Kelvin Holland, had done, I saw, among other things, a story about us.Something I've believed since I began work for ReadWriteWeb is that nothing we write about here exists in a vacuum. No matter how obscure or specific or rarefied, every story we tell is about someone somewhere doing something. War, the economy, revolution, social movements - everyone everywhere is affected by everything. So when I saw what my best friend,
Lo these many years ago, Kelvin and I met at what became Ask.com. He wound up as the Head of Testing and I ran corporate projects. He now works in the DC area as the web producer for a history publisher. It was there he met Al Webber, a jazzman of the old school. Al recently passed away, but not before technology empowered Kelvin to capture, preserve and share a part of the man's ineffable essence.
Here, in Kelvin's words, is how love and tech allowed him to capture a hint of Al's voice and spirit before Al passed away on April 12 at the age of 85.
"Two years ago, I asked my dear friend, Al Webber, if I could interview him about his life-long love affair with jazz for Storycorps. He agreed. At the time, various factors prevented us from making the trip to New York's Storycorps studio. But fortunately, Al and I recorded a rehearsal session at his home. Half of the interview recordings have been uploaded. The other half will be online soon. Currently, the audio does not work on iPhone or iPad. Special thanks to Ted Taylor who retrieved the audio recordings from the disk drive of my defunct laptop. May you find some joy and comfort in these recordings of our loved one and friend."
Webber, who had a passion for New Orleans jazz - something I have in common with this friend of my friend - gigged until the week he died. He had been a husband, a father, a newspaperman and a veteran of the Allied landings at Normandy Beach, but jazz, he said, was the love of his life.
As I said at the beginning, we in the tech business are no less charged and altered by the movements affecting our societies than is any other group of people. So, the fact that here in America we have a black president is certainly important. But as important is the fact of a young black geek becoming friends with an old white jazzman and of cheap computerized recording technology and the Web making it possible for his voice to ring out in thousands of ears that never had the pleasure, before today, of hearing the name Al Webber.
What love demanded, technology allowed.