Even after six months I am beside myself with disbelief as I begin to write this. My memories of Shimrit Shoshan are very dear and special. She was my neighbor and a close friend for four years. I remember bumping into her on the C train often, sometimes sneaking up behind her to whisper a ridiculous comment in her ear, just to get a laugh. Other times I’d see her at one of our favorite coffee shops or walking down the street in our neighborhood. It’s funny, I rarely saw her at any jazz clubs in town. Mostly it was just the two of us somewhere around the city when we saw each other.
The day I met Shimrit, I was loading my gear into a car outside my building on my way to go to a gig in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. She knew someone in the car, who introduced us. We were both surprised to learn that we lived right around the corner from each other, so we said we’d stay in touch. I went on MySpace and listened to her music the next day, and was blown away by a particular trio composition that was on her playlist. It was a very deep approach to playing piano and writing. It seemed to me that she was coming out of Greg Osby, Monk, Andrew Hill and Jason Moran, more so than most pianists her age, mixed of course with some Israeli influence. I was genuinely impressed, and sent her an e-mail saying how much I liked her writing. After a few e-mails and chance encounters on the train, we became good friends. We always kept in touch after this, even if it was just a text hello. “Good morning, it’s a nice day out, wanna go for a walk and lunch?” was a pretty regular text between us as neighbors.