Tim of the Jungle

I’ve never succeeded in getting my music on NPR, but I now have a relative who has. My brother-in-law Tim Cook has a CD of his harmonica playing, Lucy is the Guy with Diamonds, up on NPR’s Open Mic site. For the last few years Tim’s been living in northern Thailand at a Buddhist monastery, playing harmonica for the monks. (In Thailand, I could imagine that the line “Lucy is the Guy with Diamonds” might be more than just a Beatles parody.) Soon after Tim disappeared into the jungle – all we’d heard was that he’d headed for Thailand – the country was hit by the big Tsunami of December 26, 2004. No one heard from Tim for three months. I was scouring Thai-language web sites for names of known victims, and found two Tim Cooks, one from Australia, one from Austria. Finally, Tim phoned home, said, yeah, he was fine, just playing harmonica for the monks. You can listen to what the monks hear on NPR.

Though he never made his living as a musician, Tim was the clarinetist for whom I wrote my clarinet piece Dakota Moon and my clarinet quintet arrangement of Grieg’s Wedding Day at Troldhaugen – played at my wedding, and never used since. Anyone wants a copy, I’ll be happy to send score and parts.


  1. says

    Cultural reporting can easily blur the personal with the professional. Is this critic writing about this artist because they’re friends? Or maybe they are friends because they share an aesthetic viewpoint?
    Blogging invites the blurring of the personal with the professional — and I love it. Would you write about your brother-in-law if you weren’t related to him? Probably not! And I’m so glad that you did! It humanizes the cultural commentator, to place him or her in a social setting as well as a professional setting. Whereas, if this were in the “Village Voice,” I might be thinking — hey, this is valuable journalistic real estate! What’s up with writing about his brother-in-law!
    Viva blogging.