Members of the community send Farewell messages to Tim Hazell, our dear friend and contributor who passed away a few days ago.
The term “Renaissance Man” is too narrow to encapsulate the breadth and depth of the genius that was Tim Hazell. Published author, poet, playwright and journalist, he was a brilliant wordsmith. Composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, performer, and recording artist, he garnered a hit single in the Canadian market and appeared frequently in the many venues of San Miguel de Allende. He was a successful artist, a gourmet chef, and a disciplined athlete. Often when I called the house Louise would say, “He’s out for his run, he’ll be back in an hour.”
Perhaps Tim’s biggest community impact here was as an unparalleled educator. He designed and spearheaded an outreach campaign for children in the campo which included not only music instruction, but cultural awareness of the roots of these young people. His deep knowledge of Mesoamerican musical instruments and history provided a basis for this work, which enriched the lives of many young people (800 students at last count). He was also the conductor of the Pro Música-sponsored youth orchestra.
In 2009 Tim and I co-created, co-produced, and performed “A classical ethnic rock musical morality play” (the publicist’s description) entitled “Kid’s Incredible Adventure—A Journey of the Soul.” The work traced the path of a young seeker, from first emergence from the void, through all the distractions along the path to self-realization and unity.
Wherever Tim’s soul is headed, I’m sure he’ll be greeted by the tag line from that monumental work: “Welcome Home, Stranger!”
Oh and by the way, the day after “Kid” closed, Tim was booked to give a lecture on urban planning to the County Commissioners.
My first impression of Tim, having read one of his scholarly articles on Mesoamerican culture, was “This cat is too deep for me!” So when he called me in 2006 to discuss a possible musical collaboration, I was nervous.
His concept was to work together and create a multi-movement suite that combined classical, jazz and Prehispanic musical instruments. It sounded like it would be a sonic train wreck to me but he persuaded me to collaborate with him and only a few months later, “A Forest Of Americas” was premiered at St. Paul’s Church. It was a powerful and, I think, important work that gracefully found common ground between such diverse cultures. When we performed, our ensemble included gringos, Norwegians, Canadians, Mexicans and Chichimecan indians, and the crowd went wild for it. Looking back, it was one of the most exciting sets of performances in my life.
And it was the most productive and fun and loving collaboration I’ve ever experienced, thanks to Tim’s and my chemistry. This was a man with a million great ideas, but in the end was only committed to creating the best possible result whether the ideas came from him, or me, or someone in our group. My wife Glenda and I loved sitting with him and his wife Louise while we brainstormed and ate their delicious home-baked bread. I learned a lot from them all about the art of collaboration, and the sheer power of imagination combined with a deadline.
Although each of us had produced many projects since, we always knew that we’d work together again and in fact, we were on the phone discussing large-scale encore of “A Forest of Americas” only a week before his death. I will miss his wry wit, his diverse musical talent, his encyclopedic knowledge of music and most of all his friendship.
You can hear our live recording of 2007’s “A Forest of Americas” here: dougrobinson.com/ album/1842069/a-forest-of-americas
One of the great joys of my job is meeting wonderful people whom I could have never met had I not worked in the newspaper or in La Biblioteca. One of those people is Tim Hazell, who for many years was a collaborator for Atención and a great friend of our entire team. Today I received the news of his death with great sadness. Tim, thank you for your friendship and for your kind words and thoughtful gestures with our entire team. He was a great man, musician, philosopher, and poet—that was the reason why, despite the criticism, I published his culinary column for many years. We’re going to miss you, Tim.
Today is a sad day.