A Theme



I remember the first time I heard this theme – I was music director for CHFM in Calgary and I was in my office performing some task when the Warner Rep came by to drop this piece on my desk. All the reps knew I love Miles (and Jazz in general); I would get various pieces of music that had no business in the offices at Lite-96.

Later in the week sometime, with the office door closed and browsing new material for suitable tunes I decided to listen. I put this piece in the CD player.  There was one song as intro – proposing the theme – intriguing, slow and simple – and then another piece,  this piece – a continuation using these 17 tones in a descending route – repeated, and spoken with different weight – again, again, a little more forcefully, then altered slightly – ascending, and then instruments; gliss, and a bit of bass, brushes, a few piano notes and the theme still alive but vital – beneath and inside it all, in a whisper. A little over two minutes of music. Perfect. No other single breath could improve this.

I put it on repeat and listened to that one selection – that theme – over and over again, for a long time.

I remember it was spring, the trees at Tompkins park had light green leaves, you could still see sky through them, and the sun was just enough in the cool air so that only one side of you could be warm.

Nancy Ford knocked on the door to see what was up – someone outside was asking why the same thing was playing on repeat. The people in the creative department used to wonder about my behavior at times.

I told her to sit down, I closed the door and we both listened to it for ten minutes or so before I spoke.

I remember saying, “This is the closest you can get to reading a mind. I can feel the inside of the person playing this, I’m sure of it. Whether I get the emotions exactly right is not the point. The point is, I can feel his success. It’s perfect. And all he’s really saying is, ‘I’m here. It’s beautiful.’”


The Arrival