The Final Chorus May 2018

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These are the remembrances as they ran in the print publication of the paper, many other obituaries, and longer obituaries for those listed below, are posted here as soon as the news comes in. 


JIM LAVERONI, 64, March 28, Rohnert Park, CA. Laveroni was a drummer with The Black Tuesday Jazz Band, The Flying Eagle Jazz Band, and the Swing and a Miss Big Band. He participated in The Sacramento Teagarden Jazz Camp which helps to ensure the future of traditional jazz. He hosted the Percussion Discussion program on his local public radio station where topics included everything from Dixieland to rock.

EVERETT “EV” FAREY, 88, April 4, Novato CA. In the ’50s he was co-leader of the Bay City Jazz Band, led the Golden State Jazz Band and played with the Port City Jazz Band, the Gold Coast Jazz Band, and many others. He recorded on Turk Murphy’s album Dancing Jazz as well as with Bob Helm’s Riverside Roustabouts. A 2012 release of material recorded in 1955 finds him with the Jim Leigh El Dorado Jazz Band.

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He was an accomplished and influential trumpeter bringing a relaxed style influenced by Lamar Wright of the Bennie Moten band. He was featured in The Trumpet Kings: The Players who Shaped the Sound of Jazz Trumpet (2001) edited by Scott Yanow. He frequently played at Burp Hollow, a San Francisco center of Dixieland into the mid 60’s and was a key player in the Bay Area revival.

Ev continued to contribute to the Dixieland scene into his 80s performing over the years with various groups including Canal Street, Bob Helm’s Jazz Cardinals, Jelly Roll Jazz Band, Monterey Bay Stompers, and Port City Jazz Band. He traveled the world to festivals and was admired for both his playing and his good cheer.

JOSEPH KERACHER, 100, February 12, in Attalla, AL. He met his wife through the G.I. Josie program while stationed at Camp Sibert, near Gadsden, Alabama, in 1941. He was the lead clarinet and saxophone player in the army dance band at the camp—where, at the time Mickey Rooney was also stationed. After the war, he settled in Gadsden where he became established himself as a piano technician.
He became a musical ambassador for the city of Gadsden. He led Dixieland bands from the city to two World’s Fairs and helped stage local events of all kinds. He received an honorary degree from a local college for developing their band and served as a mentor to countless student musicians.

He played throughout Northern Alabama and the New Orleans-style sound of his bands was appreciated by all. He spent more than 50 years playing with the Joe Noojin Combo and was a long time member of the Kings of Swing. Recently he joined with a group of much younger Musicians called The Liz Wood Project and they released albums in honor of his 90th and 95th birthdays.

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JERZY STANISLAW MILIAN, 82, March 7, in Poland. After graduating from the State high School of Music at 16 he was taught at the East Berlin Conservatory by Wolfram Heicking and Boguslaw Schaeffer. He created a quintet in the early ’50s and after developing an acquaintance with Krzysztof Komeda transitioned from piano to play vibraphone in his sextet, this was the instrument on which he would develop his mature style. As the ’60s dawned he joined the quintet of Jan Ptaszyn.

He wrote arrangements for cabaret, small groups and big bands as well as a ballet and symphonic works. He served as artistic director of the Orchestra of Polish Radio and Television Services, lectured at the Poznan Academy of Music, and participated in many jazz festivals. Because of these engagements he became a ubiquitous figure in Polish Jazz during the ’60s and ’70s. After falling into obscurity for some time recent years have seen a revival of interest in his work among the Polish young. He released seven albums in the past ten years, several of them on vinyl for the collectors’ market, and his early work is regularly sampled by electronic musicians.

AUDREY MORRIS, 89, April 1, in Chicago. A pianist and singer who caught the ear of well known jazzmen and the eye of Hollywood before settling into her role as the leading lady of Chicago cabaret. She released albums in the mid-’fifties which revealed a deep and subtle understanding of music and lyrics. She had an encyclopedic knowledge of songs and would only perform those up to her standards. It was this sensibility that led her to back away from a contract with Warner Brothers in the late 1950s and to return to Chicago where she could maintain artistic integrity.
Traveling musicians would seek out her engagements at Mister Kelly’s supper club, and at Chicago’s London Club. She developed a devoted fan base and found friendship with many luminaries, including Oscar Peterson. After two decades away from regular performing, she returned to a full time engagement at Chicago’s Palmer House in 1981. In subsequent years she released four albums on her own label, Fancy Faire: Afterthoughts (1984), Film Noir (1989), Look at Me Now (1997) and, more recently, Round About.

OLLY WILSON, 80, March 12, in Oakland, CA. After performing as a teenage jazz musician enamored by Miles Davis and Charlie Parker he turned his artistic energy towards composing modern classical pieces with a jazz sensibility. He studied African music in Ghana, and created a studio for electronic music at the Oberlin College Conservatory where he taught before his long tenure at Berkley. He received commissions for several long works, notably Shango Memory and A City Called Heaven. His compositions have been played by orchestras around the world.

BUELL NEIDLINGER, 82, March 16, on Widbey Island Washington. Famous for his work with Cecil Taylor, he also made contributions to free jazz and worked with classical orchestras. After first studying cello he switched to upright bass at 13 and was tutored by Walter Page. While briefly at Yale he was a member of Eli’s Chosen Six, a Dixieland band. He moved to New York City in 1955 where he subbed for Page in the house band at Eddie Condon’s in Greenwich Village.

His recording career began in 1956 when he appeared on a Dixieland album led by trumpeter Johnny Windhurst and also appeared on Cecil Taylor’s first album, a turning point in his artistic sensibility. He went on to record five more albums with Taylor while also making notable recordings with Steve Lacy, Archie Shepp, Roswell Rudd, and in a trio with Herbie Nichols. As a studio musician he appeared on releases from Tony Bennett’s “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” to The Eagles “Hotel California” and the Village People’s “Y.M.C.A.”

CECIL TAYLOR, 89, April 5, in Brooklyn, NY. Taylor was a pioneer of free jazz known for the physicality of his piano approach. He pushed the limits of what could be called jazz from his first recording Jazz Advance in 1956 onto even more experimental forms in the 1960s. His unique style drew on modern classical composition as well as African influences and his playing, while recalling Thelonious Monk in its percussiveness and scattered feeling, was his own contribution to the possibilities of the instrument.

In 1960 he formed a group known as The Unit with whom he continued to perform until saxophonists Jimmy Lyon’s death in 1986. He also performed solo concerts and worked with ensembles around the world. In the ’90s he formed The Feel Trio as well as working with a big band and a large ensemble under his own name. He leaves behind a mountainous discography.

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