Music, as you know, is the binding ingredient in my life. Loud, live music is, for me and many in the tribe I belong to, a guiding light for us. It connects us on a primal and spiritual level to each other and our inner selves. My life is peppered with extremely strong ties to other humans through music. This is, I believe, no accident. The human desire to feel rhythm, to connect with the pulse, is as old as humanity itself. Our own heartbeats are always there creating a steady backbeat to the universe as a whole.
Like minded souls who gravitate towards this muse gather in myriad forms throughout the world. It doesn't matter if it is jazz, blues, orchestral, punk, rock, or the banging of upside down buckets in a park; there is a camaraderie an community created through music all over the globe. Certainly there are mitigating factors that separate the tribes. Ego and attitude are two of the many factors that keep the jazz purist from the hippie legions and EDM kids. But there is a common bond.
I have known many people in my life through music. Many of the bonds that have have been formed seeing our favorite bands together have been life long and lasting. Until one of us dies. In the last 24 months I have lost several good music friends. People I was close to, shared life's travels with; brothers and sisters of the dance. I recently lost two friends at the same time and I have been sad, depressed, angry, and generally in a dark funk.Seeing live music recently has helped.
I am dedicating this blog post to my good friend Chef Larry Bressler and his wife Denise. These people were an integral part of the music scene I dance around in. Every year at High Sierra Music Festival Larry would feed me and taunt me and make me work in his outdoor "Bitchen Kitchen". He was loud, just like me. He was inappropriate in a good way, like me. He was always laughing, like me. We were brothers in food. His career as a professional chef and instructor at the Le Cordon Blue in Los Angeles was legendary. His midnight crayfish boils at High Sierra were things of epic beauty. I have encountered so few people in my life who made me feel so welcome and loved at first meeting. I loved his food and he loved my chocolates. We were truly brothers in arms.
He had recently undergone surgery to help him lose weight. It worked and he had lost 185 pounds. He was fired up and ready to go. We spoke often and he was so in love with his wife Denise. Her recent diagnosis of MS, while certainly devastating, actually became a positive for them. Their spirits rose to the occasion and they were fighting it with positivity, light, love and determination. They both continued to be active in the music scene and were permanent fixtures at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. The music community at large has been mourning their passing.
This last summer he inducted me into his "Krewe of Roux"--the official name for our cooking crew at High Sierra by giving me a beautiful glass pendant. I wear it with pride and look forward to returning this next year and stepping in and cooking for his friends and my family at large. It was the first thing we thought of the night we heard the news, My friend who broke the news said "You KNOW what Larry would do? COOK!" So we did.We will. Rest in peace Larry and Denise.
May the four winds blow you safely home.