24 January 2007

How do you keep the music playing?

I'd like to depart from my usual ramblings for just one post, because one of the seminal figures in my life died yesterday, and I want to do my small part to honor him. Many of you have probably never heard of Floyd Standifer, but it would not be an exaggeration to say that he was the heart and soul of jazz in Seattle. He also was one of the founders of The Northwest School and led the jazz ensemble there for somewhere in the vicinity of two decades. I had the inestimable privilege of playing trombone for Floyd for seven years, and much of my love of and appreciation for music is due to him. Besides just putting into words my sincere appreciation for the personal benefits I reaped from him, I can attest that Floyd was a truly remarkable person. His life's story is a fascinating one, and makes for a good read. However, if you really want to appreciate Floyd, look up one of his albums: you'll seldom hear a sweeter-sounding trumpet, flugelhorn, or sax, and you'll never hear another musician who loved what they did more than Floyd Standifer. So, to a classy human being, an excellent teacher, and a musician of the highest caliber, thanks for everything, Floyd. You will be missed.

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