John Mills, skilled family lawyer and mediator, beloved family member of our Family Law Section's member Evelyn Redmond, passed away yesterday, July 26, 2014.
Richard Victor and Scott Bassett, two members of the jazz band known as "The Bare Assets," have uploaded some video and audio files of performances of the band--in particular, three tunes in which John plays solos that are truly awesome.
Because not all of our family law section colleagues, lawyers, judges, court administrators and Friend of the Court personnel, are members of the FLS Listserv, I am embedding the wonderful slideshows Scott Bassett uploaded and also the film that Richard Victor uploaded. These are great tributes to John and it is comforting to see the immense pleasure John and the other members of the band found in their highly professional performances.
John Mills (on sax) and The Bare Assets play "Corcovado"
John Mills and The Bare Assets play Summertime (as Scott Bassett says: "O e of our signature songs.)"
John Mills (sax) and The Bare Assets (Richard Victor on piano, Scott Bassett on bass and Rick Trost on the drums) play "Kansas City." This is a slide show Scott put together and has some great photos showing how much the band enjoyed their jazz performances.
Richard Victor uploaded this film of the band playing "Summertime" to YouTube. John's inimitable good nature and friendly manner and also his pure enjoyment of playing really shows through here.
John is missed. It's comforting to see John and his friends having such a good time.
MORE: Scott Bassett has permitted me to share his comments on the Listserv about his good friend John. Scott wrote:
"Yes, everyone who knew John will miss him. I was lucky enough to know him not only as a lawyer, but as a musician and friend. John was a prolific musician. He was in the AnTekes as well as the Bare Assets. He'd also been in bands when he was younger. I think one was called simply "The Group." Music was such an important part of John's life. Sharing with John his abundant joy in playing music was one of the highlights of my life.
"The idea for the Bare Assets originated when John, Richard Victor, and I were seated at the same table at the Family Law Section annual dinner in 1998 at the Country Club of Lansing. We vowed to put together a group that would be ready to entertain at the next annual dinner. We were fortunate to find our fourth member, drummer Rick Trost, when he happened to bring a client to my office for a potential appeal and saw my electric bass hanging on the wall. Rick joined the band and our first live gig was at the Section's 1999 annual dinner in Grand Rapids.
"Over the years, the Country Club of Lansing was the venue for several of our gigs, including one on September 12, 2001, when we had to play without Richard because he was stuck out of town and couldn't get back due to the grounding of all air traffic after the 9/11 attacks. We also played there for the Supreme Court and other dignitaries when Justice Patricia Boyle received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Appellant Practice Section. Although we didn't know it at the time, it would also be the last place we played together - at last year's Section dinner (which is depicted in the YouTube video Jeanne linked to in her post).
"John and I sat next to one another at dinner and talked about music, law, and life. It was the last long face-to-face conversation we had.
"Over the fourteen years the Bare Assets played together, Summertime became one of our signature tunes. I provided above a link to a well-recorded version that better represents the joy and skill John brought to everything he played. There is also a link to one of my favorite examples of John's playing, Corcovado, also called Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars. On this quiet night we can be thankful we knew a man who was a true star in every way. Farewell, John."
When I asked Scott how the name "The Bare Assets" was chosen, he said this:
"The name was just something we thought was appropriate and funny since all four members of the group are divorce lawyers. After a divorce, many clients feel their assets have been depleted (which isn't true since assets are nearly always equally divided). We were all amused when I took a trip to Key West and discovered a topless bar with the same name (see photo below).
"(There were two other Bare Assets are various points in our history. Richard Victor's son, Ronnie Victor, joined us on guitar several times. More recently, Don Carney, also a lawyer (probate, however, not divorce) and the former Mayor of Birmingham, MI, played with us. Don was also the guitarist in John's other band, the AnTekes. John arranged to have me sit in with the AnTekes on a couple of songs during one of their regular Peabody's gigs a few years ago. That was a kindness typical of John. I will never forget him."