Everyone's a Critic
The Observer's culture blogThursday, August 25, 2011
Scott Petersen: RIP - A Remembrance by Paul Keller
It is with incredible sadness that I report to you that our dear friend and awesome saxophonist, composer and arranger, Scott E-Dog Petersen, died Friday, August 11, 2011. Scott passed away after a long fight with Cystic Fibrosis (CF), a double lung transplant and, in the last few weeks, trying to overcome an infection. Because of his chronic condition, Scott was expected to live only to 25 years of age but he made it to 55. He was one of the longest-living Cystic Fibrosis patients ever in history! His life was extended 3 years by his transplant.
Scott was one of my closest friends - more like a brother. He was an amazing multi-saxophonist and an incredible musical genius! But more importantly: he was a honorable man who was loved by everyone who knew him.
E-Dog loved fast cars (his email address was firstname.lastname@example.org), Wayne Shorter, John Coltrane, Larry Young, Thad Jones, parallel chord harmonies (lots of his compositions use parallel chord motion), the Blues, his Detroit and San Francisco friends, Dominic Dog, kids, his CD E-DOG-ORIKO (which in Japanese means: Good Guy) and most of all his beautiful mate Susan Zeitler (who cared for him and stood by him for the past 20 years).
The first time I met E-Dog was in 1982 in Grand Rapids, MI after he a Walt Szymanski played a Saturday night gig at the Intersection with the Usual Suspects. (He already had the nick-name E-Dog at that point) I showed up late to hear the band at the Intersection after my steady gig with drummer Bennie Carew. Walt, Scottie and I instantly became friends. We partied all night that night. After a night with no sleep, we went for Sunday breakfast at Gaia Restaurant and wound up jamming in the front window of that diner until we couldn't stand up anymore. What a great memory! Here's another one: When I was traveling in Europe somewhere (can't even remember where), I was in an electronics store and found a little electronic robotic dog called E Dog! I had to buy it. I saved it and it was a year before I was able to see Scott at my house on one of his Michigan visits. My little boy Nat gave him the E Dog and Scott roared laughing with pleasure when Nat gave it to him. Those are just two remembrances out of thousands of beautiful moments I spent with Scott.
Scott Petersen played in many Detroit jazz groups including the Motor City Jazz Quintet, The J. C. Heard Orchestra, the Paul Keller Orchestra (he was the lead alto saxophonist), the Sun Messengers, the Suspects, Johnny Bassett, and Bill Heid and the Blues Insurgents. He studied music at Oakland University with Marvin "Doc" Holliday, Sam Sanders and Herbie Williams. He was a beloved mainstay on the Detroit jazz scene for many years until his health issues forced him to move to the San Francisco Bay area where the climate was easier on his lungs. Not surprisingly, he had great success, as well, in San Francisco as a free-lance musician and steady member of the Mike Vax Big Band and Steve Lucky and the Rhumba Bums.
Scott fought all of his life just to stay alive but he never complained. Doctors say that playing the saxophone every day helped exercise Scott's lungs and extended his life by many years. Jazz and the saxophone certainly gave a deeper meaning to his life and his music gave great pleasure to many thousands of his friends and fans. Thankfully, we can remember Scott Petersen through several great recordings that he made including his own CD: E-DOG ORIKO, The Paul Keller Ensemble: TALL CORN, Bill Heid: WET STREETS and many others. Scott Petersen lived his life with grace, humor, humility, compassion and love. E-Dog was always trying to get good - to get better - to be the best he could be. I am comforted by the many fond memories of great musical experiences with E-Dog and laughing so hard that we could hardly move! I am a richer and better person for having known and loved Scott E-Dog Petersen!
Scott passed away Saturday August 13, 2011 @ 5:40 PST under a full moon.
January 16, 2013, 1:35 p.m.
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