It’s been a long time since I’ve posted, but the passing of the great bassist Gary Peacock has me reflecting on everything he taught me many years ago, and on how his wisdom inhabits my musical universe today.
Overtones and the physics of sound, the “Wheel” of tritone resolutions, the “tendencies of tones,” and so much more. With a chalk board, a grand piano, and a healthy dose of humor, Peacock showed us how to enjoy music theory.
In my dreams the night after I’d heard about it, Peacock and I were walking in the neighborhood around Cornish on Capitol Hill, having a conversation. Now, we were never close, and what we talked about escaped my mind by the time I woke, but I woke with a good feeling.
Those were heady days: Peacock, Julian Priester, Art Lande, Jerry Granelli, and so many more. I was in my early 20s, shy, green and eager to learn. Larry Fowlkes, a wonderful tenor saxophonist and friend, told me about the scene at Cornish. So, I quit a good job, asked my parents for help, and took out loans to attend.
Loss can be so enlightening. Larry Fowlkes has been gone for many years, but his spirit lives on, just ask anyone who knew him. This year has brought loss to so many people, myself included. It makes you think: “What the hell am I doing with my life?” Well, I’m passing on some great things to my students thanks to Gary Peacock, but I (we) can still learn so much more.
A good place to start: “Gary plays his ass off, reaching for the sky and the earth simultaneously…” says Keith Jarrett (liner notes of My Foolish Heart, Live at Montreux, 2001, ECM records). Listen to the entire recording!
Rest In Peace, Gary Peacock