Remembering the Soundtrack of Jennings' Life

Peter Jennings loved music. He even used it to help him work.

On Fridays, when it was time to write scripts for "Person of the Week," he would often put on the Willie Nelson song, "It Always Will Be."

He would let it get him choked up and then start writing.

For Jennings, journalism was not just in the words -- not only in the "think" of the story -- but also the feel of the story, the emotion, to which music helped him connect.

Jennings loved all kinds of music. His staff once called in bagpipe players for a birthday surprise in the newsroom.

Lover of Jazz Music

But Jennings really loved jazz. He raised money for his favorite causes each summer by hosting the "Jazz at Jennings" charitable event at his home.

"I like country music, I like jazz, I like Latin music, I like rock 'n' roll, I like classical music a lot," he said in a recent interview. "I think I like almost everything except heavy metal. And I go to listen to a lot of music when I can."

"He loved jazz," said jazz singer Shannon Gibbons, a friend of Jennings. "I think just the volatile nature of it. The idea is improvisation, the whole idea behind jazz is to do something that you haven't done before, and he was intrigued by that," Gibbons said.

"In many ways, Peter was like a jazz musician," said jazz trumpeter John Faddis, also a friend of Jennings. "He was able to tell a story, and that's what jazz musicians since the beginning of jazz have always tried to do when playing and improvising is to tell a story."

"He was larger than life on TV, but in person he was a regular guy who appreciated other people and what they could do," said jazz saxophonist Jimmy Heath. "He was more down to earth than his appearance would lead you to believe."

Jennings even "got to Carnegie Hall" -- as a trustee. He hosted Carnegie Hall's opening night in 2004.

"He came to my very first concert and, typical of Peter, got very absorbed in the music, wanted to know everything about Mahler," said conductor Gilbert Kaplan, Carnegie Hall board member. "Peter just responded to music, but then Peter responded to everything, didn't he?"

Jennings' good friend Yo-Yo Ma -- whose "Appalachian Waltz" was a Jennings favorite -- said today he was amazed how the anchorman, amid all the demands of his job, always made time for the music.

ABC News' Bill Blakemore filed this report for "World News Tonight."

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