here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

– e.e. cummings, from [I carry your heart with me(I carry it in my heart)]

Allan Browne died on Friday, as Bennett’s Lane prepared for its final weekend – he was to close it out on Monday, the last in a string of twenty years of Mondays. When I was in the grip of my teenage obsession with jazz music, Allan was always there, sipping chamomile tea at the Bennett’s Lane bar between sets. The two are so tightly wound together that I can only clearly picture Allan there, even though I saw him countless times in other places. Allan cured my snobbishness about traditional jazz, in part by always including young people in his trad bands, but also by moving effortlessly – and with evident enjoyment – between the new and old strands of jazz. He also very often had women in his bands, and was a sideman in many bands run by women, which is perhaps slightly less notable now than it was in the 90s, but still feels quite remarkable.

Today I’m going to listen to East St. Kilda Toodleoo, which was released during the year I lived in 3183, and to When Words Fail, one of my favourite albums of the Paul Grabowsky Trio. It’s hard to believe that Paul is the only one of the three who remains.