The Final Chorus

The Final Chorus column notes the passing of contributors to jazz, especially those unsung heroes who have helped to bring the sounds of early jazz to us across the decades. If you know of a passing that should be recognized, whether a musician or someone behind the scenes, please let us know.

Recent Posts
  • We are saddened to report that Thomas Dutart, a past President of the Basin Street Regulars/Central Coast Hot Jazz Society in Pismo Beach, and supporter of the Pismo Beach Jazz Jubilee By The Sea, was murdered on Tuesday evening, June 19th, outside of his home in a quiet Santa Maria California senior living community, he

  • Ken Ebert, 81, May 30th in Corona, California while recuperating from a fall. A vibraphone and piano player who played with numerous groups, including the Blackwood Jazz Combo. He appeared for many years at the Mal Sands LA Vibes Summit. He was deeply involved in his local jazz scene and was a past board member

  •     Central New York’s longtime diva of Dixieland, Marilyn “Mimi” Drake Osmun, died May 17 at Loretto Geriatric Center, Syracuse.  Mimi was born in Syracuse during the height of the Jazz Age, on Jan. 18, 1927.     Throughout her long life, Mimi played in numerous Central New York bands. Some of the ensembles in which she

  • Lorraine Gordon, 95, June 9th, of complications from a stroke. She helped to make jazz happen for over 70 years. In the 40’s she aided her first husband, Alfred Lion, in recording Jazz legends for Blue Note Records. Her work for the label became very hands on when soon after their marriage he was drafted into

  • Jim Roberson, June 4, of pulmonary thrombosis, in California. He loved and played music for over sixty years, most recently with Dr. Bach and the Jazz Practitioners, and at monthly Jazz Sunday meetings of the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society. He began playing in the casinos of Reno and Lake Tahoe in the early sixties. He appeared with many 

  • Collette Black, 63, on June 5th, of breast cancer. She was a force in the New York City Cabaret community. Recently she taught Exploring Cabaret courses at the 92 st. YMCA and presented shows at 53 Above, in Times Square. She directed or supported several Off Broadway productions including, Take It Easy, What in the World? The

  • Dick Serocki, 60, May 13th, of cancer, in Bellport, NY. While in California he played banjo at festivals with The South Burgundy Street Jazz Band, and played often with the Cherry Willow Jazz Band. After a move to Upstate New York in 2015 he was diagnosed with cancer but continued to play locally and become

  • Tony Pringle, 81, May 3rd, in Massachusetts from complications of heart disease. He was the best musical import America ever received from Liverpool. In 1957, while still training for his day job in telecommunications, he formed The Druids Jazz Band. They became the house band at The Cavern, a basement jazz club in Liverpool. The

  • Brooks Kerr, 66, April 28 in New York City. Duke Ellington once told a group of students “If you have any questions about my music just ask Brooks Kerr.” Left with limited sight due to a medical error in early infancy Kerr began to learn piano at age two, initially associating a color with each

  • Update: A memorial that was originally hoped to be arranged for late May has been postponed. It is possible  it will be tied in with the Clearwater Jazz Festival in November. Bob Byler, 87, passed away on April 28th in Venice Florida. He was a traditional jazz superfan who was well respected in the Dixieland

  • Charles Neville, 79, April 26 in Massachusetts. The second oldest of the Neville Brothers, played saxophone for the band that commingled all the native strains of New Orleans music and rose to national fame in the 1980’s. Raised on Valence St. and at the Calliope housing development in New Orleans by the early 50’s he

  • Bob Dorough, 94, April 23 in Mt. Bethel, PA. Noticing a talent for music his father, a bread truck driver in Texarkana, made an arrangement with a local grocer to give him piano lessons. He served with the Army Band during the war playing saxophone and clarinet as well as piano. After attending the University

  • James Caine, 91, April 11 on the Isle of Man. A pianist and radio personality known as the father of jazz on the Isle of Man. In 1946 he joined a hotel swing band with drummer and bandleader Hugh Gibb, father of four sons who would form the Bee Gees. The boys thought of Jim

  • Stan Reynolds, 92, April 16 in Britain. He started playing trumpet with his father’s band at 12 and touring at age 14. After the war he joined The Tommy Sampson Orchestra before being recruited to Ted Heath’s band. He played with Heath for three years before going to Spain to play with Rick Lewis. He

  • Bill Reid, 84, in England. Before his primary career as a music promoter began in the early 1960’s he was a double bass and tuba player with various jazz bands in England including Terry Lightfoot’s New Orleans Jazzmen, with Ginger Baker on drums. He also played with Ken Colyer and with the Alex Welsh Band.

  • Nathan Davis, 81, April 9 in Florida. Founder of the University of Pittsburgh’s Jazz Studies program and it’s director from 1969-2013. Born in Kansas City and primarily a saxophone player he cut his chops in Jay McShann’s band. He spent the 1960’s in Europe recording on labels in Germany as well as with Art Blakey’s

  • Gyula Babos, 66, on April 12, in Hungary. Composer, teacher and smooth jazz guitarist whose career began when he won a jazz competition on Hungarian radio at 15. In the 70’s he played with the Kex band, Rakfogo, and then Imre Koszegi before launching his own band Saturnus and founding a long standing trio under

  • Alexander Erpilev, 57, April 25th, in Aschersleben Germany. He was an orchestra conductor in his native Russia before moving to Germany in 2000 and turning his career over to the jazz music he loved. As a new teacher at the Kreismusikschule he began recruiting other faculty for the formation of a big band.  He also secured funding

  • EVERETT “EV” FAREY, 88, April 4, Novato CA. In the 50’s 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

  • JIM LAVERONI, 64, March 28, Rohnert Park, CA. 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

  • Joe with band mate Liz Wood. JOSEPH KERACHER, 100, 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

  • CECIL TAYLOR, 89, April 5th, in Brooklyn, NY. 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 1960’s. His unique style drew on modern classical composition

  • 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 50’s and after developing an acquaintance with Krzysztof Komeda transitioned from piano to play vibraphone

  • AUDREY MORRIS, 89, April 1, In Chicago. A pianist and singer who caught the ear of well known jazz men 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 reflective understanding of tone and lyric beyond her

  • 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

  • BUELL NEIDLINGER, 82, March 16, 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

Recent Posts
  • We are saddened to report that Thomas Dutart, a past President of the Basin Street Regulars/Central Coast Hot Jazz Society in Pismo Beach, and supporter of the Pismo Beach Jazz Jubilee By The Sea, was murdered on Tuesday evening, June 19th, outside of his home in a quiet Santa Maria California senior living community, he

  • Ken Ebert, 81, May 30th in Corona, California while recuperating from a fall. A vibraphone and piano player who played with numerous groups, including the Blackwood Jazz Combo. He appeared for many years at the Mal Sands LA Vibes Summit. He was deeply involved in his local jazz scene and was a past board member

  •     Central New York’s longtime diva of Dixieland, Marilyn “Mimi” Drake Osmun, died May 17 at Loretto Geriatric Center, Syracuse.  Mimi was born in Syracuse during the height of the Jazz Age, on Jan. 18, 1927.     Throughout her long life, Mimi played in numerous Central New York bands. Some of the ensembles in which she

  • Lorraine Gordon, 95, June 9th, of complications from a stroke. She helped to make jazz happen for over 70 years. In the 40’s she aided her first husband, Alfred Lion, in recording Jazz legends for Blue Note Records. Her work for the label became very hands on when soon after their marriage he was drafted into

  • Jim Roberson, June 4, of pulmonary thrombosis, in California. He loved and played music for over sixty years, most recently with Dr. Bach and the Jazz Practitioners, and at monthly Jazz Sunday meetings of the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society. He began playing in the casinos of Reno and Lake Tahoe in the early sixties. He appeared with many 

  • Collette Black, 63, on June 5th, of breast cancer. She was a force in the New York City Cabaret community. Recently she taught Exploring Cabaret courses at the 92 st. YMCA and presented shows at 53 Above, in Times Square. She directed or supported several Off Broadway productions including, Take It Easy, What in the World? The

  • Dick Serocki, 60, May 13th, of cancer, in Bellport, NY. While in California he played banjo at festivals with The South Burgundy Street Jazz Band, and played often with the Cherry Willow Jazz Band. After a move to Upstate New York in 2015 he was diagnosed with cancer but continued to play locally and become

  • Tony Pringle, 81, May 3rd, in Massachusetts from complications of heart disease. He was the best musical import America ever received from Liverpool. In 1957, while still training for his day job in telecommunications, he formed The Druids Jazz Band. They became the house band at The Cavern, a basement jazz club in Liverpool. The

  • Brooks Kerr, 66, April 28 in New York City. Duke Ellington once told a group of students “If you have any questions about my music just ask Brooks Kerr.” Left with limited sight due to a medical error in early infancy Kerr began to learn piano at age two, initially associating a color with each

  • Update: A memorial that was originally hoped to be arranged for late May has been postponed. It is possible  it will be tied in with the Clearwater Jazz Festival in November. Bob Byler, 87, passed away on April 28th in Venice Florida. He was a traditional jazz superfan who was well respected in the Dixieland

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