Yesterday was just beautiful; sparkling and crisp. Gerald, my neighbor here in Greenville, has a new bike and, as a rider for many decades, now wants to use this bike as much as weather permits. So I get lots of invitations to join him and his School of Arts compadres for rides. Yesterday there were six of us, and we rode out to “little” Washington, NC, strolled the waterfront, and returned. A great afternoon ride and social spell.
The balance to this afternoon of sunshine was the arrival of news that a dear teacher/mentor has passed. Marty Boykan was a long time prof at Brandeis, and a visiting prof at Columbia during my second year there. I worked with him that year, and he was a truly unique person/musician/influence. It’s clear from the many remarks and testimonials on Facebook that many agree, and many generations have felt his influence. His musicianship and teaching were eerily akin to what I experienced with Andy Imbrie at Cal—just astounding levels of ability, hearing, perception, and perspective on macro- and micro-levels. Marty, was also so personally engaging and outgoing, and I so appreciated every smile, wry comment, slice of sarcasm, that accompanied generally musically-centered conversations.
A dear friend noted that Marty’s passing made him feel strangely abandoned, a sentiment I understand. All of my teachers from Columbia and Berkeley are now passed, and one remains from UMass (he’s now 74). Perhaps interestingly, he was my first teacher. I’m more grateful than ever that we’re still in touch. Actually, tomorrow night I am to present some tunes to his studio up there. It feels more important than ever to express my gratitude for the things he taught me.