Phil Ramone: As Remembered By Family and Friends

May 1, 2013 9:00 AM

As Remembered By Family and Friends


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photo of Melora Hardin

Melora Hardin

Melora Hardin
It is obvious how much Phil Ramone contributed to the musical community. He was a forward-thinking, groundbreaking man of vision. A true leader in the business of music. But, what might be less known about Phil was his human-ness. I feel sure that he worked with so many amazing artists because he knew how to hold a huge space for each person he collaborated with. That was certainly true for me. I met Phil over the phone three years ago through our mutual friend, Lisa Roy, who felt that we may be a good match creatively and musically. She was right. Phil and I hit it off immediately and began collaborating on what would have been my next record. From the moment we first spoke I could feel Phil's genuine sweetness and relaxed humor. He was a kind and sensitive soul that spoke in a soft, warm voice that invited a feeling of creative safety and expansion. He had an amazing ability to inspire me outside of my comfort zone, making me feel that it was my idea to take that risk. I loved the way he would just give me a gentle nudge in the direction he thought I should go and then sit back and patiently wait, listen and watch to see how his suggestion would transpose and transpire in me. He held a deep sense of curiosity and reverence for me and my music, making me feel safe to fail so I could fly. He was down to earth, real and genuinely enthusiastic about all the musical endeavors he was involved with. He seemed to hold them all in the same regard whether he was working with a huge superstar or a relatively unknown artist. He was completely invested in whoever had his ear and I felt incredibly honored that somehow I was one of those lucky ones who got to spend time with him, enjoy him, learn from him and bask in his excellence and kindness. I miss him very much, but I also celebrate the gift of his attention, inspiration, support and, most of all, his friendship. I will always remember Phil Ramone as a kind of magical, musical, gardener because Phil planted seeds. He didn't make demands. And the flowers from those seeds will grow in me and through my music forever.

photo of Paul de Benedictis

Paul de Benedictis

Paul J. de Benedictis
I didn't know Phil Ramone very well personally, but he knew everyone I know and worked with them all it seems. Many years ago, one evening at NAMM I was hosting a big dinner for artists on behalf of Opcode Systems, and two notable folks at the table, Walter Becker and Tom Scott, knew Phil well because when he walked into the restaurant he came right over to the table to say hello.

And prompted, as I remember it, by me getting introduced as 'from Opcode,' Phil launched into a fabulous story, I'll have to paraphrase from memory: "Opcode? I was just on the plane flying here and using my laptop with Opcode's EZ Vision [sequencer] and I feel like I just invented the Blues!" All at the top of his voice with intense excitement and joy and smiles. He seemed to remember me after that moment at AES shows or NAMM shows when I timidly and reverentially said hello to him. A great memory for me.

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