A page reserved for personal glimpses and good words offered from those that knew her best.
On this 19th anniversary of your passing –
thinking of you, Em . . . as always
Emily was my close friend and roomate at Berklee in 1975-76. She was 17 and I was 18 years old. I remember sitting on our beds and playing “How Insensitive” – Emily on guitar of course and me on flute — reading out of our dog eared copy of the “Real Book”. Our little record player sat on top of the dresser — and a day didn’t go by where we wouldn’t put on “Some Skunk Funk” and dance around the room singing all the Brecker Brothers riffs. Two other albums in heavy rotation in our dorm room were “All Things Must Pass” by George Harrison and of course Emily’s Wes Montgomery collection.
Emily was a beautiful person and a wonderful friend. After Berklee, we lost touch with each other – I lived in Brazil during the 80s — and when I returned only found out about her passing one day while I was working out in my local gym. CD 101.9 was on the radio there — and the announcer said “And now here’s the late great Emily Remler.” I got off the bike – went to the pay phone and called the station. I said “What do you mean the late great Emily Remler?” I was saddened and shocked.
It is heart warming to read so many tributes to her on these pages — and see how many people she touched with her music over the years.
I have to ask you was Emily a natural player or one who actually had to work really, really hard to play the way that she did? Of course maybe Emily was both of these I might guess!? Thanks, jim hahn in Maine
Hi Jim: Sorry — I haven’t checked this site in quite a while and just today saw your question. Emily worked very hard and at the same time she was a natural talent. You guessed correctly. She put in the hours — definitely. Jill
Emily Remler was a fine guitarist and a friendly person. I enjoyed playing with her very much. I certainly don’t know of any other woman guitarist but regardless of that fact, she was as good as any guitarist I’ve ever played with – and I’ve known a few.
I 1st met dear Em in 1985 in NYC. What a gorgeous vibe she had. I was booked for a tour in January of 1986 w/ Joe Farrell and unfortunately he passed away before the start date…yet, fortunately Emily took his place and we becam fast friends on the road over the next years until she sadly left. I miss her to this day and often listen to the many recordings we did on tour, both shows and rehearsals. We toured in many formats – duo,trio,quartet and she shined through all of them. I wish I could have one more minute of time with Em. I talked to her the day before she left Australia and she was looking forward to finding help for her problem when she returned. So very sad.
Thanks so much for this website dedicated to an angel.
Emily came to New Mexico booked by the New Mexico Jazz Workshop for a gig in Albuquerque. She opened for Michael Brecker at the University of New Mexico Popejoy Hall. The trio was of course Emily on guitar and Jon Gagan on bass and I played drums. I had an amazing experience playing jazz with her. We hung out after at a hotel called La Posada in downtown Albuquerque where the Brecker band was staying.
One thing I remember about the gig at Popejoy was – before the performance, Emily and I played in her dressing room. I was playing brushes on a newspaper and Emily was playing unplugged. That was a special event for me. She was a very warm and kind person that loved to play jazz.
Emily was brought back to New Mexico; this time to open for Etta James at a venue in the mountains outside of Santa Fe called the Evergreens. Emily used the same trio. We also played a club in Santa Fe called El Farol the night before.
The musical experience and the hang time were both memorable and inspiring. She had some musical genius and I enjoyed partaking.
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I was jamming away on my Fender Twin turned all the way up, at the time I was a beginning player, all I knew how to do was play some rock tunes and jam along on the guitar using the minor pentatonic scale. Anyways, during a pause in the sonic chaos I was inflicting on the neighborhood, I heard this polite knock on the door. I opened it, and there was this stunningly beautiful young woman standing there. She introduced herself; “Hi there I am Emily Remler, I am a jazz guitarist, and I was walking by and I heard you playing, and I was wondering if you would like some lessons”. At the time I was 35 years old and she was about 18, so I thought what can this little girl show me. So I handed her my guitar and she played on it, asked me to turn down the amp and make it sound clean, and she proceeded to blow my mind. I took one hour on the spot. At the time I lived on Long Beach Island New Jersey. She vacationed there every summer for a few years and every year she came she would come by and give me lessons.
Sadly, many years later I heard about her death while at a flea market in St Augustine Florida where there was a man trying out the same guitar she played in my house that first time, which was for sale that day. He is the one who told me about her death. I was shocked and saddened by it.
She is the one who gave me some of the musical ideas which I still use to this day, as I have never perused a musical education.
I was visiting my daughter in Halifax, Nova Scotia, & saw in the newspaper that she & Larry Coryell were giving a concert at the Rebeccah Cohen Auditorium. When I went there to buy tickets, I noticed that the sign in lights said LARRY CORYELL but no mention of Emily. I was outraged, & went directly to the manager & told him that Emily Remler was one of the greatest jazz guitarists in the world. When I went to the concert that night, I was pleased to see he name in lights with his; equal billing. Before the concert started, I was called to the manager’s office, & told my seat would be changed. I was seated right in front, directly down from where Emily was playing in an old T-shirt & jeans. At intermission, she motioned me to the door that led backstage; she had two guitars & a practice amp there. After she hugged me & thanked me for what I did, she asked me if I played guitar. I said “yes” & we played together for about 20 minutes. I gave her my address & phone#, & we kept in touch until her tragic death in Australia. During that time, she would send me all her CDs & instructional videos. We would talk on the phone, exchange letters, etc. I was absolutely devastated when I learned of her death in Sydney. I still listen to her CDs all the time, & will remember her lovingly until the day I die. One can only imagine what she would have accomplished if she were still alive. She was not only a great artist, but a terrific human being as well.
I was a personal friend of Emily’s, I met her when she came to Pittsburgh to handle some personal issues. She figured Pittsburgh was far enough away from New York to be able to relax.We became friends right away, being that I am a musician also.
She had already hooked up with the Duquesne thing.
After that, I played several gigs with her. One was on New Years Eve at Club “Toots Suite” where she was treated like royalty, like she deserved. We also played at a few more small venues and I remember her arguing with the drummer who announced “St. Thomas” as an island and Emily said it was a penninsula and wouldn’t play until he agreed.
I had the opportunity to go to Phile with her to Pat Martino’s house and also met her when she was here with David Benoit.
I knew she was in trouble, but felt safe with David’s group. When she told me she was going to Sydney alone, I begged her not to. as did several others, but she insisted.
The rest is history. I miss her and still think of her and this website is a Godsend!
I remember Emily sitting in her dorm room (our first year at Berklee) with her guitar in hand playing to the music of the commercials that came on while she watched the little tv in her room.
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