fotoflexer_jay-bennettAnother mad musical genius has died and with him goes any hope of a “Summerteeth 2: This Time It’s Personal!” Jay Bennett, 45, passed away in his sleep on Sunday of unknown causes. Bennett, known primarily as the guy who got sacked from Wilco during the “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” sessions, and who was unfairly (editor?) portrayed in the film “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart was a sonic innovator. Jay’s contributions to Wilco’s “Being There,” “Summerteeth,” the 2 “Mermaid Avenue” records and “YHF” are phenomenal. As a multi-instrumentalist, he added layers and structure more like a composer than a tunesmith. Post Wilco, Jay released some fine records both solo and with his writing partner, Edward Burch. In fact, do a google search and you can download his latest record for free.

Sadly, I saw the tortured side of Jay when he and Burch performed at the Club Cafe in 2004. Clearly not in any condition to perform, Jay collapsed to the stage floor, called Jeff Tweedy on his cell and left him an incoherent message, and basically forgot most of the words and chords of the songs the band played. Burch stood at the door and apologized as fans left the bar. Not too many merch sales that night, I reckon.

Farewell, Jay Bennett. Like a building jumper, you’ve left an impression.

Hey, if you want to honor Jay’s memory then run out and buy Grizzly Bear’s “Veckatimest” tout suite. Grizzly Bear plays an Indie brand of waltz music, with extraordinary layers of vocal harmonies and orchestration that will make the hipsters swoon. If you love Fleet Foxes, Sufjan Stevens and “Pet Sounds,” then this is the record for you.  Clearly in the running for CD of the Year.