When I started working at my college radio station, I was 18 years old and getting into Jazz and other “out” music. Thankfully, a veteran DJ – one who was a faculty member at the University and who had hosted a radio show for years – took me under his wing. He passed many records my way – and he lent me actual LP records – and to this day, that’s the main way I listen to music.
One memorable pile he let me borrow, if I remember correctly, included a couple of McCoy Tyner records, Cecil Taylor’s Unit Structures, and John Coltrane’s Sun Ship. That pile in particular was a lot more memorable than other piles, because it had a record I never got around to listening to: Steve Reich’s Music For 18 Musicians (on Manfred Eicher’s ECM record label, a label I already mentioned here). When I returned the records to him, I admitted to not listening to it and he scolded me and told me it was my major loss.
His words ran through my head for a few years, until I caved in and purchased Music For 18 Musicians for myself. That piece has become one of my all time favorites and the music of Steve Reich has been very important to me for many years. Happy 75th Birthday Steve Reich – To celebrate, see birthday tributes at NPR and Nonesuch.