Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Bobby Shew

The Bobby Shew I knew in the 1970's looked a lot more like this, young, trim, vibrant, and a very talented horn player who went around the country doing workshops for student musicians. I first met him in Rock Springs, Wyoming, the year after I graduated from high school when I accompanied a group from my alma mater to meet him and learn from him.

I was mostly impressed by his lifestyle choices at the time, choosing to give up sugar and red meat, well ahead of the curve on both.

As talented as he was as a musician, he was an effervescent dinner companion, a fascinating student and observer of life and human nature.

We corresponded for a time, then some years later I found myself in a late-night beachfront nightclub in Malibu, California, with a friend, where Bobby Shew and some other musicians were performing. I had the waiter send him a drink, with a note I'd written on a cocktail napkin: "Kathy Lawrence is sitting in the audience and is sending you this drink."

He interrupted his set with a spontaneous, "Kathy, where the hell ARE you???" and crossed the smoke-and-jazz filled room to join our table for conversation.

Bobby Shew.

It was the last time I saw him in person, but I've followed his career, and his music, and been appreciative than our paths crossed. I still think of him every time I contemplate giving up sugar or going vegetarian, or whenever I reflect on "The Hindu Yogi Science of Breath."

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