|Some of you might be familiar with my work as a photographer of jazz musicians through CD covers and for the 52 covers I shot for JazzTimes from the late '80's through the 90's, as well as most other jazz mags. Those who know me well know I was a pro guitarist before that. In the latter part of my music career I had the privilege of studying bebop guitar with Remo Palmier for about 4 years. I would go to his place on the upper westside every Sunday for a lesson and many times be treated to meeting some of the legends that were his friends, over there for coffee and donuts.
Remo taught me to play lyrically and not to be intimidated into playing a lot of notes just to impress. He used to tell me, "You should be able to hum the solo when you're walking down the street. In otherwords, there had to be content. I would always ask him to play fast and wild. He would look at me and just play the RIGHT notes. Believe me... he could play as fast as anybody but had no desire to show off. He just played the right notes.
He would tell me about all his experiences throughout his career. I believe he said he was about 17 years old when he played on "Groovin' High", "Dizzy Atmosphere", and "All the Things You Are" with Dizzy and Charlie Parker.
I was always interested in photography as well as music. I was learning lighting, etc., from a photographer I met around this same time. At one lesson, I had a camera so Remo asked if I could photograph him for a publicity shot. The next Sunday, instead of a lesson, I photographed him, and never looked back. But Remo was the first jazz artist I ever photographed.
As time went on I didn't keep in touch, although I thought to. I always wondered
if he knew how well I did as a music photographer (Just goes to show you- Don't procrastinate- people won't be around forever).
Photographer Andrew Lepley e-mailed me about 'The Last Post' which brought my attention to Remo's passing. Anyone who knew Remo would know that he was the kindest, gentlest, caring individual you could know. He will be missed.
Gene Martin Photographics
New York City