April 20, 2006 (link)
If you were never lucky enough to meet him, here's a great interview with Raphe that'll give you a pretty good sense of what he was all about. I've read plenty of interviews where the personality of the interviewee doesn't really shine through, but Raphe was such a straight-up, lay-it-all-out-there kind of guy -- as I read it, I can practically hear his voice.
I didn't mention, in my earlier post: he bought my old trumpet, sometime in 1998 or 1999. It was a Besson, a nice horn with really sweet and quick-playing valves, though several of the valves and slides were stuck -- I hadn't played it in years, as I had basically given up the instrument when I took up the bass. (Ironically, I picked the trumpet back up within a year or two, after buying a cheap student horn from someone I knew, and ended up playing in a Fela Kuti cover band.) I don't remember how the topic came up, or what he wanted to do with it -- to refurbish it, certainly (he mentioned giving it a "chemical bath"), but I don't know whether he kept it to play, or turned it around to sell (maybe to a private student, or a friend).
Either way, it was money I needed desperately, and I was very grateful to him for it. I still remember getting the check with his birth name on it, and feeling a bit like I'd been let it on a secret.
Current music: Boards of Canada - "Peacock Tail"
April 18, 2006 (link)
Dammit, dammit, dammit. I had no idea he was even ill...
I mean, what can I say, really? He was a terrific and passionate and honest trumpet player, and a terrific and passionate and honest human being. He would play with anyone, anytime, anywhere -- he played on my junior recital, for Pete's sake, which included, like, Pink Floyd and Weather Report covers! I've written before about that concert, on which we also played one of his tunes...I think I've got the chart he gave me around somewhere, written out in Raphe's idiosyncratic style that used letter names (he'd write "G-D-Eb-Ab-D-C" in a row, with their vertical placement following the curve of the melodic line) and no notated rhythms (he taught them to us by ear).
(I picked up, and still use, that notation myself, actually -- for certain kinds of ideas, it's great.)
I also remember watching him play the piano in his office, watching him getting his chops together, figuring his way through standards and (if I'm not mistaken) some Bach pieces. And I remember recording a trio concert with him and Reggie Workman and Dennis Warren. At intermission, I asked them how long the second set would be, as I was trying to figure out if I could fit the whole thing on one DAT; Raphe misunderstood what I meant by the question, and offered to pay for the cost of a second DAT if it was a problem -- "We can eat it, we'll eat the cost". (How many concert pianists would say, "Oh, if the Beethoven goes long, don't worry, I'll pay for a second tape"?)
I also remember sitting in a car with him at one point, hanging out for 20 minutes or half an hour, and listening to him talk frankly, if briefly, about what he went through with heroin. And I remember calling him at one point, I think after I had left Benn!ngton -- I don't recall the occasion: maybe I was going to be passing through Brattleboro for some reason? I can't remember whether it was after he, too, had left, but he told me about the studio he'd built at his house, how he'd made it soundproof. He was excited about the music he was going to make there, but worried about money and the future -- he'd either gone back to working drywall to make ends meet, or thought he was going to have to.
"I mean, what can I say, really?" -- the same thing everyone says, when they hear that a friend has died: that I wish I could call him up, as I semi-consciously meant to but never did. "How's everything going, man? Do you have a new record out? I didn't know you were a tennis champion in high school, no shit! Can I send you a CD of what I've been writing lately?"
And I really wish I'd known -- reading around more, I guess he'd had a liver transplant a year ago. If I'd just checked up on him a few months ago, instead of typing his name into Google today and finding out...well, I could've said those things. Maybe for me than for him, but, you know, either way it would've been better to say them.
Rest in peace, man. You'll be missed: the world was better with you in it.
Current music: Raphe, Jason, Dave, Jay, and me - "Four Winds"
April 16, 2006 (link)
A half-dozen links, methinks:
(Is this real content? No, not really. Will some come, sometime soon? I think so.)
Current music: The Beatles - "Back in the U.S.S.R. (demo)"
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, J. K. Rowling