I appreciated Richard Harrington's Aug. 9 Style tribute, which rightly observed that the late Keter Betts "elevated everyone fortunate enough to be around him."
I was one of those fortunate enough to have had Mr. Betts touch my life. He warmly embraced me as an artist, although I was not of his stature, and was generous enough to play with me. He added me to his list of friends, and I shared his knowledge, his warmth and his kindness.
Mr. Betts not only made music in the most memorable way, he made life better for everyone with whom he came in contact. I am grateful for people such as Keter Betts who bring such personal beauty into the world.
When my husband and I decided to get married more than 26 years ago, I said we could not set the date until Keter Betts was available. My husband-to-be naturally wanted to know who Keter Betts was and why his schedule was so important to us. I promised him that Mr. Betts was a great jazz bass player and that our wedding celebration would be a night filled with the sounds of world-class jazz.
Starting at age 8, with the help of my older brothers, I had been sneaking into D.C. jazz bars to hear Mr. Betts play when he was in town and not playing with Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson or Stan Getz. From that time on, I wanted Mr. Betts to play at my wedding, and my dream came true. Our wedding reception featured some of the District's finest local musicians, led by Mr. Betts.
Three years ago I called into WPFW during an interview with Mr. Betts and asked if he would compose a theme song for Washington. He remembered my wedding. Then he let out his booming laugh and said that the District was too political -- that political players never agree on anything, so they wouldn't agree on a city song either.
The District truly will miss this jazz giant.