John Hicks memorial
Lots of recent news of late. On June 4th I attended what always ends up being a bittersweet affair - the memorial service at the Jazz church at St. Peters' for recently departed master pianist John Hicks. John was one of the many "indirect" mentors I've had in my life; someone who although I didn't directly study WITH him, was constantly studying his approach to his craft, particularly in the context of the work he did for many years as pianist in David Murray's quartets. It was John, in fact, for whom I was subbing when I got my first major career break, appearing at the 1994 Montreal Jazzfest in the David Murray Quartet, at which I was essentially "discovered" by Justin Time Records; I also went on to perform and record with David for many years. The memorial was an intense celebration of his life, featuring an utterly all-star lineup of jazzers from the World Saxophone Quartet, to Cassandra Wilson; even pianist Cecil Taylor showed up and did "his thing" for an extended improvised solo piano set. John truly has touched people the world over with his remarkable gift and will be sorely missed. I actually recorded a solo piano piece dedicated to him entitled "Waltz for Mr. Hicks"; listen to my latest Living Jazz Podcast #17 for an excerpt. RIP John.