These beautiful sad pictures were taken by the jazz scholar and drummer Sue Fischer.
And they remind us of the fragility of life — these two young men who gave us so much before death took them. Tesch’s grave is not even close to where his family is buried; Don Murray is buried with his.
Sue didn’t take that picture and tells me that the cemetery is closed to visitors because of some illegal activities that had taken place — which makes me sad, because I had hoped at one point to make a holy pilgrimage to this site. I hope I will get to do so in this lifetime.
(As a digression: the Beloved, hearing me talk about Sidney for yet another time, asked me, “Why is he so important — to you or to jazz?” I thought about it for a minute, and said, “He was generous: he made everyone around him sound better. He was himself: you knew his sound as soon as he started. He lifted everyone up. He was adaptable. Louis loved him. And he had an enthusiastic life where he didn’t waste a moment — as well, he had a beautiful death. To die telling a joke among friends seems ideal.”)
These pieces of carved stone make me mournful. But perhaps they should remind us both that we are all fragile and finite yet the music we make lives on. Tesch, Don, and Sidney left us so many uplifting beauties that — as long as we remember them with love, as long as we play their records and say, “Wow, that Teschemacher!” or “How beautiful Don Murray sounds — I hear Goodman idolized him fiercely,” or, “Did you hear what Sidney just did behind Lester? Did you HEAR it?” then these musicians — only theoretically dead — will never vanish. Offering such loving remembrance of the dead may be scant tribute, but our love reverberates, and the dead, I believe, know.
MOURN THE DEAD, CELEBRATE THE LIVING: CLICK HERE!