Brian Jones

Friend and Boston Organist

From my earliest acquaintance with Charlie in my high school days I was struck by his perception and brilliance, as well as his modest confidence and openness to new as well as radical old ideas and concepts. His delightful paradox, it seemed to me, was how the full-bodied, rich and even aggressive sound of his organs contrasted with his quiet demeanor and personality. One evening a few years after the dedication of the Harvard organ, we were sitting next to each other in Appleton Chapel at a recital when the performer played a particularly sinewy Reger piece. As it concluded, Charlie leaned over to me: “that organ really has big, white teeth, doesn’t it, Brian?” My retort: “you said it, Charlie!” I also recall reading The Diapason article in which Charlie outlined his belief in wind flexibility and tuning temperament alternatives, and thinking how daring and interesting a mind he had. Most of all, we all learned whenever we came into contact with him, whether through hearing one of his instruments, reading something he had written, or in conversation, when he always listened patiently and then commented with his unique and unassuming wisdom.