Tag Archives: memorial concert

DICK SUDHALTER, CELEBRATED

Marianne Mangan sent in her heartfelt note about last week’s memorial concert in honor of Richard M. Sudhalter, a man so missed that one evening couldn’t hope to do him, his music, and his memory justice:

In the two hours that we were able to be at the Richard Sudhalter Memorial (lovingly arranged by Dan Levinson this past Monday) there were riches enough for many evenings–spoken and sung, played on the piano (Marian McPartland, impossibly frail, still incomparably gifted; Steve Kuhn, teenage band brother and lifelong friend), and jammed by various configurations of musicians in numbers from two to many–the best talent in town. All in the name of one outstanding horn player, scholar, jazz historian, and, quite apparently, friend.

It seemed especially fitting that the passing of this man of prodigious talents, so good at showcasing others’ talents (who could forget the Paul Whiteman recreations and the 1979 Hoagy Carmichael concert?) should be the occasion for several notable partnerships to shine once more. Peter Ecklund rejoined co-Orphan Newsboy Marty Grosz for “Jubilee”, and it was a swinging affair, propelled from the first by Marty’s rhythmic guitar to Peter’s final rousing high notes. With Dan Levinson and Scott Robinson on bass saxophone jubilating along… Sam Parkins was “revered in the Sudhalter household” sister Carol said and in a sort of ghost reunion, the wily reedman and musical sibling put their heads together for an utterly charming “My Baby Just Cares For Me”. As is his wont (“Someone!”), Sam literally passed the baton to Howard Alden, Dick Katz, Bill Kirchner and Ray Mosca… And then there were two: Marty Grosz and Joe Muranyi, sans Dick(s) Wellstood and Sudhalter, playing lustily on “Louisiana” (with verse) and “Way Down Yonder In New Orleans,” making us miss the The Classic Jazz Quartet, making us glad they’re still here…

Dick Sudhalter recognized what good jazz was and how to make it live again, and it seems he’s still at it.

HONORING DICK SUDHALTER: JANUARY 12, 2009

 dick-sudhalter-20061A 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.