Robert KIRBY – R.I.P.

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Come Larry Knechtel e Bobby Graham, scomparsi recentemente. Anche quella di Robert Kirby è una di quelle perdite che non finiranno mai in prima pagina. Eppure come per gli altri due grandissimi musicisti, Kirby fa parte della storia, indelebilmente. Era nato a Norfolk 61 anni fa ed è morto a Londra il 3 ottobre scorso, a causa di alcune complicazioni sorte dopo un intervento chirurgico. Straordinario arrangiatore/compositore e tastierista, scrive le sue pagine più belle accanto a Nick Drake, con il quale lavora a ‘Five Leaves Left’ e ‘Bryter Layter’. Basterebbe questo. Per tre anni è tastiersita degli Strawbs, quindi lo troviamo a collaborare con Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Elton John, John Cale, Paul Weller, Spirogyra, Vashti Bunyan, Linda Thompson, Sandy Denny, Arthur Brown e moltissimi altri. Nel luglio del 2005 meravigliosa la sua performance al Central Park di New York, quando dirige un’orchestra di 18 elementi, per riproporre la musica di Nick Drake. ‘Five Leaves Left’ viene eseguito per intero, oltre ad estratti dagli altri album. Appresa la notizia Gabrielle Drake, sorella/attrice del leggendario Nick – che qualcuno ricorderà nella serie TV “UFO” -, scrive quanto segue:

“It is with the deepest sorrow that we have to tell you all that Nick’s great friend and collaborator, Robert Kirby, died on Saturday 3rd October. Without Robert, Nick’s legacy of music would have been so much the poorer. From their earliest days at Cambridge, and for the rest of Nick’s all-too-brief life, as well as over the years when Nick passed from obscurity to recognition and fame, Robert was his champion and true friend. Others will be able to judge better than I how well Robert used his own formidable talent to serve Nick’s music, with his fine arrangements of Nick’s songs. But I will remember him as a loving friend, always willing to talk about Nick, to elucidate, where elucidation was possible, Nick’s character and quirks – but also happy to admit and love the enigma that was his friend, and my brother. No one knew Nick better – both as a man and as a musician. And his loss is a blow to all of us. But, of course, the greatest blow will be to his family. And I am sure that all of you would want to join me in sending to them heartfelt sympathy in their grief . I believe, too, that there will be many who feel, as I do, enormous gratitude for the privilege of having known the fine musician and compassionate man that was Robert Kirby”.

Gabrielle Drake, October 5th, 2009

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