848. Lew Soloff (I can’t believe I’m writing this)

What do I know about music?

Not much.

I do know a lot of wonderful and talented musicians and they all thought Lew was one of the greatest trumpet players ever. Let them tell you why he was everyone’s first call.

I’ll tell you about Lewie.

I called a friend to tell him about Lew dying last night and after the shock wore off, my friend said, “I feel bad, haven’t been close to him in years.”

It was then that I realized that if you ever met Lew in person you were close to him. You know how when people say to someone who is talking too loud “Use your inside voice”?

Lew didn’t have an “inside personality”. If you met him for a minute he was the same as if you knew him for 30 years. He might tell you about how he lost 40 pounds or where to go for the best sushi.

Man did he love to eat. I heard a story and I don’t know whether or not it’s true that when Lew played with Blood Sweat and Tears and the money was rolling in he’d fly to Bologna just to eat in this 5 star restaurant. It’s certainly sounds like Lew.

He was incredibly honest which sometimes made him a pain in the ass and always made him someone to trust.

He was also kind. After my divorce he made sure to keep in touch with me. He invited me to his 70th birthday party but I declined because I felt funny being around all those musicians. He called me up and nagged me until I said I’d be there.

Look, sometimes he’d drive me crazy.

We were in Japan having breakfast and he insisted on questioning the waitress who spoke almost no english which juice she preferred mango or papaya? Her smiles and blank looks did nothing to stop him. He thought if he added a few more adjectives she’d get it. Sweeter? More delectable? Because you know that if someone doesn’t understand the word ‘sweet’ they’re bound to get ‘delectable’.

It was only when I yelled at him ” Pick one or get them both Lew.This isn’t the last juice you’ll ever drink”.

But that wasn’t Lew. He was always searching for the perfect juice or the perfect note.

Yeah, he drove me crazy but I loved him in my bones.

My deepest sympathies to his family. Luckily his lovely daughters were with him at the end.

I understand he died right after he had dinner.

I hope he had dessert.


7 thoughts on “848. Lew Soloff (I can’t believe I’m writing this)

  1. Mattie–I just had to tell you how moved I was by reading what you said about Lew!! I also was very moved by your writing! You are GREAT writer, Mattie!! Yes-It is very shocking—and sad. When is the funeral?? And YES–Lewie most definitely WOULD understand! If you need or want to talk…I’m here!! XOXCarol

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