Bald Hill played the Peace Fair on Brunswick Green Saturday. Our mando player, Ben, arranged the gig: His mother is a German war bride and longtime social justice activist. She administers this event, which annually draws a healthy cross-section of southern Maine’s aged hippie population. This year, for these unreconstructed lefties, we performed a Pete Seeger tribute/sing-along. The crowd was big (for a peace fair, in August) and the weather held off. But the noteworthy development arrived before I had played a note. Ben’s brother Matt, a gifted pianist, was up for the event and brought along a fellow Nutmegger native on sax. They started our set (we followed a five-piece that featured two steel drums) with a four-piece tribute to the recently departed Horace Silver (above), a jazz name I sorta knew but not really. Altogether appropriately, the song they chose was “Peace”, and it quickly transported me.

During the early 1990s, I worked as the news editor at a couple of daily newspapers in Massachusetts. The life was somewhat nocturnal: I’d arrive at 5 p.m., put the paper on the press at 2 a.m., and go home — unless the paper crowd had gathered for very late-night revelry. We were somewhat obliged to socialize together because who else was awake? Even a ridiculous schedule like this can become routine: I’d arrive in the newsroom and flip on NPR via WGBH in Boston. The first two hours of the work “day” were a mix of gay banter, serious story planning, photo assessment (from what had been shot that day) and assignment (to be shot that night), and front page/section layout. All this took place with All Things Considered airing in the background, as soundtrack.

At 7 p.m., things got more down to business. Reporters headed off to meetings or returned from accidents/crime scenes/sporting events to begin filing stories — stories that I would read and edit before sending the final layout to the paste-up/press operation a few towns over.

But nothing seriously got done, not at my desk anyway, until 7:04. WGBH aired a jazz program starting each night at 19:00 called “Eric in the Evening”. The show theme was this beautiful piece of jazz that dripped from the transistor radio each night, all on its own, starting at exactly 7 p.m. The routine of its play provided the perfect respite and regathering moment before the radio got turned off and we all transitioned to the mania of another evening on deadline.

I’m not a huge jazz guy. I like a massive cross-section of the genre, though when I pin myself down, I can see how the influence of Charlie Brown and Vince Guaraldi shaped this particular aspect of my musical taste. Dave Brubeck. Bill Evans. That’s the stuff I’m drawn to apparently: white guys from the late ‘50s and early 60s. Very uncool, I’m afraid. Just the way it is.

I left the Marlboro Enterprise and Hudson Daily Sun in 1992. I never did get the name of that theme music to “Eric in the Evening”. Every couple years it would jump into my brain — not because I’d heard it, but because I’d remember just how resonant and important it was to me, at one time, in my work life. I googled “Eric in the Evening theme” one time, with no luck. For a long time, apparently, Eric Jackson still hosted a jazz show on WGBH radio, but at some point he’d eschewed the regular-theme music thing, opting instead for excerpted bits from that night’s guest or spotlight artist.

Well, I can report without question that “Peace”, was in fact Eric’s old show theme. I knew it from the moment I heard the opening two measures at the 2013 Peace Fair. Only took me 23 years… And now Eric Jackson has passed away, at 72.

Here is Silver’s original version, from 1959. Here is the Tommy Flanagan version that specifically served as the “Eric in the Evening” theme. Peace out, Mr. Jackson.