Ray Manzarek, the iconic keyboardist and co-founder of the Doors, died today at 74. “I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and bandmate,” guitarist Robby Krieger said. “I’m just glad to have been able to have played Doors songs with him for the last decade. Ray was a huge part of my life and I will always miss him.”
Upon hearing the news, my thoughts kept coming back to two places: Manzarek’s great ’00 interview on Fresh Air, when he recounted (with piano soundtrack) Jim Morrison’s 1969 arrest for indecency in Florida, and — perhaps because he’s one of the best keys players around — Benmont Tench. As it turned out, Benmont reacted on Twitter: “Ray Manzarek. His playing showed me the path to, and the joy of, improvisation. Indescribably important. Rest well. Rest well…”
This clip on the jazz behind “Light My Fire” audio-illustrates the latter beautifully.