Dreaming with Pick in Mouth
In the mid 80's a unique listening opportunity descended on the jazz lovers of Charlottesville Virginia. Emily Remler and Larry Coryell stayed in Charlottesvile for a short time in order to develop material for a album that they planned. They held spontaneous sessions at a local watering hole, often with no announcement. They did not introduce themselves when onstage, but did introduce the "sitters," those local musicians who often sat in with them.
This sometimes led to rather unusual audience dynamics. The bar was popular with University students, who frequently hadn't got the word on who was playing. Sometimes they would play "quarters" loudly and ignore the activity on stage. Once I overheard the following. "Hey, who are these people, anyway? Not bad, for locals."
This is amusing on many levels. They are numerous expatriot New Yorker jazz locals here who are stars or near stars. At times it seems like everybody here is from New York or New Jersey anyway.
These sessions were rich and we listeners felt rich beyond anything we deserved. The mood swung everywhere: there were feisty moments when things didn't click. Sometimes someone walked off stage. It was a rare opportunity to see two musicians putting together the material for an album, live.
John D'Earth (Trumpet), Robert Jospe (Drums) and a number of local guitarists (including Tim Reynolds, who later played with Dave Matthews) and guitar students sat in during these sessions.
Emily Remler was a rising-star jazz guitarist in the 1980s whose style, influenced by Wes Montgomery, fused hard swing and lyricism with Brazilian and other forms of music, making her one of the most compelling newcomers around. Remler did not let the notoriously sexist barriers of the jazz world deter her from her passion for playing music, and early on she landed a contract with Concord Records.
Her ultimate obstacle, however, proved to be fatal: an addiction to heroin.
Remler died in Australia on May 4, 1990 at the age of 32.
Remler's music remains, she recorded seven albums of hard bop, jazz standards and fusion guitar, East to West, Take Two, and This Is Me, collaborations with Larry Coryell, Ray Brown, and Susannah McCorkle.
Born in New York City, Emily began to play the guitar at the age of ten. Initially inspired by hard rock and other popular styles of music, she experienced a musical epiphany during her studies, from 1976 to 1979, at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. She began to listen to such legendary jazz greats as Wes Montgomery, Miles Davis and John Coltrane. She took up jazz with a ferocious intensity, practising almost constantly, and never looked back.