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Monday, February 27, 2017

RIP Horace Parlan

I remember it well, 1972, San Sebastian Jazz Festival. I'd somehow got there as a tenor player with the Newcastle Big Band. It was an outdoor cocktail reception and most of the musicians who were playing the opening day were there including the Clark Terry Big Band. We all sort of mingled and made the usual musician's type conversation (not to be repeated here!) and I found myself next  to a guy who said, "Hi, I'm Horace Parlan." I replied with something that may have sounded like, "Oh er, hi, er, I'm, er, Lance, er, I'm, er, pleased to, er, meet you er Mister, er Parlan."
We shook hands and, suddenly, briefly, I thought this guy, this great pianist, is talking to me as an equal - thank God he hadn't heard me play yet! He was a gentleman, we talked jazz and, if I talked up, he certainly didn't talk down.
I'd heard him on albums by Dexter, Mingus, Kirk and here we were just two musicians chatting as if we were equals.
A great guy and one who made a profound impression on me, not by his music which had already done that but as a man who, as I've only just discovered, surmounted immense physical difficulties, on a par with Django, to become a great musician.
RIP Horace, that afternoon in San Sebastian will live with me forever.
Horace Parlan died on February 23 age 86.
Lance.

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