Monday, 5 February 2007

Remembering Emily Remler

Around 1986 I was living in Istanbul Turkey. A local jazz programme played the whole of Catwalk, an album of original tunes by guitarist Emily Remler. I recorded the show and played it back over and over again. The compositions were inventive, had a direct line back to the jazz tradition, had a relaxed swing, sensitivity and strong sense of purpose. Back in the UK, I was surprised that people were dismissive (e.g. “a Wes copyist”, "mainstream") because, to me, her sound and approach seemed modern and personal. When I hear Emily playing standards, I can sometimes see what people mean. However, she deserves credit for bringing her own unique qualities to the jazz guitar. When she duets with rock-influenced Larry Coryell, I know who I prefer.

Emily has a troubled personal life and sadly died at the age of 32 while on tour in Australia. Now there is a comprehensive website remembering Emily Remler: All Things Emily

1 comment:

mbenter said...

I agree John, I am always baffled by those that discount Emily's sense of style and the warmth she projected with her playing. She really could swing like nobody's business. She honored Wes by playing his songs and using some of his licks, is wasn't about copying, it was about paying respect to his influence. Catwalk was one of her best and confirmed her gift for composing. Pedals has come to represent the anthem of her life for me: playful melodies that progress and mature, becoming thoughtful and confident, moving from light to dark, serene to chaotic then back again to sweet timbres of hope and resolution. Emily was wonderful. Her music speaks for itself.