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In affectionate memory of Igor Kipnis,
close friend and musical collaborator,


It was one of those early, sunny, Sunday mornings in Central London. I had gone to the Mandeville Hotel to meet Igor Kipnis. I knew the face, the receding hairline and the cranium that came to a point which denotes a musician to his fingertips, from all those Epic LP covers whose release schedule I controlled during my final months at EMI Records in the late 1960s. Epic, by the way, was a mid-price subsidary label of CBS in the States. It was contracted to EMI, London for a short period before CBS, who had set up their own label in the UK, took it over at expiry of contract.

Igor Kipnis and Bill Newman

He espied me before I saw him. Behind those swing doors, he had been waiting to pounce like a redskin on an intended prey. Like a bolt from the blue, he barged through, down the off-white steps, catching me in the middle of the street before I was half way across. Somehow we stayed right there! None of the early morning taxis were yet within honking distance, so I was quite safe. Suddenly realizing our potential danger, he invited me in for late breakfast.

Here was one of those guys -- a giant man, both in size and intellect, who immediately made you feel welcome. 'You're the person with the gigantic record collection. I must see it!' Close colleague Quita Chavez had passed the message on. 'Do you know I have been collecting almost since I first left the cradle, and haven't stopped since!' My obvious joy in meeting yet another 'nutter' must have been obvious, straightaway, but I had also learnt on the grapevine that the massive harpsichord built for him by Rutkowski & Robinette, New York in 1961, went with him on all his travels.

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Copyright © 15 March 2002 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK






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