12 March

“Stuff” Combe
Drums, b.1924, Berne, Switzerland

Quinn Davis
Alto Sax, b.1944, Artesia, CA

Alwyn Lopez “Al” Jarreau
Vocal, b.1940, Milwaukee, WI, A seven-time Grammy Award winner, he is the only vocalist in history to win in three separate categories: jazz, pop, and R&B. He won the aforementioned Grammys within a span of four consecutive decades – the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and ’00s. The son of a vicar, Jarreau’s first singing experiences were in a church choir. He attended Ripon College, where he also sang non-professionally with a group called the Indigos, and graduated in 1962. He went on to earn a master’s degree in Vocational Rehabilitation from the University of Iowa and worked as a rehabilitation counselor in San Francisco while also performing evenings with a jazz trio headed by George Duke.

Freddie Johnson
Piano, b.1904 d.1961, New York, NY

Jack Kerouac
novelist, writer, poet, artist., b.1922 d.1969, Lowell, MA, born Jean-Louis Lebris de Kerouac he is amongst the best known of the writers (and friends) known as the Beat Generation.

Hugh Lawson
Piano, b.1935 d.1997, Detroit, MI, he was one of many talented Detroit jazz pianists of the 1950s (although one of the lesser-known players). Inspired by Bud Powell and arguably Bill Evans, Lawson first gained recognition for his work with Yusef Lateef during the late ’50s. He recorded with Harry “Sweets” Edison (1962), Roy Brooks, and Lateef on several occasions in the 1960s. In 1972, he was with the Piano Choir (a group with seven pianists). Lawson went on tours with Charles Mingus in 1975 and 1977 and made recordings with Charlie Rouse (1977), George Adams, and as a leader for Storyville and Soul Note. Lawson died of colon cancer in White Plains, NY, March 11, 1997, at the age of 61.

Willie Maiden
Composer, Tenor Sax, arranger, b.1928 d.1976, Detroit, MI, Maiden began on piano at age five and started playing saxophone at 11. He spent most of his career playing in big bands, and while he recorded copiously as a sideman, he never led his own session. He worked with Perez Prado in 1950 and arranged for Maynard Ferguson from 1952 into the 1960s. He played with Charlie Barnet in 1966, and played baritone sax in addition to arranging for Stan Kenton between 1969 and 1973. After this he taught at the University of Maine until his death in 1976.

Mitchell Parish
Lyricist, b.1911, New York, NY, Parish was born Michael Hyman Pashelinsky to a Jewish family in Lithuania. His family emigrated to the U.S. and arrived on 3 February 1901 on the SS Dresden when he was less than a year old, settling first in Louisiana where his paternal grandmother had family and later moving to New York City. By the late 1920s he was a well regarded Tin Pan Alley lyricist in New York City. His best known works include the songs “Star Dust,” “Sweet Lorraine,” “Deep Purple,” “Stars Fell on Alabama,” “Sophisticated Lady,” “Volare,” “Moonlight Serenade,” “Sleigh Ride,” “One Morning in May,” and “Louisiana Fairy Tale”, which was the first theme song used in the PBS Production of This Old House.He died in Manhattan at the age of 92 and is buried in Beth David Cemetery in Elmont, New York.

Sir Charles Thompson
Piano, Organ, arranger, b.1918, Springfield, OH, e was a professional pianist from the age of 10. By the age of twelve Thompson was playing private parties with Bennie Moten and his band in Colorado Springs. During this time Count Basie played off and on with Moten’s band, and during a showing Basie called the young Thompson up to play. He was dubbed Sir Charles Thompson by Lester Young years later. Thompson composed the jazz standard “Robbins’ Nest.” He has chiefly worked with small groups, although he belonged to the Coleman Hawkins/Howard McGhee band in 1944-1945. Throughout the 40’s he did several recordings with such giants as Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon and J.C. Heard. Today Thompson lives in California.

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