Peter Saltzman whom I was a big fan of once, is a friend of mine now, so I know much more about him than his music which is what I have turned to so often when I've needed to tear myself away from the cacophony of life to take me to the calm most of us try to reach out to almost every single day of our crazy lives.
An accomplished jazz pianist in Chicago, USA, Peter humbles me with the passion he has for his craft whenever I talk to him, which is quite often these days.
On a visit to Mumbai, some time ago, Peter left us riveted when he told us all about himself and his life.
He was barely three at the time his grandparents discovered his talent when he played around with an electronic organ lying around at their house once. Soon they bought him a standing piano which was the beginning of Peter's journey. He would fool around with keys till he got a sound he was looking for, and by the time he was five, his folks knew they must put him in training.
So Peter started to train in classical music at such a young age while growing up in the '60's when Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkle and the Beatles were a rage. So while he played their records over and over again till he wore them out, Peter continued to practise on sonata's of Beethoven, and by the time he was in high school, he developed a passion for jazz and started to play it.
I needed to know more about his journey, the process, so he took me through some of his memories like when he played with a band, with bass and drums for the first time in his freshman year at high school when his teacher got some of his top students to play with proffessionals. It was an incredible experience for him, the sense of playing with others, performing with others, was music to allude new levels for him.
It meant a lot as an experience and it was like, music for him has been a series of realizations of some incredible force.
He also remembered one time when he was about 15, and he was listening to a Miles Davis record called Milestones, Cannonball Adderley, the great jazz alto saxophonist of the hard-bop era of the 1950's and 1960's, started soloing and it was one of those times he remembers particularly because upto that instance he knew he loved the feeling of jazz but couldn't understand the abstract complex elements of it, but in that moment it was like the heavens had opened up for him and he began to see the whole thing and experience his passion in its true sense.
He smiles as he shares this private moment with me because he says it is a personal experience, all about him alone, for which he credits Cannonball in a certain way for explaining what it all meant.