Saxophonist John Doheny was born in Seattle Washington in 1953 but has spent much of his adult life in Canada, primarily in Vancouver and Toronto. After early experiences accompanying strippers in bars and cabarets he became a professional R&B sideman in the late 1970s, touring and recording with artists both prominent and obscure. In 1991 he returned to Vancouver and began a program of intense musical study, both in academe (Vancouver Community College, the University of British Columbia) and in the more informal area of performance. He asserts that "all human intercourse is either an opportunity to learn or to teach. Everything that I know about jazz performance (to the extent that I know anything at all) I owe to those players, teachers and students who have suffered to share the bandstand and the teaching studio with me." Since 2003, Mr. Doheny has been a permanent resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, but makes every effort to spend summers in Canada because "it's too damn hot down here then."

Sunday, August 15, 2010

R.I.P Clyde Kerr Jr.

From the WWLTV website::

Legendary music teacher, trumpeter Clyde Kerr Jr. dies at 67

Updated Sunday, Aug 8 at 9:54 PM

NEW ORLEANS -- Trumpeter, composer and influential music teacher Clyde Kerr Jr., whose list of students included Nicholas Payton, Terence Blanchard, Irvin Mayfield, Christian Scott and Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, has died. He was 67.

His grandson Drew, who had helped care for him in recent months, said Mr. Kerr died Friday after battling an illness in recent months. However he was well enough to lead the annual Satchmo Summer Jazz Camp last month.

Like his father before him, Mr. Kerr taught several generations of students the finer points of New Orleans music.

"We grew up in a household that should have had a revolving door, when you think about the students and musicians who came through that house," said Gwen Bierria, Mr. Kerr's sister.Mr. Kerr told the Times-Picayune in 2009 that his father gave him his first trumpet when he was 9, but he didn’t have an interest in playing it. It took eight years before he would develop a lifelong love for the instrument

His early career included work as a studio musician, for national acts such as The Jackson Five, The O'Jays, Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett, Allen Toussaint, Dr. John and the Neville Brothers.

A native of Treme who graduated from St. Augustine High School and Xavier University, Mr. Kerr’s first teaching job was in St. John the Baptist Parish.

His teaching career included stints at other middle schools, high schools and universities in New Orleans, but was most notable for the 16 years he spent teaching jazz at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and NOCCA Academy. Mr. Kerr retired from teaching at NOCCA after Hurricane Katrina."There were so many lives he touched as a teacher, helping them to reach their full potential," his sister said Sunday.

Last year, Mr. Kerr released his first CD of original compositions, called “This is Now.”
In addition to his sister, Mr. Kerr is survived by three children and 10 grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements are pending.


I'm wary of milking the "another jazz master gone' trope too much, because it's seems to me that the media tends to ignore figures like Mr. Kerr (who was certainly well known among musicians in New Orleans but generally off the radar with the general public nationally, or even here in town for that matter), or even those with much higher profiles like the recently passed Abbey Lincoln, until after they're dead. It'd be awfully nice to see some of these ecomiums appear while the person being talked about is still around to hear it.

It's belaboring the obvious but it needs to be said; jazz is a hands-on tradition that needs to be passed on face-to-face. There is a cultural continuity to the stuff that has a tough time surviving in the post-modern age. New Orleans has an advantage here, since by it's insular nature and interconnected social and class structures, it's easier to keep a sense of cultural and artistic community than in other, more modern American cities. His obit states that he was "a native of Treme" and "a graduate of St. Augustine high school and Xavier University.' What would be a series of dry and meaningless entries on a CV in other cities here speak volumes about Mr. Kerr's pedigree. Where you grew up and what schools you attended speak volumes in New Orleans; these things are a shorthand that immediately places Mr. Kerr in specific cultural, racial, and economic contexts. It tells us a great deal about who he was.

What he was was an inheritor of a rich and variegated musical culture that has deep, deep roots, yet continues to evolve and exert a strong presence in the music of New Orleans in both the street and the concert hall. In much of the world today, jazz styles are no longer regional, people don't talk anymore about a player having a "New York sound" or a "Chicago" sound (unless they're talking about elder statesmen who've spent their careers in those cities, like Von Freeman or Sonny Rollins.) But New Orleans continues to produce scores of young players whose sound immediately marks them as products of this place. And New Orleans has always been a town where stylistic boundaries mean very little; our jazz is funky, our funk is bluesy, and our blues is jazzy. And our players routinely and joyfully cross, blur and ignore catagorization in any of these areas.

Cats like Mr. Kerr are the ones who took it upon themselves to guard these traditions and pass them on to new generations of innovators, in many cases at considerable sacrifice in terms of their own careers and visibility. Pick up just about any record made in New Orleans during the really stormin years of New Orleans funk in the 70s and 80s, and if there's horns on it, chances are Mr. Kerr is one of them. Mr. Kerr was there, man, at the genisis of this stuff, he was one of the guys who created it. When it comes to pedagogical weight, to real authority in passing the torch, guys like me, as knowlegable and 'trained' as we are, can't hold a candle to that. We got this stuff second hand. Mr. Kerr has been to the mountain.

I'm eternally grateful I had the chance to play with and hang with Clyde Kerr Jr. while he was here with us on earth. Jesse Mcbride and the Lagniappe Student Activities dept. at Tulane made that possible, and I'll always remember the experience, the vibe, on that stage. For the rest of my days.

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