378

December 2005

Fradley Garner By

Sign in to view read count
New Orleans struck up the band one Sunday this fall for the first jazz funeral in the music's birthplace since Hurricane Katrina opened the levees and laid waste to the Crescent City. "The brass band ... toted donated instruments, reported Shaila Dewan in The New York Times. "The procession leaders wore salvaged bits of their traditional funeral finery. Just after 2 p.m. ... the strains of 'Just a Closer Walk With Thee' streamed past the heaps of stinking garbage and fallen roofs like milk and honey and sweet Abita beer, a flash of grandeur and ritual that hearkened to a New Orleans past and, many in the crowd swore, future. The funeral, for a famous chef, sent a message: We shall overcome.

The Times continued: "After the mourners 'cut loose the body,' as people here say, the procession turns into a celebration, winding through the streets, playing in the funky style invented in, and still largely the sole province of, New Orleans. Sounds like a scene Clarence Brown, who lived here in the 1980s, and the other departed below would have loved to see. Not a funeral so much as a welcome home.

Clarence "Gatemouth Brown
Guitarist and Singer
Vinton, LA, April 18, 1924
Orange, TX, Sept. 10, 2005

Clarence Brown, a widely traveled and much-recorded guitarist with a style called "as rich and varied as the American musical tradition itself, died at age 81, a victim of lung cancer and heart disease. An eschewer of musical labels, Brown preferred to call what he played and sang "American music, Texas style. His music blended down-home blues, jazz, country, Cajun and rhythm and blues. Brown won a Grammy in 1982 for "Alright Again," a big band tune echoing the sound of his old, blues-based records. Timeless, his last album, was released by Hightone last fall.

Steve Marcus
Saxophonist
New York, NY, Sept. 18, 1939
New Hope, PA, Sept. 25, 2005

Stephen David Marcus, a tenor and soprano saxophonist and bandleader who fused avant-garde jazz and rock, but then went back to straight-ahead big band jazz with Buddy Rich, died at 66 in his sleep, at home, of unspecified causes. Marcus had recorded and toured, among others, with Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Herbie Mann, Gary Burton, and his own groups. "He was able to play mainstream jazz and yet cross over into the rock idiom with a completely natural understanding of the music, Andy Fusco, a fellow saxophonist and member of his last group, told the Associated Press.

Marcus was touring with Steve Smith and Buddy's Buddies, a band dedicated to Buddy Rich and his music. Marcus was featured with Rich from 1975, and led his own bands from the next year. When Rich died in 1987, he stepped in as leader while continuing to lead his own groups. In 1995 the Rich band recorded a two-volume album, Burnin' for Buddy, with many guest drummers sitting in, among them Joe Morello, Max Roach, Ed Shaughnessy—and Rich himself, via a pre-taped recording. Several of Marcus's albums were recently reissued on CD, including Count's Rock Band, which he led in 1973-1975, and Tomorrow Never Knows, awarded five stars by Down Beat magazine on its release.

Shirley Horn
Vocalist and Pianist
Washington, DC, May 1, 1934
Cheverly, MD, Oct. 20, 2005


Shop

More Articles

Read Remembering Frank Morgan: Tears, Laughter and Music in Culver City Big Band in the Sky Remembering Frank Morgan: Tears, Laughter and Music in Culver City
by Chuck Koton
Published: January 17, 2008
Read November 2007 Big Band in the Sky November 2007
by Fradley Garner
Published: November 7, 2007
Read December 2005 Big Band in the Sky December 2005
by Fradley Garner
Published: December 2, 2005
Read May 2005 Big Band in the Sky May 2005
by Fradley Garner
Published: May 6, 2005
Read "Jonathan Butler at Yoshi's" Live Reviews Jonathan Butler at Yoshi's
by Walter Atkins
Published: November 5, 2016
Read "Three saxophonists very different paths since "Propagations"" Multiple Reviews Three saxophonists very different paths since "Propagations"
by John Eyles
Published: November 23, 2016
Read "All About Jazz: The Innovation Game" Website News All About Jazz: The Innovation Game
by Michael Ricci
Published: April 15, 2016
Read "Geno Thackara's Best Releases of 2016" Best of / Year End Geno Thackara's Best Releases of 2016
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 12, 2016
Read "Nate Wooley Makes America Great Again" Multiple Reviews Nate Wooley Makes America Great Again
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 1, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!