[78-L] Gene Lees R.I.P.

Jeff Sultanof jeffsultanof at gmail.com
Sun Apr 25 04:57:29 PDT 2010

I wrote this for another list. Thought I'd share it.

Gene was a very close friend of mine. I am deeply saddened by his death.

I thought of writing something about him for publication, but I don't think
I will for many reasons. He was very special to me; he gave me several
opportunities to write for the Jazzletter, and his feedback made me a much
better writer. He gave me an opportunity to write orchestral arrangements
that he ultimately used in concerts with Roger Kellaway. He talked me up to
a lot of my heroes, so that when I was in California, they opened their
doors to me, in some cases asking me to sort out their copyright affairs. He
introduced me to Marion Evans, one of the finest arrangers and teachers on
the planet. There were times when we would be up half the night listening to
records or just discussing music and politics. He never became an American
citizen, and told me how good the Canadian health care system was.

He was also a brilliant writer of prose and lyrics, one of the finest of our
time. His big problem was that he made as many enemies as friends with his
verbal comments and articles.

One story I will relate. He was asked to address some organization like the
jazz record collectors. Right before the presentation, somebody came up to
him and commented that he loved Gene's book on Woody Herman. "But you know,
Mr. Lees, you made a mistake on a recording date in your discography," and
proceeded to tell him that such-and-such title was take 4, not take 3. Gene
said, "I hope you returned the book to the bookstore and asked for your
money back. And please don't buy my books anymore, because you obviously
didn't understand what I was trying to do." He went on stage and for an hour
held these hard-core collectors spellbound. Even now I think this is

Jeff Sultanof

On Sun, Apr 25, 2010 at 1:38 AM, Taylor Bowie <bowiebks at isomedia.com> wrote:

> I just read a tribute to jazz writer Gene Lees in   The Washington Post,
> but have no details other than he recently passed away.
> Here is the link:
> http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postmortem/2010/04/gene-lees-jazz-writer.html?hpid=news-col-blog
> Taylor
> _______________________________________________
> 78-L mailing list
> 78-L at klickitat.78online.com
> http://klickitat.78online.com/mailman/listinfo/78-l

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