Volume CIX, No. 9September, 2009
Jim Chapin, 89, a jazz drummer and educator, died on July 4. He joined Local 802 in 1939.
Mr. Chapin’s 1948 drum instruction book is still in print today and is arguably the most important drum set text ever written.
From the 1940’s through the 1960’s, Mr. Chapin performed and toured with a variety of bands, including Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra and groups led by the likes of Mike Riley, Woody Herman, Tommy Dorsey and Tony Pastor. He also performed on occasion with his sons Tom, Steve and the late Harry Chapin, who was one of the top singer-songwriters of the 1970’s.
During the past 25 years, Mr. Chapin found a second career as a master teacher, as he was discovered by a new generation of musicians that hungered for his depth of knowledge on drummers and drumming. He spent his time traveling around the world teaching and presenting seminars and he was a fixture at music trade shows and percussion conventions.
In 1994, Mr. Chapin received two honors for his contributions to music and education: the American Eagle Award, presented by the National Music Council in Washington; and a lifetime achievement award from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. In 1995, he was inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame.
Obituary edited from Mr. Chapin’s Web site and written by Rob Birenbaum.
Dominick Giordano, 97, a bassist and a Local 802 member since 1946, died on June 30.
He played drums prior to World War II in and around the New York metropolitan area. During the war, he played bass in the U.S. Navy Band.
Later, Mr. Giordano played with the Danny Martin Orchestra and the Bob Rotunda Big Band. He continued to play around Manhattan until 1988 when he moved to Florida. In his retirement, he continued to play in his church band until he was 90.
Mr. Giordano is survived by his daughter Theresa and many other relatives and friends.
Richard (Dickie) Harris, 90, a trombonist and a member of Local 802 since 1941, died on June 8.
Mr. Harris was once ranked as the ninth best trombone player in the United States. He worked with the big bands of Erskine Hawkins, Jimmy Lunceford, and Sy Oliver. He also played in the combos of Arnett Cobb, Illinois Jacquet, Joe Thomas, Willis Jackson and J.C. Heard. He played at Cafe Society with Sarah Vaughan for three years.
Mr. Harris recorded with Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, Nat King Cole, Della Reese, Nipsy Russell, Diana Ross and most of the major singing groups. He traveled with Sammy Davis Jr. for many college tours and special concerts.
He retired from Broadway after 20 years in the pit orchestras and then as an adjunct artist instructor in the Magnet School program of Teaneck (New Jersey) High School.
For the last 18 years he worked at Bistro 110 in Chicago.
A native of Alabama, he was inducted into the Birmingham Jazz Hall of Fame in 1979.
George Koutzen, 83, a cellist and conductor, died on Aug. 3. He had joined Local 802 in 1943.
All of Mr. Koutzen’s parents and grandparents were musicians. His father, Boris, was a violinist, conductor and composer. His mother, Inez was a pianist. Together with his sister Nadia, an accomplished violinist, they often performed quartets.
Mr. Koutzen began his professional life with the Kansas City Philharmonic and was a member of the NBC Symphony, New York String Sextet and the Little Orchestra Society. He started the Knickerbocker Chamber Players and toured extensively with them.
His greatest satisfaction came from his 13 years as conductor of the Suburban Symphony (now the Rockland Symphony). At Mr. Koutzen’s invitation, many fine instrumentalists and singers made the trip to the NY suburbs to perform with the orchestra.
Mr. Koutzen was a co-founder of the New York ViolinCello Society (1956) and Los Angeles ViolinCello Society (1978).
Mr. Koutzen will be missed for his good humor and unfailing positive outlook on life.
He is survived by his sister Nadia, former wives Nancy and Suzanne, children Myra, Tanya and George and grandchildren Nicholas, Katherine, Christopher, Grace and Johnny.
A memorial service is planned for the fall in New York. For further information, please contact his daughter Myra at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Olga James, 64, a staff member of Local 802 since 1971, died on June 10. Ms. James was born in Jamaica and came to the U.S. in 1970.
She was entirely dedicated to the Triumphant Life Church in the Bronx, where she was the first director of evangelism and outreach. She also led the children’s ministry and the intercessory ministry.
“Olga James was a transformational leader who lived an exemplary life with a strong sense of spiritual values and discipline,” wrote her pastor, Isidore Agoha. “She was a sweet, giving, kindhearted woman and teacher who feared and served God zealously.”
She is survived by her sisters Phyllis and Joyce, brother Wesley, and many other relatives.
Lawrence Lucie, 101, a guitarist and a member of Local 802 since 1931, died on Aug. 14.
Mr. Lucie spent most of his career as a rhythm guitarist, rarely stepping forward to solo. But he was a master of the underrated art of keeping the beat, and over the years he kept it for some of the biggest names in jazz.
The list of Mr. Lucie’s employers includes Duke Ellington, with whom he worked for a few nights in the early 1930’s, and Louis Armstrong, with whom he worked for four years in the 1940’s. He also performed or recorded with Billie Holiday, Benny Carter, Fletcher Henderson and many others. He was the last musician known to have recorded with the New Orleans jazz pioneer Jelly Roll Morton.
Mr. Lucie began studying banjo, mandolin and violin at an early age and played in a band led by his father. He moved to New York at 19 to pursue a career as a musician.
Later in his career he performed and recorded with his wife, the guitarist and singer Nora Lee King.
Mr. Lucie taught for three decades at Borough of Manhattan Community College. He performed with the New York Jazz Repertory Company and the Harlem Jazz and Blues Band in the 1970’s and with Panama Francis and the Savoy Sultans in the ‘80s and ‘90s. His last show was at Arturo’s in Greenwich Village, where he played solo guitar on Sunday nights until 2005.
Obituary from the New York Times.
Julius Margolin, 93, a singer-songwriter, labor activist and one of the first and only honorary members of Local 802, died on Aug. 24.
A former merchant seaman, World War II veteran and film electrician, Mr. Margolin was labor editor for his union newsletter (IATSE Local 52) and was his union’s delegate to the New York City Labor Council since 1973.
Born and raised in New York City, Mr. Margolin was a member of the Congress of Industrial Organizations and organized for the CIO during the 1930’s and 1940’s.
Local 802 awarded him honorary membership in the 1980’s in gratitude for his years of service and help to the union.
A member of the New York City Labor Chorus, he was a regular fixture on picket lines and at demonstrations whenever unions and organizations needed him.
Since 1998, Mr. Margolin was part of a singer-songwriter duo with labor activist George Mann, an organizer who worked for Local 802 in the 1990’s. The two traveled all over the country together and recorded labor and political songs.
Mr. Margolin was also the subject of a feature documentary, “A Union Man.”
See www.GeorgeAndJulius.com for an online guest book as well as information about a memorial service on Oct. 16.
He is survived by his brother Hy, sister Flo, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Les Paul, 94, the guitar virtuoso and inventor, died on Aug. 13. He joined Local 802 in 1939.
Known for his lightning-fast riffs, Mr. Paul performed with some of early pop’s biggest names and produced a slew of hits, many with his late wife Mary Ford. But it was his inventive streak that made him universally revered by guitarists as their original ancestor and earned his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the most important forces in popular music.
Mr. Paul, who died in White Plains, N.Y., of complications from pneumonia, was a tireless tinkerer, whose quest for a particular sound led him to create the first solid-body electric guitar, a departure from the hollow-body guitars of the time.
His invention paved the way for modern rock ‘n’ roll and became the standard instrument for legends like Pete Townshend and Jimmy Page.
He also developed technology that would become hallmarks of rock and pop recordings, from multitrack recording that allowed for layers and layers of “overdubs” to guitar reverb and other sound effects.
Mr. Paul was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2005. He is survived by his sons Rus, Gene and Bobby; daughter Colleen Wess; his companion, Arlene Palmer; five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
Obituary from the AP.
Dan Trimboli, 82, a woodwind player and a Local 802 member since 1949, died on June 1.
Mr. Trimboli performed with the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein as well as the Metropolitan Opera and the American Ballet Theatre.
He also played on some of Broadway’s best-known shows including “West Side Story,” “Evita,” “Pippin,” “CoCo,” “Tap Dance Kid” and “Me and My Girl.”
Mr. Trimboli was the original flute player on the recording of Louie Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.” He also worked with Judy Garland, Barbara Streisand and Tommy Dorsey.
He taught music all his life with private students at Montclair State and New Jersey City University.
Mr. Trimboli is survived by his wife Jane, son Andrew, daughter Nancy and grandchildren Kimberly, Melanie, Anthony and David. The family suggests that donations can be made to the Actors Fund (see www.ActorsFund.org).
WE ALSO REMEMBER…
Louis Bellson, percussion
Eric J. Gale, electric guitar
Marie J. Hence, violin
Michael D. Levin, violin
Joseph Licari Jr, drums
Huey Long, guitar
Don Palmer, violin
Kenneth J. Rankin, guitar
Nancy Rifici, oboe
Joe Singer, violin
Neal Smith, saxophone
Anthony Thompson, drums
Billy Verplanck, trombone
To report the death of a member, contact Theresa Couture at (212) 245-4802, ext. 115 or email@example.com