Volume CVII, No. 10October, 2007

Bill BarberTuba

Gerald ChamberlainTrombone

Frank DipaoloBass

Robert L. KircherTrombone

Bob KrossTrombone

Bill LavorgnaDrums

Jon LucienVocalist

Sal MoscaPiano

Max RoachDrums

Marvin RosenbergPercussion

George L. TriffonTrumpet

David A. UberTrombone

Walter WegnerFlute

Bill Barber

Bill Barber, 87, a tubist and an 802 member since 1941, died on June 18.

Mr. Barber was considered by many to be the first person to play tuba in modern jazz. He started playing tuba in high school and later studied at Juilliard. After graduating, he traveled west to Kansas City, Missouri where he played with the Kansas City Philharmonic and various ballet and theatre orchestras.

He joined the Army in 1942 and played in an army band for three years. After the war, he started playing jazz, joining Claude Thornhill’s big band in 1947. Mr. Barber was one of the first tuba players to play in a modern jazz style, playing solos and participating in intricate ensemble pieces.

He became a founding member of Miles Davis’ nonet in 1949 in what became known as the “Birth of the Cool” recording sessions. He then worked in theatre pit orchestras before joining up with Davis and Gil Evans in 1957 to record albums such as “Sketches of Spain,” “Miles Ahead” and “Porgy and Bess.” He also played on John Coltrane’s only big band album, “Africa/Brass.”

Mr. Barber later earned a master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music and became a high school music teacher at Copiague, New York. He continued to perform and was a member of the Goldman Band. In 1992, he recorded and toured with a nonet led by Gerry Mulligan, reworking material from “Birth of the Cool.”

He died of heart failure in Bronxville, New York.

Edited from Wikipedia.

Back to top

Gerald Chamberlain

Gerald Chamberlain, 65, a trombonist and bass trombonist, and an 802 member since 1973, died on July 21.

Mr. Chamberlain was born in Refugio, Texas. After high school he joined the 82nd Airborne and spent three years as a paratrooper in Germany. This service allowed him to later study at North Texas State University under the G.I. Bill as a prize student of Leon Brown.

His first recording experience came doing station I.D.’s in Dallas, and he played bass trombone in the Fort Worth Symphony.

Mr. Chamberlain toured with Ten Wheel Drive, Buddy Rich, and Woody Herman. Settling in New York in the late 1960’s, he quickly became a major player in the recording studios.

His classical work included the New York Philomusica, and he was a founding member of the Hora Decima Brass Ensemble.

Mr. Chamberlain also played many Broadway shows, including the long run of “Cats.”

He had a special love of Latin music, performing and recording with Ismael Rivera, Eddie Palmieri, Machito, Chico O’Farrill, and Mario Bauza.

After retiring from “Cats,” Mr. Chamberlain took courses in Atlantic City to become a blackjack dealer and worked for a few years in the gaming industry. He lived in semi-retirement for the last eight years in Miami Beach, often performing with the Hollywood (Fla.) Symphony.

Mr. Chamberlain will be rememberd on Wednesday, Nov. 14 from 5 to 6 p.m. in the Local 802 Club Room.

He is survived by his companion Rosa Herrera, son Geoffrey, nephew Richard, and niece Tina.

Back to top

Frank DiPaolo

Frank DiPaolo, 89, a bassist, died on Aug. 19. He joined Local 802 in 1940.

An Army veteran of World War II, Mr. DiPaolo — who was known professionally as Frank DiPaul— was a lifelong musician. He recorded with Bobby Darin, Connie Francis, Jimmy Durante, Paul Anka and many others at the famous Copacabana and Roxy theatres.

Mr. DiPaolo also contracted and performed with the Lester Lanin “High Society Band.” He performed at White House inaugural balls for John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon, as well as other White House functions.

After leaving Local 802, Mr. DiPaolo moved to Florida where, in the 1980’s, he served as president of the Palm Beach local of the AFM, whose jurisdiction is now covered by Local 655 (Miami).

Mr. DiPaolo was a member of St. Timothy Catholic Church in Lutz, Florida, and also a member of the Tampa chapter of the Sons of Italy.

The family requests that donations can be made to the National Kidney Foundation of Florida (

Mr. DiPaolo is survived by his wife Cee, children Ellen Paris, Victor DiPaolo, Louis Sorbera and Marisa Barrow, Carlene Burgess, Laura DeCarlo, Gina Nicholas and Paul Sorbera, 16 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren

Back to top

Robert L. Kircher

Robert Kircher, 86, a trombonist, vocalist, composer and music educator, and an 802 member since 1955, died on Aug. 6.

Mr. Kircher — also known as Bob Kross – was self taught. He became good enough to audition into high school bands and win scholarships to colleges, including the Cincinnati College of Music, European Conservatory of Music (Baltimore), Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Hunter College, and the Manhattan School of Music.

During World War II, he played in the Coast Guard dance band. Later, he worked in Cincinnati in various bands, where he also sang and arranged. He went back to school to study voice and in 1952 won the opportunity to sing with the Cincinnati Summer Opera and other ensembles.

The next few decades saw Mr. Kircher in New York City. Besides playing with many well-known bands, he was musical director for Port Richmond High School in Staten Island. He was also choir director for the historic Old Tennent Presbyterian Church, for which he composed a cantata.

He collaborated with lyricist Clay Harrison on a composition that was performed in Washington, D.C., at the World War II Memorial.

Mr. Kircher was a master of the Olive Branch Masonic Lodge of Freehold, New Jersey. He was also a member of the Scottish Rite.

He is survived by his wife Marilyn, daughter Debby Jo Tulk, son Bruce, stepsons Robert, Andrew and Matthew, grandchildren Fred, Tim and Roxanna, and great-granddaughter Chloe. The family requests that donations be made to the Shriner’s Burns Hospital ( or the Scottish Rite Learning Center (

Back to top

Bill LaVorgna

Bill LaVorgna, 74, a drummer and an 802 member since 1954, died on July 31.

Mr. LaVorgna performed with Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie, Sammy Davis Jr., Pat Boone and Barry Manilow. For more than 30 years, he was musical director for Garland’s daughter, Liza Minnelli. At the time of his death, he was to accompany Minnelli on a concert tour of Spain and Monaco.

(Minnelli, who was 11 years old when her mother signed Mr. LaVorgna to a contract in 1957, has written a tribute to Mr. LaVorgna on her Web site,

Mr. LaVorgna took up the drums as a child. Jack Smith, who lived across the street from the LaVorgna family, told the New Jersey paper The Record, that he remembered neighborhood musicians — including the future jazz guitar great John “Bucky” Pizzarelli — flocking to his classmate’s house for jam sessions.

Smith said young Bill knew where his destiny lay.

“Bill was a very good athlete,” Smith told The Record, “but he gave up sports to protect his hands.”

After graduating from Paterson Central in 1951, Mr. LaVorgna attended New York University, earning degrees in education and music. He was never without work; his wife Joan said that his 10,000 recording dates in New York City must be some sort of record.

Besides his wife, Mr. LaVorgna is survived by his sons David, Mark and Blaise, and six granddaughters.

Edited from The Record at

Back to top

Jon Lucien

Jon Lucien, 65, a vocalist, guitarist, bass player and keyboardist, died on Aug. 18. He had been an 802 member since 1963.

Singing over quiet arrangements and swaying rhythms that borrowed from Caribbean and Brazilian music, Mr. Lucien had a suave, romantic delivery, and even in his most passionate crescendos never seemed to break a sweat.

Songs like “Would You Believe in Me,” “Lady Love” and his version of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Dindi” have entered eternal rotation on easy-listening radio, but Mr. Lucien never had a Top 40 hit. He complained that early in his career, his hybrid of light jazz and soul fell through the cracks of the music business.

Born Lucien Harrigan on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, he grew up on nearby St. Thomas. A fan of Nat King Cole, he played bass in his father’s Latin band and moved to New York at 19, playing in wedding and bar mitzvah bands and recording jingles. His break came when an RCA executive heard him at a wedding. His debut album, “I Am Now,” was released in 1970.

He recorded a string of albums for RCA and Columbia in the ‘70s, including “Rashida” and “Song for My Lady.” He quit music for a time in the ‘80s but returned in 1991 with “Listen Love” (Mercury), which shot to the top of Billboard’s contemporary jazz chart.

He is survived by his wife Delesa, sisters Esperanza and Leaita, brothers Maxwell, Richard and Pedrito, sons Hanif and Jamil, stepson Mark, daughter Celesa, and two grandchildren.

From the New York Times.

Back to top

Sal Mosca

Sal Mosca, 80, the jazz pianist, died on July 28. He had been an 802 member since 1947.

Mr. Mosca, one of the most important students of Lennie Tristano, played with Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan.

In the 1950’s he played on several watershed early cool-jazz recordings, like “Ezz-thetic,” with Miles Davis, and “Subconscious-Lee,” with the saxophonist Lee Konitz, another Tristano student with whom Mr. Mosca played in clubs like Birdland.

Mr. Mosca played on the bill with Lenny Bruce at the Den in Manhattan in the 1950’s and led a quartet along with the saxophonist Warne Marsh at the Village Vanguard in 1981.

But after that he largely avoided performing and recording, seeing it as a threat to the integrity of his intense practicing, playing and teaching, he said in interviews with the New York Times in recent years. He lived in a commercial building he owned in downtown Mount Vernon, where he could teach up to 60 students a week and practice late into the night.

After a series of operations he grew depressed, he said, and in 1997 he stopped playing altogether for four years, refusing to leave home or touch his Steinway concert grand, even as recordings of his earlier performances were being released. Eventually he returned to teaching, jam sessions and public performances. In January he played five solo concerts in Europe and taught several workshops.

Mr. Mosca is survived by his daughter Kathryn, sons Michael and Steven and grandchildren Joseph, Lisa, Kathryn, Anna, Michael, Alex and Nicholas.

From the New York Times.

Back to top

Max Roach

Max Roach, 83, the masterful jazz drummer and one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, died on Aug. 16.

A titan in the field, Mr. Roach was known for his innovative, daringly melodic approach to time keeping that revolutionized the jazz drummer’s role. He was also highly regarded for his social activism.

Born in North Carolina, Maxwell Lemuel Roach moved to Brooklyn while still a boy. While attending the Concord Baptist Church in Bedford Stuyvesant, he backed gospel groups, and by his late teens was appearing with Duke Ellington and Benny Carter.

By 1944, he was performing on 52nd Street with Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis. He appeared on many seminal recordings, including “Woody ‘n’ You” and “Koko.”

Mr. Roach led his own small groups into the 1960’s that featured (at various times) Clifford Brown, Sonny Rollins, Eric Dolphy and Booker Little. During the 1970’s he joined the faculty of UMASS Amherst, and formed a “double quartet” with string players, led by his daughter, the violist Maxine Roach. He later founded a percussion ensemble, M’Boom.

Throughout his career, he remained a tireless advocate for civil rights. His provocative “We Insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite” was recorded in 1960.

He is survived by his children Maxine, Ayo, Dara, Raoul and Darryl. (Maxine, a Local 802 member, serves on 802’s Executive Board.)

The family has requested donations be sent to the Alzheimer’s Association ( or Veritas Therapeutic Community, Inc. (

Back to top

George Triffon

George Triffon, 74, a trumpeter and an 802 member since 1957, died on Aug. 7.

Mr. Triffon was the lead trumpet player for Tito Puente’s band in Miami Beach in the early 1950’s. He also played with the touring Count Basie Orchestra.

In New York City, he won the lead chair at the Copacabana, which gave him the opportunity to play for Peggy Lee, Paul Anka, Tony Bennett, Nat Cole and Pearl Bailey. He was also a regular on the Merv Griffin Show.

In addition to playing many Broadway shows, Mr. Triffon played with the Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman bands at Basin Street East. Eventually he joined Goodman’s band to tour in the summer of 1962 when he met his wife, the singer Sandy Stewart. He also toured with the bands of Les Brown and Lionel Hampton and played lead trumpet on pianist Bill Evans’ album “From Left to Right.”

He recorded several albums with trombonist Bill Watrous’ big band.

Aside from his musical career, Mr. Triffon worked as a lifeguard at Riis Park and Delray Beach for 20 years. At the age of 54 he won eight gold medals in swimming events in the senior master’s competition. And at the age of 66 he graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree from John Jay College.

He is survived by his wife Sandy Stewart, children Lori Elgazzar, Christine Triffon and George Triffon Jr., stepchildren Anne, Tom, Katherine and Bill Charlap, and six grandchildren.

Back to top

Walter Wegner

Walter “Wally” Wegner, 87, a flutist, clarinetist and saxophonist, and an 802 member since 1938, died on Aug. 16.

Mr. Wegner was a member of General George C. Patton’s personal Third Army Band, where he played the piccolo during World War II. He worked with bandleaders such as Ray McKinley, Reggie Childs, Ina Ray Hutton and Ted Straeter, and with vocalists Kay Thompson and Judy Garland, among others. He also appeared on “The Victor Borge Show” during its brief run on television in 1951, and on segments of the “Ed Sullivan Show.”

 He played in the Off Broadway production of “The Threepenny Opera.” In “No Strings,” Mr. Wegner was one of six musicians who performed onstage instead of the orchestra pit. His other Broadway credits and cast recordings include “The Littlest Review,” “Hazel Flagg,” “Greenwillow,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Here’s Love,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “The Apple Tree,” and “1776.”

 After retiring from Broadway, Mr. Wegner taught instrumental music in the Great Neck, Long Island, school district during the 1970’s and 1980’s. He continued to perform in the orchestra for theatre productions at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts, the Band of Long Island, and in various other engagements in New York and Long Island.

Mr. Wegner is survived by his wife Patricia. He also is survived by two daughters from his first marriage, Karen Pilant and Wendy Wegner, and two grandchildren.

Back to top