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Date Posted: 05:45:01 10/09/09 Fri
Author: Eddie
Subject: Walther Niemann

I received a forwarded message from the niece of Walther Niemann, our manager, that he passed away on 9/18/09 from a heart attack at his home in Sulzfeld Germany.

When I first met Walther Niemann in Stuttgart, in 1965, I was unprepared for the influential role he would play in my life. For the first two years, I knew him, he advised our group, the Monks, in which I played bass. His expertise in art and business helped to create a "rock" group that went beyond the limits of the day. He was a caring man who spoke to each person on an individual and personal level. He was a manager and a peace maker.

As I had been a musician before I had come to Germany, he and I had enthusiastic conversations about the influential musicians of the day. He could discuss John Coltrane and Miles Davis as well as any jazz critic. Regarding the music of our group, he and I discussed concepts like minimalism; the evolution of art and the power of the word, For forty years after the Monks were disbanded,, he and I continued our friendship; and he continued to advise me when I discussed my ongoing musical projects. We spoke to each other on the telephone, thousands of miles apart. In 2003 I visited him in Wurzburg. I enjoyed hearing him describe his newest interests, like the Polish composer Henryk Gorecki or the French composer Olivier Maessian. They became my favorite composers. He introduced me to concepts like Gestalt and loop based music construction, long before the computer and electronic music came into existence. He was not a person of confined interests. For him, music made by an instrument, invented just days before, was just as important as music played on traditional instruments invented hundreds of years ago. He was a man of many interests, still curious as long as I knew him. He made a difference in my life.

Through his gentle guidance, my life has been made better. Walther Niemann is a mentor, a friend, and a true gentleman. I will miss him.

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