Hi, I am a Brit who loves jazz and guitar. I first met BJ at Le Joulin Restaurant in August 2001.

It was a special time for us, in San Francisco for our daughter and son in law and awaiting the birth of our first grandchild. Things were slow, so I had gone out alone to look for some jazz.

I liked their jazz, bought the BJ’s World CD, and settled down to listen. At the interval I got talking with BJ. He is such a friendly guy, that the evening didn’t end before we had plans to meet again at their next gig and I had invited him to stay with us when he visited UK on a holiday that he and Mary Helene had planned that autumn. That was the beginning of an adventure in friendship that has spanned those years. It somehow seemed appropriate to me when Sophia was born a few days later, on 29th August – Charlie Parker’s birthday!

The chaos and fear generated just a week or so later on September 11th 2001, caused BJ and Mary Helene to delay their European holiday until 2002. So we were delighted when they came, and agreed to stay with us; friendship needs courage to accept it is real, and worthwhile to make it happen. Their visit to us influenced my friendship towards others, and so I shall always be grateful for BJ’s “Yes” to us.

Who has played with BJ? I am proud to say I have even though it was only one time! Also the following Brits from the local jazz scene a few miles north of London all have. This was at a jazz party in my home in October 2002: Brian Benton - tenor sax, George Howe – alto sax, Eric Darlow – trombone, Doug Start - bass (also sadly deceased this year), and me on guitar. We enjoyed BJ leading us through his favourites in the Real Book. He was a great encouragement, and we played a lot before and after the party. Meanwhile the ladies talked for the nation, and friendship flourished.

It was a great visit in which we discovered so much about each others’ views of life politics and the world at large - and jazz!

It is a pleasure and a privilege to have had BJ as a friend, a joy to know how much he has encouraged so many musicians.

It has been comforting to read so many warm tributes to BJ, and add mid to them. I attach a photo of him playing as I met him, at Le Joulin Restaurant with Bishop Norman Williams, and Jean Repetto.