Just heard via Scott Mehinick (his source, Time Out NY) that Papa Joe Maneri has passed on. Apologies for the ramshackle nature of this remembrance, but this hits me in the gut & heart, hard. Joe was (& still is) one of my favorites, as a musician and human being. I have fond memories of the half dozen times I was fortunate to catch him in performance. The best was the first at the Chicago Cultural Center and a post-show hang at a downtown hotel with Bhob Rainey as our impromptu sponsor. In the bar, over a bowl of peanuts, Joe regaled us with tales of his past, present and future for hours, finally taking down my address and promising to write when it came time to count sheep. A month went by, two, and I forgot all about the pledge. Then, out of the blue, I found an envelope in my mailbox festooned with glitter and gold star stickers & post-marked from Massachusetts. Inside was a hand-written letter from Joe with an apology for his delay in reply and an effusive, stream-of-consciousness reflection on that magical Chicago night. I still have the letter and treasure it. Seeing him in years subsequent he always greeted me with a grin that could warm the body from head to foot. On one such occasion, after his performance at the first (and sadly only) ACME festival in Athens, OH, Jon Morgan (of Meniscus Records) and I conspired at length about financing and releasing a solo record by Joe. That plan never came to pass and it’s something I’ve regretted since, especially so now. Hopefully there will plenty more remembrances in the coming hours and days. I look forward to reading them as a means of assuaging the sadness and have Joe’s own directive: “Get Ready to Receive Yourself” at my mind’s forefront.