The Invisible College

Year after year, the dead pile up: celebrities trip the light fantastic out of town for the more peaceful pastures of memory. We've passed up many an opportunity to eulogize many of the dead in the past year, partly out of laziness, partly out of the sheer pointlessness of blogging. But lest we let these greats go by uncommended, please celebrate the tragically short life of gifted comic actor Bruno Kirby and not-so-short life of Maynard Ferguson, who may not have been the best trumpeter ever, but was an influential one who'll long be remembered for his talents and, especially, for his trademark high notes. He testified in a clear, pure tone (as clear as Marsalis') and loved to perform. I last saw his shock of white hair at the State Palace Theater in New Orleans circa 1989. He was featuring a young saxophone Turk who sought to impress with lots of Parker-like riffs but couldn't touch my wounded, envious friend Pat, who played tenor with the minimalism, imagination and use of sonic white space of Dexter Gordon. Godspeed, guys. We'll miss you.

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