David “Bubba” Brooks – Saxophone
Rudy De Luca – Trombone
Ernest Emond – Saxophone
Allen Fields – Saxophone
Nathan Greenberg – Bass
Gerald J. Heffron – Saxophone/Arranger
Weldon Irvine – Composer/Piano
Martin L. Kent – Piano
Ruth Lloyd – Piano
Augie Marvin – Violin
Joseph A. Nardiello – Drums
John Patton – Organ
Augie Paul – Guitar
Mack Pierce Pitt – Saxophone
George A. Scott – Trumpet/Conductor
Whitney Tustin – Oboe
John Ulicny – Saxophone
Anthony Vinci – Drums/Arranger/Copyist
Paul Yellin – Saxophone
David “Bubba” Brooks
David “Bubba” Brooks, 79, a tenor saxophone player who joined Local 802 in 1947, died on April 11.
Mr. Brooks was born in Fayetteville, N.C., to a musical family: his father was a singer in a vocal group and his brother, Harold “Tina” Brooks, also a tenor player, recorded for Blue Note. He played with Sonny Thompson’s R&B band for eight years and later with Bill Doggett for two decades. He was a member of Ruth Brown’s band when they played for Bill Clinton’s first inaugural ball.
A member of the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band since 1992, Mr. Brooks played at the Louisiana Bar & Grill every Saturday night until 1998, then at Sullivan’s on Broadway. In June 2000 he appeared at Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, supporting three alumni in a Louis Armstrong celebration.
His first solo album, “The Big Sound of Bubba Brooks,” included Bross Townsend (piano) and Grady Tate (drums). Mr. Brooks’ playing is heard on recordings by Bross Townsend’s Band and by Peter Schmidlin. A recording titled “The Harlem Blues And Jazz Band Plays Public Domain,” featuring him on tenor sax, will soon be released.
Big John Patton, 66, an organist who joined Local 802 in 1962, died on March 19 in Montclair, N.J.
Born in Kansas City, Mo., Mr. Patton was mostly self-taught on the piano. He developed an interest in the organ while touring with rhythm-and-blues singer Lloyd Price from 1954 to 1959, since the band often played clubs that had organs. He took up the Hammond organ and moved to New York, where he rehearsed with guitarist Grant Green and drummer Ben Dixon, soon to be his collaborators in a band led by saxophonist Lou Donaldson. Mr. Patton was with Donaldson from 1962 to 1964, with Green for several years in the mid-’60s, and with Clifford Jordan in 1966. He also played with more experimental musicians like the trombonist Grachan Moncur III, and John Gilmore and Marshall Allen from Sun Ra’s band.
Mr. Patton led his own trio from 1963 to 1969, including guitarist James (Blood) Ulmer, and recorded 11 albums for Blue Note. He recorded “Soul Connection” for the Nilva label in 1983, “This One’s for J. A.” for DIW in 1995, and “Blue Planet Man” for Evidence in 1993.
Mr. Patton played locally in Newark and New York, but developed a broader audience when John Zorn hired him to play a solo on “Erotico (The Burglars),” a track on his 1986 album, “The Big Gundown.”
He is survived by his wife Thelma, brothers Leroy, Jesse and Jerry, and sisters Patricia and Antoinette.
Mack Pierce Pitt
Mack Pierce Pitt, 81, lead alto saxophonist with Artie Shaw and the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and an 802 member for 60 years, died on March 4 in Detroit.
He learned to play the mandolin as a child and was performing with the Workmen’s Circle Mandolin Orchestra in Newark by the time he was eight. At 11, already proficient on the mandolin and vibraphone, he turned to the alto sax. He dropped out of school at age 16 and moved to New York City, where he was soon playing at Radio City Music Hall. At 17, he began appearing with big bands, and soon joined Artie Shaw. He toured with the Shaw band in the U.S., South America and Europe before the United States entered World War II. Shaw then recruited Mr. Pitt for his “All American All-Star Band,” which entertained troops in the South Pacific.
Soon after the war he joined Tex Beneke and the Glenn Miller Orchestra for three years. He also performed in the bands of Benny Goodman, Lester Lanin, Meyer Davis, Buddy Morrow and Will Bradley.
In 1951 he married Dorothy Rosen, a Detroit resident, and enrolled at Wayne State University on the GI Bill. He obtained both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education and began to teach in Detroit city schools. He later became a counselor and administrator.
During this time he also formed the Mack Pitt Orchestra, a popular society band, worked in Motown Studios, and performed on many occasions with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, on both mandolin and saxophone.
He is survived by his wife Dorothy, sons Steven and Darryl, and two grandsons.
George A. Scott
George A. Scott, 83, a trumpet player, conductor and music educator, died on April 14. He had joined Local 802 in 1946.
Mr. Scott grew up in South Carolina and began playing the trumpet in high school. He was a member of the U.S. Infantry Band during World War II, serving in North Africa. After his discharge he lived in Europe for some time, before returning to the United States. He played with a number of bands in New York City, and also worked in Chicago, New Orleans and California.
In his early 30s he went back to school on the GI Bill, graduating from the Juilliard School and Teachers College. For the next 30 years, he taught music in the public schools, retiring from teaching in 1989. Over the years he also worked with the NYC Parks Department, conducting bands in a number of city parks.
Mr. Scott helped to open New York City orchestras to African-American musicians, as a party to litigation challenging the exclusion of Black musicians from the pits.
He is survived by his wife Lorraine, son George A. Scott Jr., granddaughter Gianni, daughter Celeste, brother Perrineau and several grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Whitney Tustin, 90, an oboe player and teacher and a 55-year member of Local 802, died on Feb. 18 in Denver, Colorado.
Born in Seattle, Wash., he started his career playing second oboe in the Seattle Symphony at age 15. Mr. Tustin played principal oboe in the New York City Opera from 1949, its inaugural season, until 1966. He also held principal positions in other orchestras throughout the United States. A long Island resident for many years, he taught hundreds of students to play the oboe and make their own reeds.
He is survived by his wife Gilda and three stepchildren: Susan Iadone, an 802 member, Karen Shapiro and Michael Shapiro, and by his brother Wayne.