Tuesday, February 3, 2015

REST IN TEMPO: Zane Musa


I have been mostly unable to talk to anyone since Monday night when one of my four best friends of recent years, Mr. Zane Musa, transitioned. This is a GARGANTUAN and horrific loss to the entire world. it particularly hits home for me. I prayed so hard as it was unfolding that it was not actually happening. I still had a glimmer of hope that perhaps people were misinformed.

Zane Musa was one of my first jazz heroes in Los Angeles ever since I first heard him some 18 years ago. I was 16. John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter have been my two biggest inspirations as performers, and Zane is one of maybe two or three other people on the saxophone that I have ever witnessed live touch upon some of the same depths of transcendent mastery and joyous exploration.

Over the last 18 years, we would see one another, play 1-4 gigs a year, have some great laughs and very soulful and sincere interactions. He would always say, 'Miguel, you are a baddddd motherfucker.' He was probably just being kind, because he was sensitive enough to know how much I was struggling but not giving up.

The turning point in our relationship was almost exactly two years ago when I ran into Zane late night at the Dresden Room in Los Feliz. This was around the time that I mentioned to some of his closer friends that I was really concerned about Zane and his overall well-being. This was not properly conveyed to him and it caused him to think that I was talking shit about him. I don't talk shit. I have never said a negative word about him in my life. Zane has always been a hero to me and I have never wanted anything but the absolute best for him. That night, zane proceeded to get less than inch away from my face and yell and cuss at me. Ferociously. I managed to take the conversation outside, where we ended up talking for easily another 4-5 hours.




He started realizing to the depth that not only was I not talking shit about him, but that I was a brother to him, loved him to his core, have been adoring him all of these years, and actually cared about him wayyyyyyyyyy beyond the world of music. We talked about Austin Peralta that night, we talked about Zane's brother, who recently passed, and we talked about some of my issues, like extreme heartbreak for one.

From then on, we were serious homies. He would play in my large ensemble when he could and we would have long conversations on the phone and enjoy sushi together. we counseled one another and talked about serious issues. It was always optimistic, constructive, well-informed, healing, humorous and joyous. never a pity party. I feel very loved by many, many people around the world, but Zane is one of the only people that would dig deep into me and really ask me what was going on and offer profound insights and constructive and mature perspectives. He made the effort with me. It touched my heart so deeply. Some people just happen to relate to one another, and Zane and I have this.

Even though we were trying to get sushi only a couple days ago, the last time I saw him was less than 6 weeks ago. He severely blessed us all with his presence in my large ensemble at the Blue Whale late December 2014. Luckily it is all filmed and recorded, although the emphasis musically did not include a bunch of soloing, so there are not as many Zane features as I would have appreciated, especially after this week's events.

Life is so precious. It is an amazing gift so far beyond what we can possibly fully comprehend. Zane has been one of the brightest lights in my life, for which I am eternally grateful for. Luckily, I know that because of the depth and sincerity of our connection he will continue to live inside my heart for eternity. This is something that will be fueled on a daily basis. People like Zane are well beyond extremely rare. At least I know he felt loved and knew that he holds a fundamental place in the lives of those that he touched. He isn't just an insanely awesome artisan -- he is a healer, a truly great friend and someone that I think cares about people and holds a torch for everyone.

I can only imagine how Zane's family and other close friends must be feeling. Please shower them all with the most profound love, light, and appreciation that you can. They are all such super beautiful and wonderful people. I feel very strong and healthy, but I am sure there are others that really need some support.

I love you forever, Zane, and appreciate you for caring about me so much, for being such a good friend to my bud Austin and for playing your ass off in such a way that we only need to think of you and we eternally light up. Hero status for sure.

Zane, you have my promise to fully live out my life in the healthiest, most authentic, respectful and joyful way that I possibly can. You are forever a fixture in my everyday life and heart. Thank you for touching me that deeply to make me feel that way.

Wishing you eternal freedom bro and may whatever is deepest in your heart fully and completely manifest.

I love you Zane.

Miguel Atwood-Ferguson
Los Angeles
February 5, 2015
[reprinted with permission by the author]

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