When Anne and I first met we could not have been more ill suited for partnership, either personal or professional. I had learned, and was still plying, my trade as a barroom pianist: traveling over 1000 miles a week to play my 9 steadies—earning as much back then weekly as on a single well-paying gig now. During the day, I would lure students at a community music school into the great swamp of jazz.
Anne was teaching a huge parade of classical students at that same school; she remains a gifted pedagogue with a formidable pedigree, having studied with some of the most important flautists on the East Coast, among them Rampal’s most celebrated American protegé, Ransom Wilson. When we encountered one another it was electrifying “love at first sight” dampened only by the inconvenient presence of her mortician husband (no joke!). As I chastely waited on the sidelines, Anne’s first marriage ran its course and we became musical and life-partners in 2000.
We immediately set about finding some musical common ground—beginning with ragtime—while expanding each other’s musical abilities; she encouraged me to improve as an accompanist while I bade her dip her toe into the miasma of improvisation. There are too many influences and experiences to list exhaustively here, so a broad foray into highlights of our musical life will have to suffice.
I Remember Vividly:
- Our first public performance in the Lodge Dining Room at Sun Valley during the Jamboree; Anne was so scared to have people sitting two feet away from her that she didn’t blink once.
- Exploring tunes and styles: Anne has most likely performed more Fats Waller during the last decade then any other flutist in musical history.
- Our performance of Summertime in Caesarea, Israel in 2008 in front of an audience in lawn chairs 2500 strong; the plethora of frogs in the moat underneath the stage began singing along during the unaccompanied flute introduction to the tune.
- Traveling to Rwanda in 2010 at the invitation of the Swiss Ambassador to that troubled country to share cultural awareness and appreciation through music. Here we jammed on everything from Scott Joplin to Jimi Hendrix.
For us, music invites a global journey to teach and learn about one another. We are grateful for the opportunity to continue this adventure.
Jeff & Anne Barnhart