You have a lot more time ahead of you than I. Take an old man's advice, "Don't waste any of your precious time. Keep on making music."