Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Piano Men --- Day 341

Walk: de Young Museum (join 2 friends' final qualifying docent tours), Fillmore Street
Distance: 2 miles

Walking by a really small piano tuning and refinishing store down the hill from me I  (finally) noticed a warm Christmas display.

The store is owned by a man whose whole life is pianos and perfect sound.  A charming article was written about him and his totally 'low key' venue last month in our local neighborhood rag, The New Fillmore.  It was a real 'aww' article about his fidelity to music, his quiet obsession with perfect pitch, something about sitting at a piano and being able to play almost instantly, and especially nice because we neighbors who don't play piano but pass by his store, love its presence and wonder who he is.

Then this month there was a letter from him to the editor.  I assumed it would be some sort of thank you.  Not at all, politely but exactingly he ripped the article and its author to shreds for complete factual 'fantasy.' It was shocking and exciting to read (not what you expect in a little local paper), and it made me admire him/his character even more.  This is a deeply honest, exacting and unpretentious man.

Knowing this I looked a little closer at the sheet music sitting quietly in the middle of his display.  A very touching tribute; there is no way the composer would have such a place of honor in the piano man's display unless he was immanently worthy.  And, boy, was he - as well as a local kid who made good for the world.

Probably my flash obscures the name on the music: Dave Brubeck (December 6, 1920 - December 5, 2012).  ("Fantasy" article that also contains quite a bit of truth on Robert C. Bell (piano tuner and refinisher), 2011 Divisadero, San Francisco.  I'll add his rebuttal if I can find it in accessible form). 


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