a Jazz Man and a Character, Randy Siple has died at 83

Randolph SipleRANDOLPH SIPLE, 83, on Sept. 20 in Ventura, CA. Randy Siple was very much his own man as evidenced by the fact he wrote his own obituary, which began: “It is with some regret that I tell you I have died, but with no regret that I have joined so many of my friends on the other side.” He goes on to say that he attended 13 elementary schools, two military academies, one junior high and two high schools before graduating from Stanford with a degree in history and political science.

He served as a tank platoon leader in Germany, earned his Doctor of Laws degree at USC, and became a practicing lawyer in the Los Angeles area. He goes on to say that he collected 30 cars, many of which he restored; learned to play 13 musical instruments, including the Scottish pipes; had a radio show known as The Rooster Crows; and founded and led a Dixieland band he called “De Siples of Jazz.” For 16 years, his family hosted the West Coast Traditional Jazz Club for Sunday afternoon jam sessions at their 60-acre ranch in Ventura County where they grew organic produce. He also served as president of the American Federation of Jazz Societies

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Lew Shaw started writing about music as the publicist for the famous Berkshire Music Barn in the 1960s. He joined the West Coast Rag almost thirty years ago and has been a guiding light to this paper through the two name changes since then as we became The Syncopated Times.  47 of his profiles are collected in Jazz Beat: Notes on Classic Jazz. Volume two, containing profiles from 2013-2016 will be available on Amazon soon. He taps his extensive network of connections and friends throughout the traditional jazz world to bring us his Jazz Jottings column every month.

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