Today marks what would have been the late, great Moe Koffman's birthday. A Canadian music legend best known for penning the jazz hit Swinging Shepherd Blues, Moe experimented with all forms of music - jazz, pop and classical.

Growing up in Toronto, frequenting the clubs that Moe often booked as well as performed in I think I took him for granted a little bit. He was such a fixture, such a comforting presence - like a Father figure. First at George's Spaghetti House and later at Meyer's Deli and Judy Jazz in The Holiday Inn on King (all three also gone, sadly) I spent many an hour sitting alone at the bar listening to Moe play with his friends - the likes of Guido Basso and Bernie Senesky and nursing a diet coke, since I was too young to be served anything else.

One night, at Judy Jazz, Moe approached me at the bar and handed me a signed copy of his latest CD. He said he had seen me there quite a lot and wondered what instrument I played. When I told him I wasn't a player - just a fan - he told me that I "listened like a musician".

Could I have been more proud of myself? I don't think so. I think of Moe and his kind, welcoming gesture to a kid at the bar often.

Moe shared a birthday with greats Earl "Fatha" Hines and the unstoppable Ed Thigpen. An argument for astrology if there ever was one.

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