DARLA CASTRO, 80, on Aug. 12 in Three Rivers, California. Wife of Charlie Castro, longtime drummer with the High Sierra Jazz Band. She often traveled with the band and was well known and liked by many fans on the festival circuit. She worked for 27 years for the Valley Oak Credit Union, retiring as Executive Vice President. Known for her sharp long-term memory which enabled her to do crossword puzzles in pen.
VIVIAN ABRAHAM, 83, on Sept. 20 in Sacramento, California. Trained as a bookkeeper, Vivian spent over 40 years as a volunteer and later staff member for the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society and its annual Memorial Day weekend festival. She was a Board member, Secretary and STJS President and ultimately Office Manager, Business Manager and Executive Director.
, 97 on Sept. 26 in Washington, D.C. A trombonist who played with Jack Teagarden, Bob Zurke, and the Andrews Sisters during the 1930s and 40s, and who traveled the world with Irving Berlin performing in his This is the Army show (as well as the movie). He was also a member of the Hot Kugel Klezmer Band that performed a traditional form of Eastern European Jewish dance music whose roots predated the Middle Ages. Remembering Sy, David Sager wrote, “I never heard anyone play such perfect harmony parts—by ear—ever.”
GRADY TATE, 85, of complications from Alzheimer’s disease on Oct. 8 in New York City. Tate’s drumming helped define a particular hard-bop, soul-jazz and organ-trio sound heard on many of the classic Jimmy Smith and Wes Montgomery albums recorded on the Verve label in the 1960s. A Grammy Award nominee as a singer, he lent his voice to a number of songs in the animated Schoolhouse Rock educational cartoon series on ABC in the 70s. The drummer in The Tonight Show band for six years, he was a member of the New York Jazz Quartet in the ‘70s and played drums and percussion for the Simon & Garfunkel concert in Central Park in 1981. As a sideman, he performed with Quincy Jones, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Stan Getz, Astrud Gilberto, and Michel Legrand and was on the faculty at Howard University.
MIKE FAY, 82, on Oct. 16. A bass player whose love of jazz came from listening to recordings of bands from the New Orleans jazz revival era and from spending quality time with musicians from the George Lewis and Kid Ory bands who regularly visited Los Angeles. He joined the legendary El Dorado JB in the early 1960s and ovcr the years, played with just about everybody in traditional jazz on the West Coast.
Mike was a stellar part of such powerhouse bands as the Sunset Music Company, Golden Eagle, Gremoli, Tom Sharpsteen’s Orlandos, Albion, South Frisco, and Grand Dominion. Hal Smith, leader of the New Orleans Wanderers and Jazz Chihuahuas, said, “Mike was always a positive influence on every engagement. He gave 100% to the music, always hitting just the right notes, was a superb teacher, and kept everyone smiling, both on and off the bandstand.”
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