Judging by the tributes in the Globe, Billy was a friend to many in different realms of Boston's musical world, and he was certainly a friend to the jazz and avant community. The series he I played that he was involved in included many local and national left-of-center jazz names, and I'm sure that was hardly the only propers he did for our kin. I say not a surprise because the last time I saw Billy was around last Christmas at a Jennifer Kimball gig at the Lizard Lounge. He was his usual gregarious self, but a little out of control, and I was scared from him that night and beyond.
The Boston scene used to be filled with Billy Ruanes- mercurial, difficult people who believed passionately in the music they liked, who would drive you crazy one day and give you the coat off their back the next. I'm lucky to know a few of them. They channel their eccentricities for the good of many artists great and small, and we are a little smaller when they leave us. Billy, I hope your next ride is as wild as this one was!