Last night marks both a tragic loss of one of the great musical and mystical heroes of our time, Col. Bruce Hampton, and a celebration of a man that influenced, nurtured, and pushed the boundaries of all musicians and human beings who were lucky enough to enter his welcoming and inspirational sphere. The celebration of his 70th birthday in Atlanta last night included a conglomeration of some of his closest friends, outstanding musicians, and ardent believers in his mission of true musical intention and purity above all else. Those of us who were present felt the importance of this moment in time not knowing the finality of this performance. It was an evening of incredible music, improvisational spontaneity and smiles, both on stage and in the audience. Our musical guru challenged us all and made us focus on what was at the root of musical expression and how to understand the importance of time, tone, and space in a way that has the ability to connect with everyone. We can only take solace in the fact that he was truly surrounded by loving friends and family, honoring his contribution to music and art when he passed. It was a dramatic and poetic ending to the life of a man whose entire way of living was an art form, but cannot mitigate the sadness of all who loved him. He will be missed and always remembered.