I gave the recording a spin the next night. It’s called Beyond the Sky, and that it exactly where it sent me. I was bowled over by Rob’s musical prowess. People use the word “humbled” a bit too often for my taste, but that is what I felt: humbled. Rob is a master of the 88s—and a fine composer—and a modern jazz wizard (some of the tracks sound like Alban Berg with a backbeat)—and he can even play a theremin in perfect tune. “Oh, he’s a better pianist than either of us,” Michael Barrett said breezily the next day. My hackles quietly went up, of course. My motto is “Never compare, never compete,” and it has served me well. But I had taken the measure of my new colleague, and I was in awe. A breathtaking musician, and a man of warmth and generosity.