A memorial concert in honor of the musician / scholar / writer Richard M. Sudhalter will be held on Monday, January 12, 2009, at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church (619 Lexington Avenue) in the Citicorp Center, New York City, from 7-10 PM. Among the musicians who will play and pay tribute to Dick are Ed Polcer, Jackie Williams, Daryl Sherman, Dan Levinson, Marty Grosz, Marian McPartland, Sam Parkins, Joe Muranyi, Bill Kirchner, Sy Johnson, Howard Alden, James Chirillo, Carol Sudhlater, Steve Kuhn, Dick Katz, the Loren Schoenberg Big Band, Bob Dorough, Ronny Whyte, Boots Maleson, Bill Crow, James Ferguson, Marshall Wood, Nancy Stearns, Donna Byrne, Armen Donelian, Paquito D’Rivera, and Carol Fredette.
Albert Haim, Dan Morgenstern, Pat Phillips, Daryl Sherman, and Terry Teachout will speak informally about Dick and his music as well.
We won’t be in Manhattan on that Monday, and thus don’t have to deal with the deep ambivalent feelings such a concert provokes: the delight at seeing and hearing so many musicians play and speak — balanced against our grief at Dick’s death. I remember with great clarity being at the benefit held for him in that same space a few years ago. He was there, preferring to let others speak for him, but clearly moved, clearly fighting with great gallatry and style. And some musicians who were so distinguished at that concert — Jeff Healey and Barbara Lea among them — have left the public stage through death or illness.
There isn’t an appropriate moral, except that all of us are fragile even when we don’t seem to be. If I had a band, I would call it the Carpe Diem Stompers. Or the Finite Five. Pay attention! And go to this concert — to honor Dick’s intelligence, wit, and bravery. I’ll be listening to the 2001 recordings that Dick and Jeff Healey made, which leave me with a curious mixture of sadness and elation: sadness that these musicians will play no more, elation at the beautiful, energetic, lyrical jazz they gave us so generously. The CD, under Healey’s name, is called AMONG FRIENDS, and it is accurately titled, although AMONG HEROES wouldn’t have been hyperbole.