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Dick Sudhalter

Richard M. Sudhalter, 69, a jazz musician, critic and biographer whose history of white jazz musicians prompted gales of protest when it was published in 1999, died Sept. 19 at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan, N.Y. He had multiple system atrophy, a degenerative condition similar to Lou Gehrig's disease.

Mr. Sudhalter was a first-rate trumpet and cornet player who specialized in the early styles of jazz. He led groups in the United States and Europe, recorded widely and was considered one of the finest heirs of Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Bunny Berigan and Bobby Hackett.

Mr. Sudhalter's more lasting contributions, however, came as a writer, first with "Bix: Man & Legend," a 1974 biography of Beiderbecke, the doomed trumpet star of the 1920s who drank himself into an early grave.

Critic Terry Teachout yesterday called the book, co-written with Philip R. Evans and William Dean-Myatt, a "landmark of jazz scholarship" and the "first jazz biography written to the standards" of a serious study of a classical composer or other major historical figure. The book helped revive interest in Beiderbecke, whose lyrical recordings and compositions have inspired generations of musicians.

In 2002, after years as a performer, promoter and critic, Mr. Sudhalter published a biography of Indiana-born composer Hoagy Carmichael, which Washington Post critic Jonathan Yardley pronounced "meticulous, admiring, perceptive and informative."

But he made his greatest impact in 1999 with the 890-page "Lost Chords: White Musicians and Their Contribution to Jazz, 1915-1945." The exhaustively researched history, which challenged the prevailing notion that jazz was exclusively a black art form, ignited an angry backlash.

Mr. Sudhalter highlighted many ethnic and musical strands that compose the rich brocade of jazz, emphasizing that "black and white once worked side by side, often defying the racial and social norms of their time to create a music whose graces reflected the combined effort."

He delved into the lives and legacies of scores of musicians, maintaining that many white performers, including Bud Freeman, Red Norvo, Pee Wee Russell and Artie Shaw, had not received their full due from history.

Many critics and musicians were incensed at Mr. Sudhalter and called him the Pat Buchanan of jazz, referring to the often-inflammatory conservative commentator. Saxophonist Branford Marsalis said the book "does not deserve the dignity of a response. It's not an argument I'm prepared to devote five minutes to."

Critic Gerald Early wrote in the Chicago Tribune, "I fear that the length of the book may be a sign of the author's desperation."

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Memorial Concert for Richard M. Sudhalter: Author, Musician, Jazz Historian

Memorial Concert for Richard M. Sudhalter: Author, Musician, Jazz Historian

Source: All About Jazz

MONDAY, JANUARY 12 7:00 - 10:00 p.m. A Memorial Concert for RICHARD M. SUDHALTER: Author, Musician, Jazz Historian St. Peter's Lutheran Church 619 Lexington Avenue at 54th Street New York, NY 10022 MUSICIANS SCHEDULED TO PERFORM: Howard Alden, James Chirillo, Bill Crow, Armen Donelian, Bob Dorough, Paquito D'Rivera, Jim Ferguson, Marty Grosz, Sy Johnson, Dick Katz, Bill Kirchner, Steve Kuhn, Dan Levinson, Boots Maleson, Marian McPartland, Ray Moska, ...



Dick Sudhalter, 1938-2008

Dick Sudhalter, 1938-2008

Source: Rifftides by Doug Ramsey

Richard M. Sudhalter gave elegance and exactness to speech, writing and music-making. Dick's perfection of expression came in natural flows, whether he was writing, playing the cornet or chatting over dinner. Gene Lees observed that Dick was the only person he knew who always spoke in perfect sentences and paragraphs. Sudhalter's mastery of language is everywhere in his biographies of Bix Beiderbecke and Hoagy Carmichael and his monumental study Lost Chords. Currents of coherence, logic, passion and humor are equally evident ...


Performance / Tour

Dick Sudhalter Benefit Concert Sunday, September 10 7-10 P.M. At St. Peter's Lutheran Church

Dick Sudhalter Benefit Concert Sunday, September 10 7-10 P.M. At St. Peter's Lutheran Church

Source: All About Jazz

Dan Levinson and Randy Sandke present A Benefit Concert for RICHARD M. SUDHALTER Author, Musician, Jazz Historian

Richard M. Sudhalter has played a crucial role in the field of jazz. An author (Bix: Man and Legend, Lost Chords: White Musicians and their Contribution to Jazz, Stardust Melody: The Life and Music of Hoagy Carmichael), musician, historian, researcher, teacher, and critic, he has been largely unable perform any of these functions since suffering ...


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