Recent Jazz Passings
In the last few weeks, we have lost four important figures in the jazz world - what a blow! It has taken me some time to get everything together for this post, so if these are old news items to you, my apologies, but there has been a lot to sift through for these four gentlemen.
On July 28, 2007, we lost one of the great piano players from the Lennie Tristano school, Sal Mosca. Pianist of choice for the likes of Warne Marsh and Lee Konitz (among others) during the 1950s, he has continued to influence multitudes of musicians as a teacher. In recent years, despite health problems, Mosca was recording and touring Europe as recently as six months ago. Sal Mosca passed away only three months after celebrating his 80th birthday. Read more coverage from JazzTimes.
Another performer and educator, this time one closely associated with the Berklee School of Music in Boston. Trumpeter and teacher extraordinaire Herb Pomeroy passed away on August 11th. My good friend Marc Fendel was a student of Pomeroy while attending Berklee, and he mentioned to me what a genuine, honest teacher he was. I love this quote from the WPRI news story:
Pomeroy taught like he played jazz -- by improvising, with no notes, no syllabus and no text books.
Bassist Art Davis, best known for his associations with John Coltrane, passed away on July 29th. While balancing bass duties with his practice as a clinical psychologist, Art Davis will perhaps best be remembered for his involvement in such John Coltrane classics as Africa./Brass and Ole. He was also a member of the famous 1958 band led by our final passing jazz artist.
What can be said about Max Roach that hasn't already been said? Here are a ton of great links and articles on the passing of drummer Max Roach:
- Voice of America
- Bloomfield College News
- The Feeling of Jazz (blog)
- The Bad Plus blog Do The Math
- Internet Movie Database (IMDb)
- Destination Out! (blog) - MUST READ
- Doug Ramsey's blog Rifftides
- Howard Mandel's blog Jazz Beyond Jazz
- Seattle's The Stranger music blog Line Out
Roach's albums from the 1960s, It's Time, Freedom Now! We Insist, and Percussion Bitter Sweet truly changed my perception of him as a musician, from bebop innovator to culturally-conscious artist. I remember doing a report in college about jazz in the 1960s as it related to the Black Power movement, and I listened to these records the whole time I wrote the paper - really put my head in the right place. I got to see Max Roach quite a few times, thankfully, although most of them were in the context of his So What brass group, featuring the likes of Eddie Henderson and Delfeayo Marsalis. I would have loved to see him with Cecil Taylor, Archie Shepp or any one of the many historic collaborators he shared in the later parts of his career. Max Roach, you will be sorely missed. Here are some great videos of the master himself throughout his career: