Friday, May 01, 2009

R.I.P. Jeffrey Rosen


Last month my good friend Danny Rosen’s brother Jeffrey passed away, leaving a wife and two kids as well as a grieving extended family.

I just wanted to take a moment to note this tragedy.

The night he passed away I was at the Beacon Theatre watching Eric Clapton with the Allman Brothers. I had my Iphone email up and running because I was sending updates to my friend Norm by request. I wasn't thinking about anything outside the cozy confines of that dark theatre, which felt very much like church, like being inside a sealed off universe with a small group of fellow believers. No one else may have cared what was going on in there, but for us it was a holy moment. Despite many crosscurrents and cross pollination and the fact that Duane Allman helped Clapton reach the peak of his career with Layla, EC had never taken the stage with the ABB. Now it was happening. Nothing could break my focus away from this moment

I wasn't thinking about anything else and never, ever would have had email open except that I was sharing my thrills with Norm. Then I got this message from Becky: "If you read this, say a prayer at the concert for Jeff. He died today."

I was shocked. I was standing there feeling numb and deeply conflicted when the band started playing “Little Wing.” It is one of my favorite songs, one which always has felt deeply spiritual in some vague way, but which now sounded like a lamentation. And I thought “I might not know how to pray properly but I know how to pray for Jeffrey to this.”

And I knew that it was appropriate because Jeffrey shared the feeling that this music could be sacred. I suspect that he knew how to pray other ways as well, but I knew we spoke the same language when it came to the music. I knew it made sense to send him a prayer through "Little Wing."

Jeff loved this music as much as anyone I ever knew and we had some great email exchanges over the years.. about the Allmans, the Dead, spirituality in music. He always had some great, deep thoughts on all of these topics and they all swirled through my head.

As soon as the song took off, I started crying like a baby. It was the second time I ever remember crying at a concert.

There is no way to make sense of this and I won’t even try. But I knew how much he would have loved to hear this, how excited he would be, how I might just as easily have been sending him updates. All I can say is, given this whole situation, there is no other song I would have wanted to hear at that very moment.

Here is a video of the song: