Volume CVI, No. 9September, 2006
Les Allicks – Drums
Lew Anderson – Saxophone
William Arrowsmith – Oboe
Ethan S. Bauch – Bassoon
Eugene Becker – Viola
Johnny Blowers – Drums
Kenneth Broadhurst – Guitar
Tarik Bulut – Drums/Arranger/Copyist
Louis A. Carter – Piano
Martin B. Cohen – Saxophone
Stanley S. Coren – Drums
Michael A. Debetta – Saxophone
Horace Diaz Jr – Piano
Louis Flora – Drums
Natasha Ghent – Viola
Arnold Gross – Tenor Saxophone
Roland Gundry – Violin
Eddie M. Herman – Violin
John Hicks – Piano
Ruby Kantrowitz – Drums
Roland Kohloff – Timpani
Olga Lowenkron – Piano
Arif Mardin – Arranger
Elwood G. Mcadams – Trombone
Homer Mensch – Bass
Sidney Olshein – Piano
Frank Reysen – Piano
Hilton Ruiz – Piano
Howard F. Ruzicka – Piano
Howard S. Shanet – Conductor
Tom Tsuji – Timpani
Jack D. Wolf – Piano
Lew Anderson, 84, a saxophonist, arranger and bandleader, and an 802 member since 1950, died on May 14. Mr. Anderson played Clarabell the Clown on the “Howdy Doody Show.”
Born in Kirkman, Iowa, Mr. Anderson began playing his sister’s clarinet and soon had his own band. He attended junior college in Fort Dodge, Iowa, and Drake University in Des Moines. He enlisted in the Navy during World War II and started a band between battles in the Pacific theatre.
After leaving the service, he toured the Midwest with bands, honing his talent for arranging and composing music. In the late 1940’s, he joined the Honey Dreamers, a singing group that appeared on radio and early television shows like “The Ed Sullivan Show.” The group appeared on a musical variety television show Mr. Smith produced for NBC.
According to the New York Times, Mr. Anderson first saw his Clarabell gig simply as a job paying more than $400 a week. Then, he began to be mobbed at personal appearances, and his fame lasted decades after the last broadcast. Mr. Anderson later profited from writing advertising jingles, but live music remained his passion. He formed his All-American Big Band, expert musicians from recording studios and Broadway shows, playing a book of 300 songs, a quarter of which he wrote himself. The band still performs each Friday at Birdland.
Mr. Anderson, who lived in South Salem, N.Y., is survived by his wife, Peggy; his sons Christopher, of Ridgefield, Conn., and Lewis Jr., of Providence, R.I.; and five grandchildren.
This obituary edited from the New York Times
John Hicks, 64, a pianist and an 802 member since 1957, died on May 10.
Mr. Hicks, a prolific mainstay of jazz in New York since the late 1960’s, gave his final performance in May at a fund-raising concert at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Harlem. The church, which Mr. Hicks attended, was also where his father, the Rev. Dr. John Hicks Sr., had been a minister.
Mr. Hicks was born in Atlanta. His family moved to Los Angeles when he was an infant and moved again to St. Louis when he was 15, when his father was appointed as a minister there.
After high school, Mr. Hicks attended Lincoln University in Missouri, Berklee and Juilliard. He was also soon spending time on the road with various blues and jazz bandleaders, including Albert King and Johnny Griffin. In 1963, having taken a job with the singer Della Reese, he moved to New York City, and for the most part he stayed there.
With a dense, heavy, physical style, influenced by McCoy Tyner, he played in all kinds of situations, from free jazz to programs of music written by Billy Strayhorn, Mary Lou Williams and Sonny Clark.
Among his dozens of jobs with working bands, Mr. Hicks had stretches with three of the most important incubators of young jazz musicians: from 1964 to 1966 he was in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, from 1966 to 1968 with the singer Betty Carter, and from 1968 to 1970 with Woody Herman’s big band. It was after a second period with Ms. Carter in the late 1970’s that Mr. Hicks’s career as a leader picked up; he went on to record many albums under his own name.
For a highly visible time in the 1980’s and 1990’s, he recorded as a solo pianist, in duos and quartets and in cooperative trios (the Power Trio and the Keystone Trio); was the regular pianist in the Mingus Dynasty Band; maintained his own big band; and played in small groups, including those of David Murray and Arthur Blythe.
Beginning in 1983, he often performed and recorded with the flutist Elise Wood, whom he married in 2001. In addition to Ms. Wood, he is survived by his brother, Raiford Hicks of Manhattan; his sisters Emma Hicks Kirk and Paula Hicks Neely, both of Stockbridge, Ga.; a daughter and son from a previous marriage, Naima Hicks of Atlanta and Jamil Hicks of Manhattan; two stepchildren, Khadesha Wood of Teaneck, N.J., and Malik Wood of Manhattan; and one granddaughter.
This obituary from the New York Times.
Roland Kohloff, 71, a timpanist and an 802 member since 1961, died on Feb. 24.
Mr. Kohloff joined the San Francisco Symphony in 1956, as a 21-year-old virtuoso fresh from Juilliard. He quickly made an impression with the subtlety and verve of his playing.
Praising Mr. Kohloff’s contributions to a Richard Strauss score during his first season with the symphony, San Francisco Chronicle music critic Alfred Frankenstein wrote, “He is one of the most dramatic as well as one of the ablest timpanists in the business, and some day he ought to be soloist with the symphony in his own right.”
That day came the following season, when Mr. Kohloff was the soloist in a vividly theatrical performance of Darius Milhaud’s “Concerto for Percussion and Small Orchestra.” In subsequent seasons, he appeared in works by William Jay Sydeman, Niccolò Castiglioni, Lukas Foss and George Crumb.
After 16 years as principal timpanist, Mr. Kohloff left in 1972 for New York, where he spent the rest of his career. He also taught at Juilliard.
San Francisco Symphony timpanist David Herbert, a student of his who spoke at his funeral Thursday in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., called him a “one-of-a-kind musician.
“He was dynamic and subtle at the same time. He was a heroic leader who could bring an orchestra to a whole other level when it mattered the most.”
Mr. Kohloff was born Jan. 20, 1935, in Port Chester, N.Y., and grew up in nearby Mamaroneck. At Juilliard, he studied with the famed timpanist Saul Goodman, whom he succeeded as the Philharmonic’s principal.
It was during his tenure in San Francisco that he met his wife, the former Janet Unger, who was a member of the San Francisco Opera Chorus. They raised their two children on a ranch in Novato where they pursued their interests in horseback riding and yoga.
Mr. Kohloff was prone to bouts of severe depression, and spoke openly about the benefit he derived from electroshock therapy.
“Instead of two months in a hospital, I get a series of treatments for a week and a half and I’m back playing again,” he told a reporter for New York Newsday.
Mr. Kohloff is survived by his wife Janet, son Steven, daughter Jami, son-in-law Mark, granddaughters Cassandra and Gianna, brother George, sister Caroline and cousin Bobbi. The family has requested donations to the National Alliance on Mental Illness or the American Cancer Society.
This obituary edited from the San Francisco Chronicle.
Homer Mensch, 91, a bassist and an 802 member since 1937, died last Dec. 9.
Mr. Mensch performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony, New York Philharmonic, and other orchestras. He taught at Juilliard for 30 years.
Born in New Jersey, Mr. Mensch studied at the Manhattan School of Music and the Jacques Dalcroze School of Music; his teachers included New York Philharmonic principal bassist Anselme Fortier. As a teenager, he performed in the Dick Messner Big Band at the Hotel McAlpin in New York. “This was at the start of the Great Depression,” he told the Juilliard Journal recently, “so pursuing a career in music was pretty risky. I was lucky that my parents didn’t try to make me go into a field that was a safer bet.”
He joined the Pittsburgh Symphony in 1932 — after auditioning for Otto Klemperer on the stage of Carnegie Hall — and served as assistant principal bassist in 1937-38. He joined the Philharmonic in 1938, when the orchestra was led by John Barbirolli.
In 1943, Mr. Mensch left the Philharmonic to serve in the Army in Texas. A year later, he returned to New York as a freelance musician, performing with the NBC Symphony and for television and radio shows.
He returned to the Philharmonic in 1966, during Leonard Bernstein’s tenure, and remained through 1975. After leaving, he played with such orchestras as the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, New York Chamber Symphony, and New York Pops. He appeared on many classical recordings and did session work for movie soundtracks, commercials, TV shows, and pop music.
Mr. Mensch joined the Juilliard faculty in 1970 and became chair of the double bass department in 2002; he also taught at Yale, the Manhattan School of Music, Mannes College of Music, and other institutions. In addition to classical bassists, his former students include the jazz standouts Christian McBride and Steve Kirby.
This obituary from Playbill.