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Robbie Drumm


It has been a long while since I first got the terrible news that Robbie Drumm had passed on from this earth. He was lost to us through illness in August 2005.

Robbie's passing was and remains a huge loss in my life– both as a cherished friend who has gone on beyond me for now, and as one of the greatest musicians I was blessed to ever work with, no longer playing for this world. I've been thinking so much about him lately, and wanted you all to know a little about him.

Robbie Drumm was a brilliant and soulful artist of the first caliber. I don't have many details about his life before I met him in Los Angeles and he joined our band; what follows are just some of the things I felt about the greatest sax player I ever heard, bar none– the great Robbie Drumm.

That he was a true golden boy— that he was blessed with a talent that was utterly unique and brilliant. That he was the saintly lunatic this world makes of those who possess such a clear and incandescent gift. That I always felt he was my twin brother, my soul twin; the one with the slightly darker take on life, the one who seemed to me to be a little bewildered at a world which was like a brick wall to his gentle and vulnerable genius. He was smart, oh so smart. Too smart, really, and it showed in every note he chose to play or chose to not play. When I stood next to him on stage, I many, many times marveled at his complete mastery of music and rejoiced in the blending of whatever it was that he and I were in that distilled moment of the time of our impossible youth; and I poured it out of me to blend with the true spontaneous genius that was pouring out of his horn, his golden horn.

Nobody played like him. Nothing stood between the Creator Creating and the ears of those lucky enough to be there when he played. And that's the absolute highest compliment I could ever give anyone. That they didn't allow anything to get in the way of the pure creativity pouring out of them, not their ego, not their "themselves"— and certainly it was that way with Robbie Drumm, nothing got in the way, unless you could call the subtle indefinable dark colors of his passion and disappointment to exist in a world not suited for magic golden boys the filters that made his sound his own.

His were my favorite solos. He was my favorite saxman, hands down, of them all. No one could touch him because he had that huge, self-destructive intellect that saw it all, and the deep soul that can only come from many lifetimes of observing and experiencing the human condition.

I only hope I get to sing with him again the next time around. Many say that we search for those who are important to us when it comes time to reincarnate, and you know I'll be looking for Robbie.

The world and all of us are diminished by his passing. When someone we love is gone we are sometimes left confused by the bitter sorrow we feel. But all will be made bright and clear as the veil of this world is lifted from our eyes, and there's a song my mother used to sing that said, "we all will be together by and by."

When we listen to him play on the recordings he left, we can again experience the joy of the living memory of Robbie Drumm in his music, reminding us of and lending us faith in our eternal selves.

Here's Robbie, playing it like nobody else ever could, one of my all time favorites, Rainbow.

Robbie's Rainbow